“I am writing to myself because I was once carefree and reckless with my love and with my trust, and now I have become something ugly. I hide behind false pride to reassure myself and to keep myself safe; meanwhile destroying those around me. I could help. I could forgive. I could love. If only I could learn to trust… something greater than all the people that have hurt me. If I could truly believe that there is a purpose for everything; not just with my head but with my heart. And if I could just remember that God really does work out all things for the GOOD of those who love him. Forgive the rest, because we are all fallen and we are all untrustworthy, and let go.” (From November)
Since November when I published the post about Trust containing the above selection, I have continued to struggle, but have continued to fail. And honestly, I don’t really know why. For some reason, I still haven’t gotten it. Sometimes it is easy to write and think about something, and not really figure out how to implement it in your life. But yesterday I read something (by… you guessed it: Brenann Manning…) that shook me up again. Maybe the revelation will stick this time.
“Only love empowers the leap in trust, the courage to risk everything on Jesus, the readiness to move into the darkness guided only by a pillar of fire. Trust clings to the belief that whatever happens in our lives is designed to teach us holiness.”(The Ragamuffin Gospel, Manning)
I know that I love God. I even know that God loves me. I have known all along that He would/will provide for me and take care of me… but somehow I have gotten stuck. For the last year at least I have been stuck in self-pity mode; I knew that God would bring me through but I hadn’t thought about HOW He would bring me through, and more importantly, I ignored the fact that He is still trying to make me more and more like His son Jesus.
What struggles I have with people in my life could be used to Praise His name, and to make me into the sacrificial and godly woman that I am longing to be— but until yesterday when I read these words it hadn’t dawned on me. God is calling me to do something in this circumstance… not only to stand in the rain knowing that God will pull me through eventually, but going to those who are there with me and loving them however I can. I can honor God immensely by reaching out to those who have hurt me.
I guess it is a process. A couple of years ago I wanted to be kind to those who were unkind in order to win their affection; I was trying to love my enemies… but that wasn’t the way. I was unsuccessful in proving my love, and because of my shallow motives, I gave up: How do you love those that don’t want to be loved? For a time I lingered in pain and in hopelessness; but now I think I know what to do. How do you love those that don’t want to be loved? Jesus faces this question every day.
You pursue relationship, no matter how many times you are rejected; no matter how many times you are wounded— because your love is the thing that could set them free. The love of Jesus in you for them is a treasure that they may not have anywhere else, in that way, they need you. The love of Jesus in you encourages your brothers and sisters in Christ as disciples, and in that way, they still need you.
Now I’m not saying that we need to be best friends with every single person in our lives; that would be a human impossibility. But I do think that we are to be the love of Jesus to every person in our life, to the different degrees that He has called us to be in relationship with them.
We are to walk in this dark world, following the pillar of fire, because He has called us to more than just eventual escape from this hurting and hurtful world; He has called us to reach every other person huddling in the darkness—- to be His hands and feet. That doesn’t always mean we will be comfortable, or that it won’t even be painful. Remember what His hands and feet went through… they were the parts of His body that were nailed to the cross: but all for the beautiful and total redemption of His beloved Children.
And if I can’t trust the God that loved me that much, to do the same for His other hurting children on this earth; then I know that He will forgive me and love me still. But, I would not be living up to the potential that He has blessed me with; I would be burying my talent in the sand.