September 3rd, 2012

Lately it seems that whenever I ask God for a fresh word, He begins to speak about love. I will tell Him, “I already know about love; I want to hear something new!” That was our dialog again today during my morning walk. After making my usual comment, all I heard was silence. So I said, “Are You telling me that I still do not understand love?”  He spoke an encouraging word into my spirit, telling me I am indeed learning. However, He also reminded me that it is important to continue to strengthen my foundation where love is concerned, so my assurance of His love will carry me through as the world continues to shake. So I said, “Ok, Lord, tell me more about love, because I desire to blossom in the middle of the storm, standing firmly on a foundation of Your love.” Following are some thoughts He ran through my mind as I walked.

Recently in a church service, my husband was deep in thought during worship. When I asked him what the Lord was speaking, he laughed as he told me how he was stunned by what he heard. It turns out that as my husband was fully immersed in praising God and declaring His goodness, the Lord began to tell him that if he would widen his stance (this is golf language), he would have an easier time getting out of the sand traps. Now how un-‘religious’ is that? How deeply does God care about even the small things in our lives? And if He notices even the tiny distractions, how much more is He watching over the big things? I was struck by the depth of His love, so much that He was even attentive to my husband’s golf game! By the way, it worked.

You get the pleasure of hearing even more about my incredible husband. A year or so ago, God called him to an extremely early time once a week, to meet with Him at our local prayer center for an extended time of intimacy. He has been faithful to show up every week, and His blessings have been huge. Because we have been out of town the past couple of months, that precious meeting with the Lord had to be put on hold. Having returned home this week, my husband was really looking forward to resuming their time of fellowship. Apparently, so was Jesus. In the middle of the night prior to that early morning meeting, Jesus awakened my husband and asked him, “Are you coming? Are you coming?” He sounded so excited, like a child who has been promised a trip to the amusement park. Needless to say, that was the end of my husband’s sleep time; he got up, cleaned up, and rushed to meet his Beloved. My soul sings as I ponder this encounter, knowing Jesus is equally excited to meet with each of us. My heart overflows with love as I imagine His delight when I enter into His presence. Love is indeed a choice and not a feeling; however, the emotion that follows after pure love is beyond description, and I can hardly wait to experience it once again!

Pressing on, I asked the Lord what else He wanted me to know about love. He began to show me that if the spiritual foundation stones on which I stand are mortared with love, then nothing will be strong enough to crumble it. In that place I can be in perfect peace, no matter the circumstances in which I find myself. Knowing that my Heavenly Father loves me deeply and unconditionally, I will be absolutely certain that He knows my situation, and His love has caused Him to already make a way for me. When I am wrapped in that love, the enemy cannot possibly trick me into allowing fear or worry or doubt to invade my soul. I will have no trouble declaring His goodness in all things, no matter how they look or feel, and no matter the outcome. Love fosters absolute trust in Him who is absolutely trustworthy.

As I walked, soaking up the sun and breathing in the fresh air, a particular song rose up in my head and I began to sing, “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.” Oh, how I hope you know that song! And I hope it is rising up in you as you read. God has indeed promised to never leave us or forsake us, according to Hebrews 13:5. In these troubled times, His promise is so comforting and so reassuring, bolstering my courage as I walk out my life with joy and anticipation, free from fear because I know His love covers me like bubble wrap.

I tried to capture all the words in my head until I got back home so I could write them down and share them with you. (Note To Self: you have a wonderful hand-held recorder; too bad it’s at home!)

Meanwhile, the Lord continued His lesson on love. He assured me that even when His voice is quiet, He is still gazing at me with love-struck eyes. We need not wonder if He has gone away because He has promised to always be within hearing range. He reminded me that when I ask a question and there is no immediate answer, I can very quickly run through some possible reasons for His quietness. Am I walking in unrepentant sin, having moved away from God, and He might be speaking but I cannot hear His voice? Is the last thing He told me to do still not done and He is waiting on me? Do I already know the answer because He has already told me, but I am like a child who asks the same question hoping for an answer more to her liking? Can the answer be clearly found in Scripture and He is drawing me to look in the Word for it? Has He put a ‘not yet’ in my spirit but I am determined to keep going there? Could I have been an absentee child lately and maybe He is longing for me to pursue Him a little longer? Love assures me that at all times and in all things, He continues to be actively involved in my life, even when He is silent.

As we made the turn toward home, Abba began to remind me that even when hard things come, His love endures and His goodness is never in question. As a parent, I can remember that my children did not always see the big picture. They did not always understand my decisions and even when they did understand, they did not always agree. Sometimes we wonder why God allows hard things to happen to us, but when we are certain that every action He takes comes from a position of hot burning love for us, we can trust that all is well, and from that place we can take His hand and walk through the storm. Perhaps a particular difficulty is in the form of a test I must pass, or a lesson I must learn in order to continue down the path He has set for me. This is a good time to remind myself that when I said ‘yes’ to Him, I agreed that He could refine me as needed. Refining hurts.

When I experience a really bad thing, if I am sure of his love for me, then I know two things. First, God did not cause it (even thought He allowed it); the devil is the one who brings evil into this world. And second, God will surely bring good out of that bad thing. Why is this bad thing happening? Perhaps I have opened a door that allowed the enemy to come in and torment me, through sin or disobedience or carelessness. Perhaps I received the brunt of someone else’s bad decision. I must always remember that God gave each of us an absolute free will, and He would break His promise if He interfered with each wrong decision we make. I do believe He would have pressed upon that person’s heart to stop what he was doing, but once the person decided to follow through with the bad act, God had to allow it. However, I also absolutely know that before the act ever took place, God had already made a way to bring good out of evil. All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purposes, according to Romans 8:28.

God’s love reminds me that all is well, no matter how my life turns. He has everything well in hand, and I have nothing to fear. But if I let go of that truth and allow my spiritual ears to listen to the voice of the enemy, then fear, anxiety, worry, stress, discouragement, and loss of faith all storm in through that open door and they proceed to tear away at my soul and my body. That is when I get sick or bitter or hopeless, and my foundation begins to crumble.

How would your life be different if you were certain of God’s love for you, and if you knew you had nothing to fear? How much better would your body operate if you bathed yourself in peace and love and trust? God gave you those options, and He gave you an absolute free will, so you can choose to operate in those things if you like. If you build your foundation with stones of faith and truth, mortared with God’s eternal love, then no storm can take you out. You will walk in power and purpose, spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom everywhere you go.

This is what you were created for. Choose to open your heart and receive God’s unfailing love. I John 3:1 says: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! Child of God, sing it again: “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.”