Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More on Love

I think that I have forgotten who I am. Have you ever felt that way? God made me to be somebody. I think I was getting close to knowing who that was but now I am not so sure. Back in the West in another lifetime I was a Baptist Preacher. One day a great saint in our little country church came up to me and said something that defined me in a new way. She was one of those feisty women who had walked with Jesus for about seventy years and was full of strength, and wisdom, and grace. She came up to me and said that in all of her years of serving the Lord and hearing lots and lots of different preachers she had never heard anyone talk about the love of God like I could. I don’t know if that was true but I know that I want it to be true more than I want anything else.

Today as I sat with Arwen in a little village in the mountains of Gondor I wondered what I was doing there. I had known our host for many years. His wife’s cooking is awesome. But he is totally secular. He has no interest in God and never has had. Never will have. Ah-ha! Now I have said it and you have seen it. Never will have. This denies the fact that our God is great and can do anything. It also denies love. Love hopes all things. I can give up on this guy. Love never does. Oh, I have not forgotten the parable of the soils. I know that he might not be good soil. But a sower that does not sow in hope is not sowing seed worth coming up in the first place.

Love is incredibly powerful. One day Balin was visiting an old woman whose son he had ministered to in prison. The women received the letter from her son with great joy and tears as she had not heard from him in over a year and did not know where he was. As she poured out her hurt and her shame to Balin he comforted her. (Shame is a big issue for families with a relative in prison). He looked at her and said, ‘God loves your son and he does not want him in prison. God loves you and he wants to comfort and care for you.’ She looked at him and said, ‘He does?’ in complete disbelief. But she and her family were transformed by those words over the next month. Simple words. And more direct than I am comfortable with. After all, do we really know that God does not want her son in prison? The answer in the end is yes. God sent His Son to die to set us free. In the short term God doesn’t mind this guy going to prison if it turns his wayward eyes to Jesus but long term every child of God is to live free regardless of prison walls or Government decrees.

Jesus sees me as something I am currently not. Holy, righteous, redeemed, forgiven, powerful, unique, consequential. These words are who I am to Him. You would not use these words to describe me. But love does. Love sees through the eyes of faith to what we are not yet. It hopes- not vainly wishes- but really hopes. God sees us as He can create us to become. As His child I can see this too. I can see in others the goodness of God, the holiness of God, the glory of God that they do not possess for themselves. I am a lover. I long to recover this identity. I long to call people to freedom from the deception of sin and hate to the glory of life and love. I can not do this by a theological argument or a clever apologetic. People are transformed to love by love. That I had forgotten this is incredible since I teach it to others all the time. I am a lover. If I forget this again please remind me. Lovingly, of course.


S.A.M. said...

Sometimes as ministers to others all the time, we tend to neglect our own selves. We still need to feed ourselves with a steady diet of God's word and communicate OUR needs to Him as well as others. I too forget to do this, and begin to get down on myself and forget that I am a child of the Most High God. It's good that you recognize this before it gets too far away from you. Keep guarding yourself!

Alan Knox said...


This post is exactly where God has me right now... it is exactly what I need to hear. As you know, I am talking about love on my blog as well, and I appreciate your input over there.

You said: "Jesus sees me as something I am currently not. Holy, righteous, redeemed, forgiven, powerful, unique, consequential." Could it be that we demonstrate God's love when we also see people as Jesus sees them, not as they currently are. Of course, the hard part is seeing people as Jesus sees them, not as WE want them to be... Jesus still has much work to do on me. I'm glad he is LOOOOONGsuffering.


Anonymous said...

My wife and I check your blog every day to see if there is something new. So, we (she) thought we should post our thanks.

This was a beautiful post. It is God's love that began to transform my life and priorities about two years ago and I hope never to be the same. I am frequently overwhelmed with gratitude that by God's grace I am beginning to love Him.


Strider said...

Thank you all for the very kind commnents. I am humbled that anyone would read my blog! I appreciate the encouragement guys.
Let us be about spurring one another on to love and good works. SDG.

GuyMuse said...

If you haven't yet checked out Alan Knox's post on this same related topic, do so. It is a great complementary post. Both of you are saying the same thing.

You are right on with the statement, "I long to call people to freedom...to the glory of life and love. I cannot do this by a theological argument or a clever apologetic. People are transformed to love by love..." Thanks for the needed reminder that people respond to love for them, not our theological viewpoints.

S.A.M. said...

Strider, Heck yes I read your blog! the stories are great. Once I get past the nicknames of places and people, which are very clever by the way! All I can think of is leaving blank for the name. Keep it up!!

Mary said...

Powerful message! Thank you for your transparency and such an outpouring of love! This is living God's Word. This is theology at work. There is nothing academic about it (meant as a positive ;) . Thank you for your encouragement and sharing your experiences with us. May the Lord pour out His love on you in an overabundance so that in turn you may pour it out on others.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post Strider, Love is key and we must always try and remember it. Some sharing from here in the West my husband and I are starting back to church this sunday. The kids need it and so do we. We will be attending mother in laws church it is Lutheran and the Pastor is wonderful. I credit some of this to you since following this blog it has really inspired me so Thankyou Strider and pray for my family. Angie

Strider said...

Mary, SAM, Guy, Thanks for the kind words.

Angie, May God bless you as you continue your journey into Him.