The cost to be His dims in comparison to being loved by Him, and to love Him back. He will receive my love with pleasure, even if it’s the tiniest sincere little cry of adoration – it thrills His heart! He didn’t just save me so that I could go to heaven, but that I could have a relationship with Him! He wants to know me, to spend time with me, to impart His joy to me, to enjoy my presence.
I know Love costs. It bares its heart, making it possible to give and receive love, making itself vulnerable. Love is more than just words. (1 John 3:18) It isn’t cheap; it sacrifices. And a sacrifice is not a sacrifice unless it costs you something. Just like David said, “…neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24)
I realize I can’t love without Him loving through me. But I had been fearful. When I sincerely asked for love, the Lord humbled me. And yet now, it was worth it. To love and be loved by Him was too wonderful to give up. And what I found out was that Love erases fear, fear of embarrassment, fear of being humbled, fear of what people might think…
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee; yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
How could I fear when I have a noble trustworthy Lord who gives promises like that? He tells me to rest in Him and wait patiently for Him and to fret not. (Psalms 37:7) To do so would be questioning His honesty and capability. No, I know I can trust Him.
Christ started to become the “Lover of my soul”. I always knew Him as my King, as my Friend, my Father, my Savior, my Creator, but never so intimately as a Lover. He became my Beloved and fulfilled my desires to be loved. There is no reason to sit there like a silly little girl and think “He loves me…” and then next time my emotions are contrary or cross, to think “He loves me not…” His love is never changing, even if our emotions are!
“Christ is not a matter of emotions, but of character. It is not something we are to feel, but something we are to be. We may feel it very blessedly, and probably shall; but the vital thing is not the feeling, but the reality.” (Smith 227)
Yet, sometimes discouraging feelings come. Sometimes I feel lonely, unnoticed, even unattractive, fleshly, or just melancholy. One morning I was feeling all of the above. I wanted to write it all down in my diary, get it out of my system, but I didn’t have time. The morning had already started and chores were underway. But then, I remembered how I had decided to tell Jesus everything before my diary. So I told Him. I asked Him to take them all away. I worked quietly by myself in the kitchen washing dishes. And then, I looked out the window to see a radiant bright blazing spot of orange through the trees. It was January, so the trees were bare and ugly, and all was grim and bleached and gray. But there was the sunrise! As it grew and stretched it's vibrant rays toward the icy mountains I realized Christ made it just for me.
“For me?” I asked Him in surprise. For me. Christ made January 24, 2012 sunrise just for me. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. What a Lover I have! He lets me know His love by painting the sky! Whose sweetheart could beat that? I realized that He didn’t have to, but He chose to give evidence of His love for me.
This is what I wrote in my diary after that morning:
“I’m so thankful. It lasted about 10 minutes and then disappeared as fast as it came and the sky went back to the cold blue as before – but my heart was changed. Why be sad? How could I with a Beloved like Him? His name is Wonderful! I must tell Him. How simple human words are, they don’t seem adequate. I was overwhelmed by how much He loved me -- such a faithful, true, everlasting, never changing, constant, consistent, love. He shows it in His words, His actions, His creation. He tells me so, and even shows me.
He is my God, but more comforting is this thought: I am His child, His lover. He wants me. And I want to be wanted. What better match is there? :) He considers me beautiful. He cares how I spend my time, what I do is important to Him. I am not alone. He knows my emotions and is stronger than they are. He considers me lovely. I rest in Him as my Beloved. I am needed. I love to know I’m loved.”
“The moment I deliberately do something definite either for God or others that costs me something, I am expressing love…once a person discovers the delight of doing something for others, he has started through the gate being led into one of God’s green pastures.”
I then started asking the Lord to show me what love really was. I knew that He loved me, and He was the answer for my heart, but now how am I to give love? And He answered. He showed me how I was to receive love, and now how I was to give love. And how others actually receive and give love differently. I asked the Lord to show me people through His eyes. I wanted to see how He loved them. I was overwhelmed.
“As He loved us, so we should love Him, that He may love through us all whom He would reach.” (Roseveare 124)
There is one woman that I am acquainted with who dislikes homeschoolers and anything with a Christian connotation. I had heard a few unsavory things about her, and so, disliked her. Well, soon after I asked the Lord to show me how He saw people, He showed me how He saw her. I was sitting at the computer in the library, when all of a sudden the Lord pressed upon my heart to be still and listen. I did, and I heard this woman’s voice in the next room. And then, He showed me how He loves her. He sees her not for how she is now, but how He desires her to be. He sees her as a child, someone desirable. He sees the good qualities He has gifted her with. He loves her just the same as He loves me. He finds her beautiful. He showed me that He is in love with those I find unlovely. Through His eyes I can only look on them with either great compassion or sincere love. It was so overwhelming, I was afraid I was going to run up to this woman and embarrass myself by hugging her and crying… I pleaded with the Lord to stop. He did, but I was forever impressed. This happened again at WalMart with a total stranger. He showed me the unlovely and unlovable, and then showed me how He sees them. It was amazing.
“It is impossible to weary God’s love, and it is impossible to weary that love in me if it springs from that one center.”
I have learned that once I am willing to be willing to love, the Lord sends someone unlovable into my life. It can even be as simple as a sibling saying something hurtful, or when I am tired, He will allow someone to be harsh with me, or He will allow a gossip to tempt me, or will allow opportunities for me to gossip.
We are told to serve one another by love. Christ asks me, are you willing to spend, and be spent for others? I’m going to be a servant either way, either to myself, or to others. Really, all I can do is choose. We are commanded to bear one another’s burdens, not to be weary in well doing, and when given the opportunity to do good, we are supposed to… to all men. (Galatians 6:10)
Christ, who is my example, became a servant. He humbled Himself. I too will be humbled. I will come across the unlovely, I will be going against the flow. I might look weird. Others will hold priority in my life. I will be asked to sincerely love the ones that seem hardest to love, at times that will be awkward, inconvenient, or difficult. Can I? I don’t think it’s humanly possible. But then it’s not a matter of whether I can do it, for Christ can through me, but only if I am willing. I know it’s worth it. If my life can shine forth His love – even if it means I will be used and spent and humbled, it's worth it. If one person feels drawn to the LORD through me and is drawn even one step closer to receiving Him, a lifetime of being spent would be worth it. Loving the lost isn’t simple. It is humbling and heart changing for me. It means my love needs to be real, consistent, true, and compassionate. It’s more than passing a tract; it is walking in the Spirit, being sensitive to Him always, following even if it’s uncomfortable. It’s being ready and willing to be loved through.
I have one more diary entry to share.
January 4, 2012
“How shall I fear? It is actually difficult to fear with the knowledge that the King of kings tells my heart to not be troubled. No man can harm me without His permission. As soon as it passes from man’s sin over to God’s desk with a stamp of approval and touches me, it is now His will and I can rejoice in the LORD for He only allows His best to touch me.
He cares for the sparrow – and I, His beloved, am much more precious to Him than a sparrow.
Elizabeth Elliot says:
“His love is always awake, always aware, always surrounding and upholding and protecting. If a spear or a bullet finds its target in the flesh of one of His servants, it is not because of inattention on His part it is because of Love.” (Elliot 69-70)
If I live, it is for Him and because of Him. If I die, it is for Him and because He allowed it and gave me the gift of death. I am His. All I do, all I suffer, is all for Him. If I die, He will replace me with another servant and take me to be with Him. Which is comforting. If Chris is harmed in Indonesia because he followed Christ’s will, it will not be because of inattention on Christ’s part, but because He loves Chris and knows best for Chris. Knowing that is liberty.”
These were my lessons. I felt that I learned a lot about love. I actually decided I was going to write a whole chapter on it for my Maid Arise book and share what I had learned. But I was never able to. That’s because He wasn’t yet done teaching me.