I've had a hard time writing lately. It's not because something is wrong exactly, or at least nothing I can put my finger (s) on, but because I sit before this white box in which I'm supposed to pour out my thoughts, and nothing of value comes. Life passes and I try again. And again, the delete key is more my friend than the publish key. I can't claim busyness, though I've been busy. Seven trips through the excruciatingly slow detour around the downed bridge on the interstate in the last three weeks attest to that (the new military-sponsored temporary bridge opens today, Hallelujah!!!). I can't claim extraordinary pain, because I don't even know what that would be. I simply can't find the words right now. At least no words that will stick.
But this morning I woke up thinking about a very familiar passage of scripture. I don't know about you, but when I awaken with scripture in my brain, it's a sure sign that Someone other than me put it there for a PURPOSE. Sometimes, I'm chagrined to admit, I get up and go about my day without focusing on the passage that's rebounding around with all the "Gotta have tea," and "shoot, I really did the math wrong when I tried to make that quilt bigger than the pattern, didn't I?" (yep, that happened yesterday. Why I--a total math dunce--thought that quilting would be a good ministry is beyond me. But I'm all in now)
This morning, however, I didn't push aside those words. Maybe because they were just too insistent. Maybe because I don't want to face all the extra cutting have to do for the quilt. But here I am, having faced the words, God's point (I think) and I haven't even made my tea yet!
It's a simple passage. A familiar one. Maybe it's the familiarity of it that makes it so easy to miss, or easy to neglect in my living--my actual daily, 'walking-around' life, as Eugene Peterson would put it in Romans 12:1-- Here's what I want you to do, God helping you--Take your every day, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.
I haven't been placing my life--daily--before Him. First, last, and in the middle. And therefore, the result is what I felt convicted about before 7am (which is before dawn for me) this morning! LOVE. Six sentences in 1 Corinthians 13. I was about to write 'simple sentences' but since there's no way on earth--or as mere mortals--that we can love like this WITHOUT the Holy Spirit's help, I don't think they're simple at all.
But they are powerful profound and life-giving to all with whom we interact.. And IN Him, we are changed by our acting them out. Our loving thusly.
Six sentences describing love. Describing the action of love. Not the emotion of it, not the mushy romance or even the overwhelmingly protective parental pride of it. But the proactive, beyond and not-of ourselves, God-only action.
That we are called to practice counter-intuitive to our own nature, against all odds, against all reason, against all that the world offers or describes or lives out. We are not of this world and we are called to this:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
Convicting for me. How about you?
The good news is--HE is ABLE and willing to help you love exactly this way. Love those who you are are least prone to love on your own. I have learned this before. And it was a gift. And, as I offer myself (ala Romans 12:1) He will love those I'm struggling to love right now.