Monday, June 20, 2011

Love in Midsummer

Today began perfectly--the longest day of the year stretching out like a gift. Huge hours of light that didn't press with activity. I wanted to savor this day, to celebrate summer's respite from winter's razor sharp cold and long gray. In keeping with my mood, God met me this morning with sweet serenades about His unending love and I was ready to hear it.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.--Jeremiah 31:3

And He has. He sang to my soul and the music became a duet. I languished in His arms. The day promised to unfold in gentle sweetness. Then I went to make a phone call. In one quick moment, He reminded me that His love is not designed to be one-sided. He expects the same out of me. That's where the day began to break down.

One short conversation reminded me I couldn't do it. I wanted to, I really did, but I don't know how to love like God. Faced with what sounded to me like selfish tears, I could only think that a person distraught enough to cry does not necessarily have good reason. Crying does not make one right. In fact, in this case, she seemed almost certainly wrong. I cared about her, but not enough to soothe her. The decisions she was making promised only a train wreck.

That, in fact, was the rub. My sad friend was crying, and I kept thinking that I have to please God. Unlike my friend, He makes the way to please Him fairly straightforward. He wants me to love. "Love me, love my people", He says. But how can I do both? How can I tell my friend that she is self-destructing and still love her? God is true to Himself and still loves all His creation. Why can't I?

The only thing I know how to do is to follow His instructions in the order He gave them. Love Him first, then be as gentle with my friend as I know how. I don't think I did very well, but the love God showed me in a long day lush with promise He also shows my friend. If I behaved harshly toward her, He does not. If I can rest in His love for me, I can also rest in His love for her.

I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor future nor any powers, neither height nor depth or anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.--Romans 8:38-39

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