Dove-like Sat’st Brooding


“Instruct me, for thou know’st; thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread
Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast abyss
And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support.”

Recognize these words? They’re from Paradise Lost by John Milton which was written in the mid-1600’s. Our daughter, Emily, is reading the book for English class, so it is couch-side in our sunroom. In peeking through it here and there this morning, I happened upon this gem and felt led to share it with you.

What I see is a link between Creation (in Genesis 1) and our hearts. In the first Creation telling (did you know there is another one in Genesis 2?) we hear these words:
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
Water and darkness, formless and empty–a beginning but not the end, for God creates light, sees that “it is good” and separates it from the darkness. He goes on to gather the waters together so dry land can surface. Land and sea are created. This is the second time God sees that “it is good”. In fact at the end of the creation account, He looks and sees that everything He has made “is very good” (emphasis added is mine)–that includes you and me, folks. Yeah, this is before the Fall, when sin entered the story, but we are not sin, we have sin. We are good, yet have chaos, a watery abyss within, as Milton points out in the passage above. Hence we turn to God in our need and beg for His illumination and for an elevated place that is warm and dry, a place we can breathe, a firm place He can build upon.

Like those early days of Creation, we swim in a deep, dark soupy mess without His light and lifting. Unlike the Creation account, though, He doesn’t act unless we ask–we’ve been granted free will and He doesn’t violate that boundary by stomping into our hearts and making things happen. What I think may happen, though, and that we see evidence of in Genesis, is that His Spirit hovers over our deep, waiting for us to ask for more, to ask for day and a place to settle and grow. He hovers, He waits, He hopes that someday we’ll surface and sense His abiding Presence loving us, calling to us. Many know what I speak about, for many have had a sunlit lifting, many have landed on firm, rich soil, many have had a mountain top experience with Jesus. We can try to swim in the dark, deep waters like everyone else, or we can ask God to continue our creation story. He loves to create and He loves a good story–I’m pretty sure He can be trusted to create a beautiful, pregnant existence that births Life if we simply ask and surrender ourselves to Him. For everything He creates “is very good”.

(Contemplation update: did again this a.m. Swam in my own chaos, I guess…sorry to say. Distracting thoughts and wandering mind held the day. I may try again later. Guess God sent this blog especially for me today.)


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