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.