The Joy That Love Brings

 

Image result for fingerprint images

Several years ago, our “5 family” took my edited version of a test.  The idea came from Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages.  It’s a good, easy read and a real eye opener as to how to love the ones closest to you so that they actually feel loved.  We girls scored high, if not #1, for words of affirmation.  I have to remind Bob from time to time that he needs to love the women in his house with words–lots and lots of words.  Tell me how good I look or what a great job I did; spend time with me without the t.v.; brew me a cup of tea or wash the dishes–PLEASE!  Those are a couple of examples of what love looks like to me.  But what does it look like in our relationship with God?

In light of Chapman’s book, it seems a little more challenging to feel the love of God.  I would guess that most believers at one time or another have felt abandoned by God. That is a lie we have to fight through because He says He will never leave us nor forsake us.  This has really been weighing on me because I have heard the cries of some of those closest to me who are, for lack of  better words, going through a crisis of love.  I get it.  We don’t doubt God’s existence, there’s too much evidence to support it.  We don’t doubt Jesus’ work at the cross because we’ve seen how it has changed us and our perspectives.  But what about the rest of it?  By His stripes you were healed?  He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory?  Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think?  Sometimes it just doesn’t look like it adds up.

I thought about what love looks like God’s way.  Sometimes the way seems dark.  The way to the light is through thankfulness.  Satan is a flesh devil.  God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and truth.  Instead of answering my questions, God began to remind me of the ways He has shown love to me.

He reminded me of when I was pregnant with our twins.  The doctor said they were in the wrong position for me to have a vaginal delivery and if they didn’t move, I’d have to have a caesarean.  I was anointed and prayed for at church.  I figured having twins was going to be enough to adjust to, I didn’t need the complication of healing from a caesarean added to that.  The next morning I had what looked like huge fingerprints spread out on my abdomen.  Sure enough, the doctor confirmed that the girls were in position.

From there I thought of other things for which I’m thankful.  We have long-lasting appliances.  I honestly don’t know how old our upright freezer is.  It was used when we bought it and it’s still working.  Same with our vehicles.  We’ve never had a brand new vehicle but we have been spared from absolute clunkers.

God has provided outrageous deals on things and we are blessed with ridiculous bargains.

Our food stores are full.  Our closets are overflowing.  We have a home and it is warm.

We have a beautiful camper for recreation.

My life is enriched by wonderful family and friends.

All these are whispers of God’s love.

I think the quickest way to hopelessness is ingratitude.  Seriously.  You know when I begin a downward spiral?  When I cease to give thanks.  When I dwell on unfulfilled hopes instead of the many blessings that are.  I mustn’t dwell on what I don’t have or what didn’t happen the way that I thought it would.

LORD, I don’t understand.  Some day I will.  Then again, maybe I won’t.  So what?  Does that change His love for me?  No, it opens up new compartments of it.  If I let Him.  If I’m thankful.  If I remember that He’s not only able but willing.  If I’ll just wait.

black and pink i heart you text
Photo by Beata Dudová

“I love you.  I love you with an everlasting love.  I knew you when you were a child.  No, I knew you before I hung the stars, before I spoke a word.  There is no mountain I would not climb, no ocean I would not swim (for you).  I love you just the way you are.  But you say you have sinned.  I have made provision for that.  Confess your sin, repent of it, and receive My love.  My love is for this life as well as for all of eternity.  I have plans and a purpose for you.  I love you.  I love you.  I love you.”                                                                                                  ~God     

Maybe you’re a visual-type person, like my husband.  Then you might enjoy this video of love.  The girls had an assignment recently in which they were supposed to write dialogue for a movie segment.  Laura picked this cartoon short.

 

We listened to Laura’s dialogue while it played, and with her voice quaking a little, she ended with, “And I thought of this scripture: ‘Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.'”  (John 15:13)

We watched it again, in a sort of awe-filled silence, without her dialogue.  Tears streamed down Laura’s face.  The video moved all of us.  When we saw what remained of Rock’s head, Laura said, “Look how happy he looks.”

By then we all had tears in our eyes.  We were quiet for a few moments.

“That reminds me of another scripture,” I said, “the one about Jesus enduring the cross because of the joy set before Him.  He loves us.  Really, truly loves us.  That’s what He did for us.  He died so that we could live.”

Agonizing pain, a gruesome death, and beneath it all: JOY for what lay ahead.  And what is ahead?  Eternity with our resurrected Savior–if we so choose.  That was His vision.  It still is.  Praise His holy name.

Pay close attention to the lyrics of this song.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

Take your eyes off the mountains, Friend, and look at your story.  Do you see God’s fingerprints? Do you see Jesus’ smile?  They’re silent reminders of His hand on you.  What would your story be if Jesus had not entered in just when He had?  Is this enough to be thankful for, even though you (and I) sometimes grope in the dark with our many unanswered questions?  I know that if you’ll  join me in worship and look for His fingerprints and His smile, we’ll find them, and joy will follow.  He’s never let us go.  And He never will.

Let the following scripture verse sink in.  Think about it.  Meditate on it.  Let it take root in your heart today.  Isn’t this what we’re wanting?  To be “perfect and complete, needing nothing”?  Here’s how:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.  James 1:2-4 NLT

My hope is that through today’s post, you have heard, seen, and felt the love of God and that you have been encouraged.  If so, pass it on.

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Christi

My husband and I married nearly 19 years ago on a chilly, rainy, spring day. One year later caught me in a whirlwind as I was celebrating my first wedding anniversary, my first Mother's Day, and my first publication as a freelance writer. The birth of our third child followed a couple months after we celebrated our twins' 3rd birthday. Though a pen has been one of my constant companions, I have not pursued writing professionally due to the monumental task of homemaking and the raising of children. A shout out to my Robert who has been our sole provider while I have had the pleasure and privilege of remaining home with our children to homeschool them. Now, thanks to him, I have the liberty to once again pursue my passion to write and encourage others in written word as we journey with God through life experiences.

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