Where’s the love? I recently read an email that was forwarded to me with a picture of this huge ship, the Emma Maersk. It is the largest container ship that was made in Denmark for the purpose of China shipping cargo into the USA. I was saddened to read at the very bottom of the email that the USA often sends the ship back EMPTY…the gloomy email was explaining the poor economic state of our country and I wonder if our hearts our just as poor and gloomy.
I’m talking about our relationship with God…I think we can tend to have our friendship with God just as lopsided as the trading economies of China and USA may be. Jesus offers His relationship to us and I think so many of us are falling short of our end of the bargain.
I love what Rick Warren says in the beginning of Chapter 12, “We are as close to God as we choose to be.” And that our “bitterness is the greatest barrier to friendship with God.” I know I am more passionate about my God now because I have overcome great pain in my life—with all the glory to Him—because getting over the pain was done by accepting His great love for me.
I realize I am still not and will never be perfect (perfection is my enemy as Francesca sings) in how I deal with pain and struggles in my life but I am growing and maturing more each day realizing that I have a God who loves me and can handle my full vent of emotion. I know that even in the darkest of situations He desires and will make good of it! I admit I used to blame God and even when I didn’t blame Him I thought He must have not been able to be powerful enough to change the circumstances…but I know better now. How and why? Because I began to seek Him and study His Word—daily. I had a desire to know Him and I began to be encouraged by reading about others in the Bible like Moses, David, Abraham, Sara, Ruth and Naomi…they all shared their time of doubts with God…just like I have…and in sharing such vulnerable feelings with God (or anyone else for that matter) we benefit by experiencing greater intimacy with God (or whoever we are sharing our life with)!!
Isn’t it just so true in our own relationships with people; when we honestly share with one another our fears and doubts or concerns we enter into a deeper level of friendship. And even in my marriage….we joke that face time together leads to intimacy…YEP!! Give me a few minutes alone to have some deep conversation with my husband and you know what happens next….(sorry—forgive me if that is just TMI). But, oh, it is soooooooooo TRUE...intimacy doesn’t wane if we choose to make time to communicate and share our feelings intimately in our marriages!!!
In the same way, our intimacy will not fade if we choose to make time for Him in our day and express our feelings. When we are a good friend or a spouse we are not lackadaisical…we act. Jesus asks us to love others and true friendships grow when we find ways to love one another. I try to teach my own boys these principles: sharing, helping, forgiving and encouraging. We also show that we are good friends by proving ourselves trustworthy and giving of our own resources to put someone else ahead of us. Bottom-line, we love others best when we are loving God first and doing what He is asking us to do—not as an act of duty—but an expression of our love! I know I a gravitate towards those who are giving and loving--not one of my friends would I characterize as selfish...I would think pretty selfish people are pretty lonely!!
One last thing, I wanted to point out that I am also just so passionate about this truth that Rick Warren pointed out and that is that the dearest thing to God’s heart is the death of His Son and the second is when we, God’s children, share this great news about Jesus with others. As I read these words on page 97 Warren’s book, tears welled up in my eyes because I felt like God was giving me a HUGE HUG!! You see, I think God was telling me that every time that I have had to endure pain, or hardship in my life He too knew about it and it was dear to His heart too! I think He desires to whisper the same to all of us…whatever has happened in your life…God was there and it hurt Him deeply to see you in pain…and He looks forward to living with us where there is no pain…and He is preparing that place for us right now!
You know, Jesus’ death does not take away or erase my pain, or your pain, but I find comfort and encouragement in knowing that my God knows, my God understands, and my God cares about every detail of my life and He has a great purpose in all of it.
There is so much love and joy to experience in this life and holding onto hurts and pain leaves no room for love and joy to be experienced through our friendships. I’ve experienced great pain…and not just once…but sadly, over and over again…but my best friend is someone who can heal and help you and me over and over again!!! PRAISE YOU ABBA FATHER!!!
Oh, I so desire to tell all about my best friend…He is truly marvelous and He has made everything glorious in my life…even when others would not think so!! Let me know when we can meet for coffee and I will gladly share all I know about Him!! I'd hate for anyone to miss what Rick Warren stated and I wholeheartedly believe is the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE!!!