I thought I grew up and learned my lessons, but I find myself learning anew a lesson I thought I already totally understood.
Let me back up before I get too into this and give you a little recent history. I was thinking on a matter the other day, and my negative 'realist' thoughts kept coming along about a certain topic I was throwing around in my head. And suddenly, it was as if the LORD pulled back the curtain to a previously hidden window; allowing light from a new angle to flood into my thought perspective. What if...?
... (Now... put that story on the back burner and fast forward a few days to when the setting for the majority of this post deals with.)
I've written and spoken countless times about this life of sacrifice I've been called to. I understood it. I willingly answered the call upon my life and gave it all to follow Him, to where He called me. All. I knew it would involve sacrifice. I gave it all. Has the term sacrifice and giving it all been several times redefined with a deeper and more overwhelming meaning each time? Yes. Was this call much more than I expected? Oh my Yes. Am I still certain of this calling upon my life? You betcha... Yes. Am I still thankful for this calling upon my life? Yes.
I've written and spoken countless times about the pain and the heart ache of this life. Seeing life and death on a daily basis. Living raw. Living at my 'limit' everyday, being on my personal 'edge' always. Seeing the true hell on earth. Knowing the evils of this world and seeing their effect in the eyes of those I love. Being so overwhelmed that there are some days in which parts of me emotionally shut off.
I've written and spoken countless time of the joy and blessings in the midst of all this still. The blessing of seeing the LORD heal those I love. The joy of seeing Him relieve those I love of their horrendous earthly suffering, and knowing they are in paradise with Him. I've written of the joys of seeing children restored, and successfully united with their families, their own happy endings.
I've written and spoken countless times about a song...Jesus Loves Me. I've sang it a hundred times. This song hit me hard with my dear Pamela and sweet Jellyn, as I sang it to them daily, nightly, sometimes hourly. I sang it to teach them the song that Jesus loved THEM.
I've rejoiced over the love my God has.. for them.
That was always enough for me.
I knew my life was meant for sacrifice. I had been blessed with such a wonderful and full of love beginning in life, that now it was my time to show that love to others and tell them that Jesus loved them.
I was taught and knew from an early age that Jesus loved us, loved me, loved everyone.
I knew it. But... I didn't.
And the beautiful amazing wonderful thing about having a Father that loves you is...He wants you to know... to really know and realize that He truly does love you.
After hearing this song several times... the words began to break open parts of me.
Part of the lyrics goes:
I realize just how beautiful You are
And, I remember the first time I really really listened to the lyrics I thought.. Oh yes, how many times have I just been left speechless at You LORD, left in awe of Your Great Name! ... and then the song continues:
And how great Your affections are for me.
To be quite honest.. even my mind is left speechless when I hear those words. Even now, trying to convey these emotions that the meaning behind those lyrics produces within me... words are inadequate. There is no justice in words and syllables to explain the blinding, take-my-breath-away, unable to move, captivated yet totally lacking sense of attempting comprehension that is happening deep within my being.
Because... it's not just the words. It's so much more than one man's gifted and talented lyrical ability... it's because... I hear that gentle whisper within me..It's true. I love you. I. LOVE. YOU.
He really does love me!
I never doubted God's love for those that I work with. I told them of God's love for them with conviction. I knew God loved them. I really knew of His love for them.
And I thought I knew of His love for me...but my understanding was flawed. I viewed it almost like I view my love for the one girl in my classes that is my friend. I love her, she is precious. Out of the whole class, she is one of the very view that has risked getting to know me, risked helping me when I needed it, risked ridicule from the other classmates at helping 'the white girl'. She had sacrificed herself for me and because of that we had a friendship, and we sat together in class sometimes and occasionally texted. While my friendship with this girl is so precious to me...there is NO COMPARISON to the love the Father has for His children, which by His grace and sovereignty I am blessed beyond measure to be counted among.
I had always been taught that God was a God that loved us, but also that disciplined us, constantly refining us and molding us. While that is COMPLETELY TRUE... my perspective was way out of focus. I saw God as 'molding me and teaching me' only... using only heartache and pain and tears for me personally. I saw every stage in life, with its pain and bittersweet moments as tools that we was using to mold me and train me for the future, ... a life full of sacrifice, which in my skewed perspective equalled more pain. I imagined myself laid out in preparation for the slaughter, giving my life so that souls might be won for Him... but He stops the arm that coming down on me, just like the angel of the Lord stopped Abraham's arm when it was about to come down on Isaac. The arm is stopped and instead of pain, I'm starting to realize that I've not been slaughtered, I've been rescued. I've been scooped up into the arm of my Father, held by the body that was already broken for me and all of His children.
I previously thought God had a tolerating and saving emotion toward me, but 'love' is so much more than that. He has affection for me. He WANTS me.
To revisit the opening scenario... the flow of new thought perspective continued:
What if... God really loves me?
What if... He is with me through all of this?
What if... instead of waiting to teach me another lesson through another let down, broken and shattered heart...what if He's on my side through it all? Carrying me every step?
And now... now I see Him taking what He taught me last year and taking it deeper, taking me deeper, drawing me closer to Him. He's taking lessons that I thought I knew and making them clearer, more real to me.. because He loves me enough to make me understand.
And you know what else.. He loves you just as much!
~ To God Be the Glory!