So 2015 has begun in crisis mode for us as a family; which has brought my “word” for the year into sharper focus and is handing me countless opportunities to put it into practice.
My word for 2015 is Love. And already I've had to face situations that are bringing me up close and personal with unlovable people. I'm finding it hard – really hard – to truly love them.
I'm not talking about evil people far away, but of humans within an arms reach who are actively seeking my harm. People who don't really care how much they hurt me – and I'm not talking about hurt that exists in my own head because I'm extra “sensitive” (read an ego that's working overtime!), but actual injustice. I cannot ignore these people or walk away from them. They are a part of my life circle. So the only option left is to love them.
This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. I can say all the right stuff – that I've forgiven them for the harm they have done me and move on. But do I love them enough to pray for them? For their healing? For them to find Jesus? Would I be happy if I met them in heaven one day?
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” - 1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 3
In essence, this states that if I don't have love, I am nothing and I gain nothing. Not easy at all!
I'm learning to choose love on an hourly basis. To pray – not for my needs, my deliverance or venting my anger against injustice – but for the perpetrators of said injustice. It's a hard road I've been asked to walk, but not something my Lord didn't do Himself.
The beauty that I'm beginning to see emerge is that when I choose to Love, I'm choosing God and He surrounds me. Even though my circumstances do not magically change, I am able to see Him more clearly. In the pain, in the injustice, in the crazy mess around me – He is becoming more real to me.
In the midst of my circumstances, I'm reminded of the story of Shasta from C. S. Lewis' classic “The Horse And His Boy” and how he found himself in the sorriest of circumstances and in the darkness, just when he felt the tiredness and injustice overwhelm him, he realized he wasn't alone. Just as if you and I can pause and look beyond circumstances we will see none of us are asked to walk through difficult times alone:
“Shasta discovered that someone or somebody was walking beside him. It was pitch dark and he could see nothing. And the Thing (or Person) was going so quietly that he could hardly hear any footfalls. What he could hear was breathing. His invisible companion seemed to breathe on a very large scale, and Shasta got the impression that it was a very large creature. And he had come to notice this breathing so gradually that he had really no idea how long it had been there.”
What a comfort for us all to know He walks beside us through everything!