A friend is in trouble. She woke up and is paralyzed on her left side and cannot stand. The prayer call came in and some of us are responding.
It weighs upon my heart when someone whom I love is in trouble. It’s part and parcel of the kingdom of relational-faith. In order to have relationship, one must risk their heart. Love, and the heart – not romance – are the essence of relationship. In my view, it’s impossible to have a relationship without love. Love is the stuff of relationship, and yes, I am repeating myself so that I am perfectly clear.
To risk one’s heart is to lay it out there where it can absorb both the joys and sorrows of others. In a word, relationship can be painful. It is the nature of relationships to have an aspect of discomfort and pain. It is also the nature of relationships to be filled with happiness and joy. It’s a connection of compassion and empathy all rolled into one. And I wouldn’t trade relationship for anything.
For me, relationship is life itself. As Father’s Word says, If I speak as do the angels, but have not love, I am nothing but a babbling noise maker. – my own paraphrase. Life and love and relationship are all three inextricably intermixed, just as is the Holy Trinity. One cannot separate oxygen from water without destroying the water itself. So it is with life, love, and relationship. They are three and yet One – period.
So, I choose to endure the lives of my friends and family, in love. I choose to hurt when they do, and to celebrate when and as they do also.
I choose this of my own freewill – Amen.
Those who come to me cannot be my disciples unless they love me more than they love father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and themselves as well. (Luke 14:26 TEV)
I little while back I had a tremendous sense of falling in love with God. It was a sense I have never experienced before about God. It’s so deep and powerful that I actually love God more than any human being in the world. I love God more than even my bride, His gift to me.
The best definition of love I’ve yet come across goes something like this; Love is all-ways an act of self sacrifice. Love is all-ways wanting the best for the other person. The first part, the part about self-sacrifice is difficult because it’s the cornerstone of our faith in God; the willingness to let God have anything, anytime, anywhere. Even now, in as much as I love Him with “all” of my being, I know that I cannot simply because I don’t know what that really means, and I’m a sinful human being. I don’t really know what sacrifices God will ask of me to His glory. What I do know is that He loves me back; so much so that He climbed up on the cross at Golgotha and bled and suffocated to death – for me.
How much less can I give for Him? And yet, while I’m unafraid of the fact of death, I’m hesitant about the act of death, or any other major sacrifice He asks of me. So in this context of loving Him first and foremost, even in this, I must seek His help for strength and willingness to follow through.
In fact, I’m so lame (human & weak) that I need God to help me through any work I do for Him. I need Him to help me in my deficiencies in every single aspect of my life; marriage, art/work, church, parenting, neighboring, friendship, and life’s not so friendly encounters. I need God’s strength, direction, and guidance in every single milli-moment of my existence, of my efforts, of whatever & everything. I have very little strength of my own to bring to the relationship.
I have an utter, total, complete, desperate need for God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On my own no-thing, no-effort, no-intention of any kind is sufficient to the moment. All I can actually bring to the relationship is my utter need, what love I have, and a willingness to be lovingly used to His glory.
In fact, none of what I’ve just written even, is from my own mind. It’s a bit of me and a total Holy Spirit realization. This is not a futile effort to fool or patronize God either. He can see right through that. This is the truth. Even this realization, which I praise & thank Him for, is, in and of itself, a gift from God. In short, no matter what I think I’m “sacrificing” to God it’s nothing to what He has already given on my behalf. My “gift” is nothing compared to His plans for my life; nothing compared to His provision for my life, nothing compared to His intentions for me in relationship with Him. I’m completely and totally clueless. It’s like trying to get the magnitude of the universe into my head. It hurts.
When I talk about loving God, giving to God, living for God, I just don’t get it, and I’m a fool if I think I can out-bid Him in the gift game. Making deals with God simply doesn’t happen. He’s already got “all the chips”.
Still I love the Lord my God with all I am and even that is in need of daily help from Him. And perhaps, for now, that’s enough simply because it’s more an attitude of the heart than a material “gift” I offer Him. Maybe it’s more my willingness to give my all to His glory than any thing else.
Scripture is filled with stories, of one person after another giving all that they have, all that they are, their very lives, for the glory of God. In every circumstance, God tells us how glad He is for our mere willingness to give.
We’re called to give every single thing of our lives to Him in love, willingly. He makes up for all of the short-comings and deficiencies of the transaction. In the end, unlimited willingness may perhaps be the one and only gift we actually do have for Him.