But the Holy Spirit whispers, once again, to my spirit, "Kathi, there's a part B to this lesson." Yikes! Part A has nearly killed me! (Deep breath and a gulp.) "Lord, I do want to learn. Help me to learn this lesson now so I don't have to repeat the course!"
Don't get me wrong I suspect that we all have those in our lives who are challenging to love. They are the people who just are not, or maybe cannot, go away. So, we pray and grit our teeth and try to make ourselves available so that God can love them through us. But every now and then we go through seasons where we feel like God has added 5,000 to those one or two who are always there!
And the Holy Spirit says, "I've had a lot of practice in this area, will you allow me to love these through you?"
"But can't you just love them, Lord, and leave me out of it?"
"Yes, I can. But I would rather do it through you."
"I'll do it through you, if you allow me. The decision is yours."
These lessons on love are a lot harder than I thought they would be! I was looking forward to a year of warm and fuzzy. But God always wants to take us deeper.
This is what the missionary, Amy Carmichael, had to say about this kind of love in her book, If, What Do I Know of Calvary Love? "The way of love is never an easy way. If our hearts be set on walking in that way we must be prepared to suffer. 'It was the way the Master went; should not the servent tread it still?' It is possible that we may be enclosed in circumstances which drain natural love, till we feel as dry as grass on an Indian hillside under a burning sun."
With eyes open wide, each of us must decide for ourselves if we really want to love like God loves.