What kind of love is this?

What kind of love is this?

From the Authors

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

We have a radio station in town that I listen to when we can get it. Some days we are just out of range. Some days we pick up the station no problem. I don’t understand the science of it, but I really like that radio station. I’m always checking to see if maybe today I will be able to hear them.*

So picture a woman driving, hearing a song that sounds like it could be her new favorite, and willing the radio station to pick it up. I can hear the tune, then I hear a little static, some more of the tune, and then a basketball announcer is interrupting the music, then I can hear some lyrics. The lyrics I heard this week were, “what love is.”

And it struck me. If I focused on God as I do on this radio station, life would probably be going a lot better. I mean, I was straining to hear the radio station. If, in our daily lives, through all the distractions, we keep our eyes on Christ… wouldn’t that be amazing? If we were willed ourselves to find more of God in the everyday, and strained to see His Goodness all around us- well, that would be pretty radical.

Even as I thought about that, those lyrics came back to me again, “what love is.” And of course, I knew the answer.

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. ~John 15:13

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my mom and baby girl

And I started thinking… have we been loving people like that? Have we, the Church, been loving people with a willingness to put their wellbeing before our own? Perhaps, in most relationships, that is asking too much of humans. But have we been putting the needs of others before the wants of ourselves? I’m going to go ahead and say no. At least I haven’t. And before you fall off the other side of the horse, I don’t think Jesus is calling us to a miserable life where we only do what other people want and never get to do what we want. No! Sometimes Jesus wants us to tell people no. Sometimes Jesus wants us to tell ourselves no. Sometimes we need discipline, correction, or those other unpleasant growing pains that make us into better people. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. If we are in God’s will, we have that fruit in our lives. We have joy. Not misery. JOY!

So this is what happens when I am alone for longer than five minutes in the car. It starts with radio surfing and ends with the random wonderings of a woman who has a moment to herself.

Anyway…

My questions for today come in two parts:

  1. Are you pursuing God throughout the day? Like with a radio, are we straining to hear His voice through the static and the distractions?
  2. And are you loving people unconditionally? Without asking that they fix themselves or do something for you, are you choosing to care for others right where they are at?**

I’m sorry to say that I can’t answer “Definitely yes!” But I am happy to say that God is not through with me- I am a work in progress! And thankfully His mercy is new every morning.

Lord, thank you that we are able to accept your gentle correction. That you are mindful of us, and speak to us, and lovingly correct us. Please turn our steps, again, back to the path You have laid out before us. Help us to choose You, to choose Your Ways. Increase the love in our hearts, and the joy in our lives. And do this for Your Glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

*Yes, I’m weird. I try to listen to radio stations that are staticish.

**Again “love” is not what the media has portrayed it to be. It is not a license to do as you please to someone. It is not a ‘yes’ to anything you want. It does not make us slaves to someone else, it does not hurt us. If you want to know what love is, go back to the beginning of this post…

Rabbit’s Foot

Rabbit’s Foot

Encouragement From the Authors

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
     because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
   and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
~Isaiah 61:1-3

You want to talk about walking up a mountain the hard way...
You want to talk about walking up a mountain the hard way…

Here is something I have found to be true about God- He does not leave us alone. He will not leave us alone. He cannot seem to help reaching out to us. This might sound delightful, to have a God who cares so much about us that He will not leave us alone. If being alone is lonely and not fun, then having God in your corner is great! You’ve always got a friend! And it is great. God loves you, God wants to be with you- hallelujah!

The flip side of all this is… He is also a parent. And just like I can’t leave my children alone to try and discover the rights and wrongs of their actions, neither can God the Father leave me alone.

I heard this somewhere, and often repeat it:

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

Today I am talking about the fact that this can’t-leave-you-alone-God keeps working on me. I had some definite plans on what the next few years of my life would look like. They seemed sensical to me. And possibly they were on the easy-to-achieve side of things. But I really saw the future ahead all lined up nice and neat… but God, He had a different plan. You can find lots of “but God”s in the Bible. Lots. And if you think back, I’m sure you can find plenty in your life.

So I am (once again) thrust out of my comfort zone and into new and uncharted territory. I think of it as growing-pains. I worry that maybe I have a bit too much on my plate this time. I begin to think I might not have what it takes. But (even though it’s hard to really grasp that I am an adult*) I have some years behind me now. And when I look back at those years, time and time again I see that God really does bring the best out of every situation. Even when I’ve thought “WHAT IS GOD THINKING!!” When I trust in Him, and lean on His mercy and grace- that’s when I see really amazing fruit in my life. In my own strength I often stumble and fall, but His grace is unending and unfailing. All too often I treat God like a lucky charm- like those rabbit’s foots that were so popular back in elementary school. I keep thinking that if I pray just the right prayer, then everything will go my way. But that’s not what is best for me. God is not content with just the good, He wants the best for us. Our good plans (even our best plans) are peanuts compared to the awesome future God is planning for us.

We live in a forested area of snow and ice. So when you take a trip to the desert and go on a hike... the last thing you expect to find is beauty in God's creation. The desert is supposed to be dead, hot, and not fun to walk in. But in the dead of winter it's breathtaking and amazing. Proof that God is soooooo much more creative and brilliant than yours truly.
We live in a forested area of snow and ice. So when you take a trip to the desert and go on a hike… the last thing you expect to find is beauty in God’s creation. The desert is supposed to be dead, hot, and not fun to walk in. But in the dead of winter it’s breathtaking and amazing. Proof that God is soooooo much more creative and brilliant than yours truly.

If you are standing in one of those situations where everything seems upside down and backwards of what you were expecting. If you are (like me) waving a despondent goodbye to your plans for the future, I have good news for you! You can trust in Him who made you. Not to make light of the horrific things that can happen in life, but just to know- you have a God who cannot leave you alone. He will come after you again and again, He will bring fruit out of misery. Beauty out of ashes. Joy for mourning, and praise out of your despair. Somehow. Somehow He does that. It’s what makes him good, awesome, amazing. It’s what makes him God! You might not see that fruit for years, and if that’s the case I’m truly sorry. But maybe you can take a step back right now and begin to realize, “Oh… I see. He has a better plan. It’s better than my plan. This might be hard, but in the long run, I can see- this could be the making of me.”

So thank you, Lord! You do not leave us. You are working in our lives. You have plans we can’t even fathom. Plans to build us into the people you created us to be. Plans to bring Your Kingdom here to earth. Plans for good. Plans for hope. Plans for love! We are sorry that we cannot always trust in Your Plans. We are so sorry that we often fall to anxiety and fear. Renew our hearts to trust in You and to chase after You. In these times of confusion, sorrow, fear, and anxiety- help us to turn our faces fully towards You. I ask for friends and other believers who will come along side us and confirm the work that You are doing in us. Thank you Jesus! Amen.

~Lindsay

*I tend to think of adults as my parents’ generation. I forget to categorize myself in the adult group… just from time to time.

three saguaro cactuses?
three saguaro cactuses?