Thursday, July 28

Something of substance

“Little children, we must not love in word or speech, but in deed and truth; that is how we will know we are of the truth, and will convince our hearts in His presence, because if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us we have confidence before God…” [1 John 3:18-21 HCSB]

“When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You’ll drive for hours to be together, even if it’s only for a short while. You don’t mind staying up late to talk.” Chan writes, “Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You’ll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you’re crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it’s painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together.”

Coming back from a journey, I got into an argument of sorts with the woman I was dating. We had spent the time in the ‘field’ doing God’s work and enjoying the blessing of His provisions in the ‘chores’ that He had called us to do for His glory. It was a great time to see the awesome desire and passion that this woman had for God’s work and to be able to support and join in that simple expression of God’s love. The argument was over my statement “I love you” that I refused to either confirm that I had said it or deny that I had. It wasn’t that I was trying to retract what I had said or that I didn’t mean it. It was because I didn’t want her to feel the requirement to feel the same. It is one thing that I have realized in the journey to here, that when I said “I love you,” it was something that I could never take back…..even to this day. No matter what the other person felt, no matter what happened to the relationship in the future. When I uttered those words, they were meant for forever and not just until the moment it ended. I have come to realize that it is why God tries to tell us about the covenant of marriage, of love, that is unbreakable and unending…..because we truly were meant to love only one as intimately as a wife or husband so that we could love everyone else with the intensity that Christ loves us…..even as He hung battered and wounded on the cross we nailed Him to.

God shows us throughout the Bible how to love. Pastor Chan points out that we need God to help us love the right way.

I can remember when I first felt God’s love for me and how it energized me, drove me to great lengths to ‘make time’ just to be around Him and how consuming that love became in all aspects of my life; jumping into the community of the church, spending most of my time and my family’s time in the church doing something, being something, or working on something for the sake of ministries and requests. Being desperate to dive into ministry when God placed that call on my heart and the agony that the last six years have been when I have been denied the ‘authority or ability’ to do what God has shown me is my purpose to do….and the utter that consumes me when I am doing that purpose to which I’ve been set aside and the passion that I have once I’m done for the moment to jump on the next opportunity.

George Bernard Shaw, the famous playwright, once wrote, “This is true joy in life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” (Crazy Love, pg 109)

You can ask anyone who has had a love affair that has lasted the lifetimes of those two involved in it…..the familiarity that is offset by the inadequate amount of time that they have together, even in the moments when they are alone and the world revolves quickly outside the door of their home. The frantic worry that happens when something unusual happens to the other; whether it is simple (a flat tire makes them late) or whether it is complex (they discover they have cancer) until you can see them with your own eyes and gather them into your arms again. Whether it is to comfort or to embrace joyfully, it is that embrace that means more than the paycheck you make or the opera show you wanted to go see.

It is an affirmation of your value in the other’s eyes; spoken without words and undeniably true.

Why don’t we think of God that way?

With that kind of love, we’d be driven to the kind of things that the church that He left in our hands began right off the bat and saw droves of people come to the faith.

It is the kind of love that would speak the truth of homosexuality being a sin just as one being angry at another is or the fact that it is not a matter of being ‘right’ that drives us to speak the absolute truth that Christ spoke in regards to any other man-made religious movement that has consumed the world’s attention.

It is the kind of love that drives us to dream impossible dreams and become frustrated when we are told they are foolish, irresponsible dreams that God surely wouldn’t endorse.

It is the kind of love that sent Jesus Christ to the cross, cut off from the love and presence of His Father.

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