1997-01-23 - I Know a Love
There are pressures, trials and troubles that beset us everyday we live this life. Most of the time they come one by one, or just a few at a time. Even when the particular problem is more like a constantly dripping faucet, we most often find the strength to shrug it off and keep going. But there are times when the ripples become waves, one right behind the other. Even that dripping faucet can eventually become like torture.
I have recently faced such a storm. Long, difficult days followed by evenings where my usually well-behaved boys fought me tooth and nail over anything from what to have for a snack, to bedtime. I called one of my closest friends and found an ear to listen to and some simple, yet sage advice. With the direction reinforced in my mind, strengthened by some genuine compassion, I marched onward. As I moved along, I began to fade again. Where would I get the strength to continue?
As I was driving home, the answer came in a song as the Lord often does for me. The song, as you may have guessed, is "I Know a Love". The song is performed by Al Denson. I'm not sure which album it is from. I will try to update the devotional on the website (http://www.cfdevotionals.org/) when I get the information. The chorus starts "I know a love, deeper than the oceans, stronger than the pain...." The realization that hit me was staggering. I almost stopped the car. I know the source of all love and power anywhere. I am intimately acquainted with the source of love in Jesus Christ. God is in control. He led me into this storm, and he will lead me out. His love for any of His children is stronger than any pain they will face. Why had I not availed myself of this source? I was trying to struggle through on my own strength instead of connecting myself to and depending on the infinite source on God Himself.
Isa 40:31 - Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (NAS)
Why is Jesus the last one I turned to? I had been shown a glimpse of His love and care in the time spend listening to and in the considered words of my friend. It was an unselfish love that cared enough to hear me out and be honest with me. Friends like this are hard to find in this or any other age. Does the problem go away? No, but I was no longer alone in my struggle. It makes a huge difference.
Prov 18:24 - A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (NAS)
Now take the all too-plausible example of a teenage young lady who sneaks into the back of a church service. Let's call her Karen. Her hair has been straightened but is obviously not clean. Her clothes are rumpled and her eyes are red from crying. Rumors have been flying around town about Karen. After the service, most folks just file out past her. But one family dares to challenge the established social order, not unlike Jesus taking the side of the young woman caught in adultery. They stop and say hello and ask her what is wrong. As she fights to hold back new tears, she tells this family that her father threw her out when he found out she was pregnant. She admits that she has made a big mistake and doesn't know what to do or who to turn to for help. After a quick phone call to her home, Karen's father angrily confirms that she is not welcome at home.
There are a lot of pieces in play here. She needs to finish her education, for one. She is carrying a tiny life inside her that she could have simply, quietly ended and not dealt with her parents at all. She may not know Jesus Christ at all. Someone once told me that I may be the best example of Jesus Christ to someone. That is a little scary at times. But, we know a love, from the very Source of love, that reached out to us. Jesus reached out to some of us when He had allowed us to come to the end of our abilities and resources to help ourselves. This is where our Karen is as she sits in that back pew. It is my prayer that we hand her the love of Jesus Christ in the largest portion we can find.
Rom 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus .2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (NAS)
If we know this uncondemning love, and can share it with those that the world has cast aside, we can rock the world once again. This is an wide open opportunity for Christ to reach in and change a heart. There are hundreds of similar situations that can be plugged in here from Christian brothers and sisters who have a problem, or battered wives, young men and women who have lost hope and are contemplating suicide and young people experimenting with drugs and sex and alternate lifestyles.
Am I winking at sin here? Hopefully Jesus Christ is changing hearts and conquering the work of sin in the lives of people. Restoring someone, valuing them as Jesus does, may mean that we accept someone right where they are. Even in the middle of a serious problem. But in reaching out and caring, we destroy the degrading work of sin in their lives. Jesus gave to his disciples the keys of the kingdom. We can unlock or lock the doors in the faces of the people He leads to us. We are His disciples today. What do you do with the keys He has entrusted you with?
There are many loves in this creation. Some are selfish, some are generous. The Love we know went to Calvary for us.
Lord Jesus, we thank you for the "Karens" that You bring our way, and the deep, powerful love that You have shown to us in our times of need. The love and forgiveness that we know from You are the keys to lives to which the world has turned their backs in solemn disapproval. With these keys, we can quietly rock the world system if we choose to do so. Give us the courage and the compassion to do so, knowing that we too have been forgiven a debt we could never repay. Amen.