I have a silver locket just like this one that I have had since I was a teenager. They’re supposed to have a memento in them so special that you want to have it near to your heart at all times.
I used to wear this little heart-shaped locket a lot, and I can remember as a teenager ‘updating’ the photographs fairly frequently as I changed my mind about who was most important to me! So when God reminded me of it this morning and went hunting for it I confess that I had completely forgotten whose photograph was inside.
I found it eventually in the necklace-tangle at the bottom of my jewellery box, badly tarnished and stuck shut. It seems I haven’t worn it for a while. Having finally managed to prise it open with a hair clip, I was quite surprised to find tiny photographs of myself and my husband, taken before we were even engaged to be married and looking improbably young!
There are two simple truths in this picture of a locket for me.
One is that God wears me (and you!) close to his heart. Every single one of us that call him Father are so precious to him that he holds us like this, near to him at all times. Even if we in our own hearts have wandered away through pain, confusion, doubt, anger or just our own ridiculous busyness and forgetfulness, he holds us near. It’s a mystery, but it’s true.
The second was something God whispered quietly when I found my locket forgotten and abandoned in the box.
‘Don’t forget your first love’.
God is jealous for your love. For me that’s an invitation to invest in my relationship with Jesus, my first love. For while I know my position next to his heart is fixed, I’m also aware that my focus and my own heart do tend to get distracted!
Maybe you’ve read the article that’s been doing the internet rounds this week on what it takes to fall in love. Apparently it can all be achieved in a matter of hours by going through and honestly answering a list of searching questions together and then staring into one another’s eyes for four minutes. Interesting. (although you must be predisposed to fall for someone if you’re prepared to do all that in the first place!)
What it tells me is that perhaps what it really takes to fall in love is to take the time to understand yourself and to share that openly and honestly with someone, and to take the time to really listen to them in return. And then to look at them, for a long time, without hiding.
The same must apply in my relationship to God. ( I am a human even if he isn’t). His love for me never wavers for an instant, but mine for him can be decidedly wobbly. Time, honesty, vulnerability, trust, listening and an intention to become closer to the other person. I wonder if these aren’t exactly the same things we need to continually invest in our relationship with God?
Whichever one of these things speak to you; the truth that with all your failings and imperfections, you are still his beloved, or the call to come once again to the fountain of life, to look into his eyes, to spill out your heart and to allow his truth to flow over you; whichever one it is, or both, you can choose to receive it today. That’s the point of this picture, it’s a gift, for you.