Cause it’ll break your will, it’ll change your mind,
Loose all the chains of the ties that bind.
If you’re lucky you’ll never make it out alive, and that’s a good thing.
Love is a good thing…”
– Andrew Peterson, from the lyrics of “Love is a Good Thing” –
Join me for Part Four of my Practical Love Series! Today, I’ve shared my own struggle with understanding Love. To catch up on the other posts in the Practical Love series, check out the links below!
The sycamore in our yard was huge. Broad green leaves unfurled like flag-ship signals every spring and shriveled into crunchy litter on the ground each fall. It was the kind of tree that just begs to be made into a tree fort, or support a swing. Generations could have grown up on that swing.
But, instead, one spring arrived and the tree never awoke.
Trees die many ways, I suppose. Insects or diseases can devour the leaves, or lightning can strike, or a drought can hit.
I’m not sure what did our sycamore in. Maybe it spent itself out. Maybe it had too much competition. Maybe it stopped drawing power from the earth. Roots have to dig deep, nestle into subsoil watering places, and seek out nutrients if a tree is to survive.
I’ve been thinking about that.
If Love is a tree, then its roots are Grace.
And right now, my Love feels a lot like that dead sycamore–powerless, decaying,unrooted.
Where do I even get the strength to Love other people? How do I find the desire?
Because Love, it seems to me, isn’t as glamorous as they say.
It is dragging myself out of bed in the morning.
It is holding my tongue when I want to lash back to that family member’s thoughtless words.
It is trudging down the road to help out a neighbor even when I’m emotionally drained.
Sometimes, it is coaxing my silly little goats onto the milk stand when no one else has time.
It’s a thousand little things that I don’t feel like doing.
And Love hurts.
When a person gets serious about learning an important Biblical truth, it is amazing how quickly roadblocks will pop up. Since I’ve begun the Practical Love Series, Love hasn’t gotten easier for me. It has become harder.
I’m realizing what an immense, improbable, wonderful, and terrifying thing it is to Love.
Did the sycamore fear to stretch its fingers into the sky and grow up? Did it realize that each inch it climbed, the more limbs it exposed to whipping wind, the more bark it bared to the snow, and the more delicate leaves it opened to the scorching power of the sun? Did it shrink from the swinging sticks of the children who ran past, shouting and flailing in their antics?
There is only one way to Love.
That one, single, flaming way is to meet Him, Love Himself. To be submerged in Grace, swallowing it, swimming in it, inhaling it like an unborn child inhales amniotic fluid, the sea in which he moves. “Amniotic fluid is inhaled and exhaled by the [baby]. It is essential that fluid be breathed into the lungs in order for them to develop normally….Amniotic fluid protects the developing baby by cushioning against blows….” (Wikipedia.) This is what Grace does in a Christian: filling us, becoming our inhalation, exhalation. Divine Grace–inside, outside–is the fuel of our sanctification, the outer cushioning that also nourishes us.
So…you’ve been waiting for three weeks for me to tell you what Love is, how to show it to others.
And, the truth is, I still don’t quite know.
All I know is that, to truly have Love, you have to meet Jesus.
The tree doesn’t plant itself, the baby does not conceive itself, the Christian girl does not sanctify herself.
You will find the way to Love only through a Grace you cannot control.
Join me in praying, praying to really see. Praying for Grace to swallow me up, and for me to swallow Grace, so that I can see the magnificent Love poured out on my behalf.
Join me in reading, searching the Bible like the mountain of treasure it is, seeing how Love Himself dared to enter this mess of mine.
So….we really want to know how to Love?
First, we have to know the Grace-Giver.
And it is only from that Root of Grace that Love can bud out, a tree unafraid to stand in the sunshine.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children, and that is what we are!“
– 1 John 3:1, CEB –
How has the work of God in your life shown you what Love is really all about? Has this changed how you see others?
Comment below and share!
Thanks to Yinan Chen at Public Domain Pictures for today’s lovely tree photo!