When I wrestle
with my kids, I hold back
my strength so
they can win
When I wrestle
When I wrestle
with my kids, I hold back
my strength so
they can win
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
I am more and more convinced that what we think is “good” will almost never be the same as what God thinks is good. In fact, more often than not, we will question most things as to whether they are good at all, but most of the time we use a metric for defining “good” that is based on feelings and thoughts of an eternally narrow definition. God works all things for good of those who love Him, and it will be so according to HIS purposes; not mine.
But if I truly love God, I KNOW that God will work this together for my good as He defines good. If I love God truly and with all of me, I KNOW God…IS…GOOD to me. That is not to say God is only good to those who love him, it means that those who love God know God is good; that to them, God is good.
I sit in thought about the story of the woman who broke her alabaster jar for Jesus. She brought and poured out something of great worth and long-saved value. I have not really been thinking about it in the “give your ALL for Christ” mentality exactly. I think a bit more of our call to love Christ in all our brothers and sisters around us.
Now I have to wonder when was the last time I threw all caution to the wind in order to love someone…anyone around me? When was the last time I forgot about proving points or convincing someone of the gospel through words and broke my alabaster jar instead? When was the last time I did not just SAY, “You too are loved by God…” but actually thought it in my heart and then RELATED it to someone?
I also love the response of all the good Christian respectables around the woman. These crazy people! (It’s always easy to read a story and call people ‘crazy’ or ‘outrageous’ in Biblical stories instead of actually identifying ourselves with them). They see this action as a giant waste…very reckless. When was the last time I did something for someone else, which to everyone else would appear ‘reckless’ or ‘wasteful’ (you can waste more than money…like time…possessions…)
For I read this and know Jesus then says, “Leave her alone because people will be telling her story forever because SHE GETS IT!!”
So when was the last time I was reckless!
When is the NEXT time I WILL BE reckless!!
To love someone in spirit IS to love them despite what they do. It sees THROUGH what they do and makes no conditions based on what they do. Basically to love someone in spirit means that we see them as a child of God, blameless before God because of his Grace.
Imagine if I was blameless, never did things wrong and was thus worthy of great friendship from everyone. It would be very easy for you to love me. But that is because I would not have horrible things in your way. I wouldn’t have the habits you hate, the struggles you strike out against. I wouldn’t do things you hated. Now if you see my habits, my struggles my flawed HUMANITY, it is harder to love me, but you’re looking at the wrong thing.
The only reason God loves us unconditionally is because he doesn’t even see the things WE base our conditions on. God does not see my habits, struggles and flawed humanity. He sees, “a little child who hasn’t been loved enough and who has ceased growing because someone has ceased believing in me.” Now if I could love others that way, I love them in spirit because their flesh makes no difference to me. I could care less about their flesh, their struggles, their habits, their hangups and flawed humanity. I love the child who needs someone to believe in him, the spirit who truly is blameless and incased in a flawed human flesh.
When I used to go Perkins in college (Oh how I miss Perkins), I purposefully never saw a waitress as a waitress. I saw her as a person like me, not a person there to take my order, bring my food, end of transaction. She was a person, a child like me who needed someone to believe in her and treat her that way. I loved the Perkins waitress in spirit not flesh, because I did not care that one of them had been divorced 4 times, cussed like a sailor, and had three kids from different men. But I do know that she wept in my arms one night when she was terrified and broken. I loved a waitress in spirit instead of her flesh.
Jesus, I want to love you so much I desire you more than this earth. I want my heart to desire you and not simply the things you give me through the cross or the things you promise in my heavenly home. I want to know that my heart would want nothing of heaven’s beauty if you were not there. I want to know that you would not need to wean me from this earth the hard way because I would happily leave any comfort this world offers me to be with you. I want my heart to be more concerned with what you are to me instead of what you did for me. I want your cross to daily be more than a utility and instead focus on the beauty of the One who died upon it. I want to stay awake and long for your coming instead of being comfortable and sleepy where I am.
I want all these things and regret that my heart does not
always often live and act the same way.
You are my greatest love, and I want to live in such a way that I do not lie.
The interesting thing about leprosy is the MAIN ailment is the absence of pain. Because leprosy patients do not feel or know pain, they often do self-destructive things and know nothing of it. They grab splintered rakes and sharp objects with bare hands and know no pain. They wear very tight shoes and create blistering and festering sores they only see and not feel. Leprosy patients are absent of pain, but it is that absence which dissolves the reality of destruction happening to them all the time. We ought to praise God for pain. We are SO quick to get rid of pain when it is that pain which tells us we need aid.
There are parallels to be drawn to spiritual and emotional pain. Without it we would be callous and shut off…which is destructive to our emotions, spirits, and souls. We make it easy by trying to defeat pain. It’s like we don’t want to hurt, but what if that hurt is exactly what keeps us from destructing. If we felt no pain, we would only be a spiritual leper…an emotional leper. The craziest thing is that lepers are afflicted, but I, as an emotional leper, afflict myself. I resound with lepers of Biblical times and silently scream, “UNCLEAN!” I am a spiritual and emotional leper. I shut off my own pain sensors by covering them up and saying, “I’m not hurt…I’m tired of being hurt…so I won’t be anymore…I’m tired of hurting…I’m tired of caring.” So begins a self-destructive disease.
I get so terrified of pain that I shut myself off from it, but without it…without being honest about my pain, hurt, real emotion, I just destruct. I am self-afflicted, but can only be healed through the grace of GOd.
In recovery! Experiencing pain with gratitude because at least I feel.
I am not here to speak to you. You are not here that I might teach you something. I ask you to be restful right now. Be silent and quiet. I do not ask you to do this so you may DO anything else. I am not going to speak to you. I merely ask that you are silent and just LET ME LOVE YOU. Just be still and drink in my love. Don’t sit and think too heavily ABOUT my love. Just sit quietly in my lap with your head on my chest and just let me love you. My love is not an ideal, a theology to study. My love, right now, is my action. I am LOVING you. Just be still in my arms and just let me love you. Be still and drink in the love that radiates around you RIGHT NOW only awaiting your silence…your stillness to fall on. If you are not still, you will only rustle it about. But if you are still, my love will pour upon you like snow in a globe. You CAN BE covered in my love, but you must be still and allow me to rain down on you more love than you will ever be able to contain. Don’t think! Don’t listen for me. For I have nothing to say to you right now. I only have something to give you. I have only to love you right now. Rest and BE LOVED my wonderful child.
When God is silent, do not frantically search for answers. Only continue your regular time in His Word and know the Spirit is in the process of helping you understand what God is doing in your life.
One of my favorite interactions with Jesus is that of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. I love the idea that Jesus, knowing He is going to raise Lazarus, still waits and weeps with Mary and Martha. What enormous compassion! He did not need to weep with them. He knew he was going to resurrect Lazarus in just moments.
But something else strikes me today. Remember when He waited to go until after Lazarus had been dead for 4 days already? He shows up and Martha says, “Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32) Here is something to think about: I think Jesus could have said, “You’re right! If I had come when you asked, your brother would not have died.”
She knew Jesus would heal him. After all, she had see him heal time and time again. It is as though he was saying, “You would not have come to know me more and deeper than you are about to know me. You would not have been prepared for an even greater revelation of me than you had already known.”
God’s silence in our lives means He is prepared to bring into your life an even greater revelation of Himself than you have ever known. When God is silent, start watching for what he is about to teach you about Himself. This will require faith, trust, and anticipation.
I just miss it for lack of attention. When I pray with some intentionality, I should immediately anticipate God’s answer (whatever it might be). Most often, though, I pray and immediately forget about what I was praying about. I forget to then look for how God may be answering that prayer. I ignore and miss all the unusual things about my day. I see them as menial or distracting, and fail to connect them with the activity of an omnipresent, sovereign, omniscient God I had JUST spoken with.
When I pray I need to immediately begin watching and listening to what happens next. Be prepared to make adjustments to MY plan. The thought that God is not going to answer my prayer should never cross my mind.
God actively answers, I just rarely stick around to notice.
I was installing floating shelves in the bathroom
the sight of daddy’s tools draws my daughter
“I want to help, Dadda!”
By this, she means, “I want to see what you are doing,
and be where you are.”
She began to take tools away from my work space
She picked up necessary screws and hardware
She is not helping.
She was in my way.
But my love would not turn her away
Jesus said, “My Father is always at work…the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do ONLY what he sees His Father doing…For the Father loves the Son and shows him all He does.” (John 15:17, 19-20)
My God, I know you are at work around me all the time.
While I realize I am only going to slow you down
and get in your way
I trust that you love me and purposely
show me what you are doing.
I want to join you.
I want to be a part of what you are doing
and be where you are.