Thursday, May 27, 2010

One of the "Hard to Love"

By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe
Hebrews 11:31

I am Rahab...the harlot. It's not fair, but that is how I'm known. Or maybe it is fair. At any rate, it's certainly is not accurate - anymore. It just seems that some "titles" are hard to shake off. Actually, I've gotten used to it and it even makes me smile. But forgive me, I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Let me tell you my story and hopefully it will make you smile too.

I live in the town of Jericho. It's a very small town made up of only ten acres of land but it is important to Joshua, the Israelite, partially because it's the home of a wonderful, perennial spring flowing with life-giving water. It also controls the northern road in the Jordan Valley that leads to the popular trade city of Beth-San. Oh, but the most important thing about Jericho is that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob promised to give this city to His children, the Israelites.

Everyone in Jericho had heard many stories about Joshua's God. And in time it became obvious to me that this God loves outrageously. Get this, He even loves me! I'm not sure I'll ever understand it but it has changed me! I left my former "career" and began to follow this God that they call Yahweh.

Then one day I opened my door to two young men. They told me that Joshua sent them to Jericho to spy out the land that they were preparing to take over and they needed refuge. I couldn't believe what I was hearing! God had sent them to me! He not only loves me, He trusts me. Really? Me? The only thing I could say was, "I am willing!"

The young men at my door, however, did not share my enthusiasm over the Lord's choice of accommodations for them! But that was only natural, they didn't know me like God knows me! Although I did win them over when I hid them on my roof under piles of flax and told the king's soldiers that my Jewish visitors had already left Jericho. I suggested that if they hurried they might be able to catch the two foreigners. My guests were so impressed with my willingness to protect them that before they left my home (in the opposite direction of the soldiers, of course) they promised to do the same for me and my entire family when they returned. And they were true to their word!

So you see, I am Rahab, the harlot. No, actually I am Rahab, the loved and forgiven harlot. And that makes me smile!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Day For All Moms

Motherhood is priced of God, at price no man may dare to
lessen or misunderstand.
-Helen Hunt Jackson

Whether your "baby" is young or old, on earth or in heaven, a child you bore or that of another, or a child waiting for the day of their arrival on earth, my prayer for this day is that you and your child would have a renewed awareness and celebration of the precious and eternal gift that is motherhood.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The "Act Like It" Phase

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will go strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

My last "break through" lesson in love was that God loves me. His love is unconditional, safe, and...permanent. The resulting challenge (God loves to challenge and stretch His kids!) was that I should live and love as though I am the recipient of the literally outrageous love of the Creator of the Universe. This is the "lab" part of my Love 101 course. This is where I apply what I've learned practically. I like to call it the "act like it" phase of my learning. The interesting thing is that, in this lab, I am studying myself as much as I am studying love.

What's that? You want to know what I've learned? I was really afraid you were going to ask! Well, the short version is that I've learned that I am a wimp! I am short-sighted, I am easily distracted, and I am self-focused. Hey, come on, you asked! BUT...I am also learning over and over on a daily basis, that I have an incredible Abba Daddy who is always willing to forgive and never willing to give up on me.

And although I am not setting any world's records in regard to how quickly I'm learning, I am finding that when I become distracted by my own fragile ego it is taking less time to re-focus and "hear" the Holy Spirit's still, small voice. And His voice always says, "Focus on Me, my daughter. Remember that I love you - always. And I will help you see those you are struggling with through My eyes. Sweetheart, I love them like I love you and I want you to love them the way I do."

Do I need to be loved by the people I love? Yes, the plain truth is that I do need some of them to love me. We all do, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. That is the way God wired us. But because of the safety and security in Jesus' love for me, I can love people who don't love me back. Some days when my focus is more on myself than Jesus it can feel brutal. At other times I am filled with a longing, a literal ache, for the "hard to love" people in my life to realize and embrace the intensity of God's love for them. On those days God's Spirit whispers to my spirit, "Now you are learning what real love looks like."

"Still the prayer I had prayed nearly every day for over a decade remained: Jesus, let me love with Your love and see with Your eyes. Show me what it means to be the expression of Your heart to those around me. Because I knew more than ever that His love did indeed have a face: mine."
Michelle Perry from Love Has A Face