The Call to Love
I’m riding home trying to avoid thinking about the uneasinesses of the day. Routine has me reach for my phone and dial up a friend. I realize too late, though, that this isn’t the right move. I listen and emote in well-timed little sighs or giggles, but I know that I need to go to God because this is not comforting me.
I arrive and breathe in the emptiness of the house. It’s nice to be alone for a while with only the whir of the furnace kicking out heat or the stray drag of a car inching tediously toward home interrupting the silence. I slink in contented expectation toward the couch and allow the cushions to hug the weary places of my body as I slide snuggly into place. I go to the Word.
But nothing is right. I cannot find peace. I decide that after a vain attempt to read that I’ll take off my clothes and get into bed. My thoughts are racing, and anxiety begins to bubble from my stomach and swell toward my chest. Why can’t I let this go? I wonder to myself as I flip and flop trying to relax. I grab the Bible and attempt to read again, but still I am not finding the security needed to rest my mind and bring peace to my spirit.
Lord, I begin, let me find comfort in your Word. Let me see just what I need to bring guidance and calm. Point me in the right direction. I go back again to the Bible and a few frantically read verses later, I find Him waiting for me:
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5: 44-45)
I realize why I was not successful the first few times around:
- I was avoiding God and seeking outside comfort.
- I was undisciplined in my search.
- I was looking for the answers I wanted to hear.
- I did not ask for His guidance and blessing in my search.
I close my eyes and consider the magnitude of the charge. There is no “defend yourself” in the call. There’s no “give up and start over.” There’s not even a “they’re wrong and you’re right, so you’re justified in feeling this way.” Love your enemies is the directive.
Then to really convict me, He reminds me that God Himself is my Father, and as such, I’m obligated to do as He does. Just like He allows the sun to shine on both good and bad, so too should I extend my love and care on those whom I find agreeable and those whom I find adversarial. I perceive with new understanding my own missteps of the day, and I thank God that He loves me despite my opposition. I thank God that His sun still rises on me, too. I thank Him for extending His graces and mercies to me over and over again.
I’m finally calm in my contemplative state, and I can probably doze off and sleep all night, but just at that moment, the back door opens and gym-shoed feet come bounding up the steps and across the kitchen toward my room.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to remind me of the singularity of my needed trust. Faith is not about getting what I want or even about validating my emotions. It’s about trusting powerfully in You and Your will and Your way. It’s about knowing and appreciating who You are and loving You so much that I’d give up myself for You. You’ve commanded that I love my enemies, following my Father’s example. You’ve shown me Jesus’ model as He even washed Judas’ feet. Let me serve you wholly and faithfully. Let my service bring You and You alone glory. Let me decrease that You may increase. Amen
“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” (John 13: 15-17)