weekly theme #32*
week containing the Sunday between June 5-11
When I can’t find my wallet, I go into a panic. It doesn’t matter that my keys and other valuables are accounted for – my wallet is lost! I never thought of God experiencing panic over one of his lost children, but in a sense, I believe he does. It’s not that he loves his other children less, but that he loves each one intensely. His intense love for each of us allowed him to sacrifice his Son to save us, even before we showed any interest in loving him.
Jesus’ courageous act was only possible because of courageous sacrifice. I want to be a courageous follower of this God, but that requires me to surrender to him so he can love others through me, even the people I find unlovely. I don’t have the ability to love the unlovely, but I do have the option of stepping aside so the Lord will love through (in spite of) me. Why is stepping aside so difficult?
Stepping aside may only be possible by stepping away. The culture of the world has soaked into my thinking, beliefs, and behavior. I ask how to get more rather than how to be content with what I have. I seek to fill myself rather than empty myself. Others influence me when God should influence me. My attentions betray my heart’s love. How can my heart love God wholly and others sacrificially?
I cannot love others as Jesus loves them through my own effort; it’s impossible. My only hope is to be a conduit of his love. I think God’s love is available to me as a free-flowing river. His love is not something for me to store for my personal use, but it is to flow through me to others. My inner, selfish sins act as obstacles in this flow of love creating torrents, undertows, and waves that disrupt the peace of God’s love. However, as I remain open to this flow of love, it washes away more and more of my selfishness allowing his love to be delivered in a powerful shalom. Being constantly and intentionally letting God’s love flow through me is key to loving him and others.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.