Sunday, January 12, 2014
To love with God's love...
Isaiah is a very loving child. "I wuv you Mommy!" he bursts out at random times while playing. Today, while sitting in the living room, watching him play I told him "I love you Isaiah"
His response was to burst out with a joyful proclamation of affection--- just not to me.
"I wuv you Jenny!!" he called out to his little introverted sister, off playing cars in a corner.
Later, on our family walk, I told him I loved him again. Again he burst out with affection
"I wuv you black cat!!!" at a stray cat napping in a patch of sun.
My telling him that I love him makes him burst out with love to other nearby people (or animals). At first I found it amusing, comparing it to our normal adult world of reciprocated love, where an "I love you" expects an "I love you too" directed back at the initial speaker.
I thought he was funny.
Then I realized God was trying to tell me something.
I've found relying on my human love for people isn't enough. Especially when people I care about are going through great pain, or destructive cycles, or things I can't change (even when I think I could..."if only they would listen to me...")
My human heart wants to withdraw. To just get away from the pain or hurt or watching a trainwreck. I find myself emotionally distancing myself, trying not to care, trying to protect myself.
But I know that isn't right. Its not right to pull away from those in pain.
But I see (especially in the ministry) those far more generous and empathetic than me, who stay involved, who care, who listen and speak timely words. Those who try to stop the trainwreck, desperately signalling to the drivers till the last second, who are there among the screeching metal, and then try to climb through the shattered windows to drag out the survivors, trying their best to do resuscitation. And many of those end up drained and wounded, burned out with no strength left to love or even to live.
I want to care. I want to love like Jesus demanded. I'd rather not end up a charred corpse.
Then I realized God is trying to tell me something.
Just as Isaiah, on hearing that I love him, loves the whole world, so our love is to come from God.
Like the sun, radiating its solar energy, that becomes the chemical energy of plants, that becomes the chemical energy of our food, that becomes the kinetic energy of the kids frolicking in the back yard, that becomes the potential energy of the ball thrown on the roof....so it all begins with one souce, that radiates the light energy out.
It is God's love that enables us to love. It's His love that we are to love people with. Our own mortal little hearts run dry and empty on our own love, whether they be shallow or deep, the well eventually runs dry. Because we weren't made to love on our own strength, any more than the grain can grow without the sun, or my kids can run around without food.
"I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart. "
And Psalm 119:32 shed's light on God's command to love my neighbor as myself.
God isn't telling me that it won't hurt, or that there won't be trainwrecks. But He has promised me Himself.
His beauty, His Holiness, His face, His love will be enough.
I can't love people on my own strength. I can't bear people's problems or sins in my spirit.
God can. And God can love them. And God does love them. And God will love them through me.
So I need to learn, to keep my eyes on Jesus, and love with His love. To let myself be a conduit, a pipe, from the Spring of Living water.
But I need to fix my eyes on Him, in every messed up situation, to know, to see, HIM.
And He will be enough for all of us, for all the pain, for all the messed-upness, all the sin, all the trainwrecks.
His face will be enough.
And I have to let him enlarge my heart, even when it hurts. But not to take my eyes off His face, even in the worst of train wrecks, because it is Him that will save.
I cannot save. I can only obey.