Love is Between the Trees

My heart is overflowing beyond the ability of articulation with thoughts of God and man.
And life and love.

These long drives to work have been such a grace in this season. The Lord reminded me this morning that some of the best prayer times that we’ve had have been on the way to the office downtown last year. He told me this morning that He loved that time so much, He wanted me driving that every day.

What a treat to feel loved and to know my circumstances are engineered in love and kindness.

Lately, I’ll drive and pray and the Holy Spirit will bring revelation – because that’s just what He does, which I’m figuring out is SO much FUN! – and since I have so much going on in my head that I have to get out before I forget, I’ll end up recording this revelation. This basically turns into several minutes of me preaching to myself and encouraging my heart with fresh, timely sustenance from Heaven.

This was last week.

“I heard Him say,

“Are you surprised?

Are you surprised by your capacity of sin and evil and confusion and frustration? Are you surprised by that?”

Because He’s not.

How much do I take for granted, the fact that I even feel joy and peace at times? Goodness is really just the grace of God on my life and the kindness of God that He allows me to feel joy or comfort or anything good at all. There’s nothing good in me apart from Him. And I’ve seen so clearly that without the life and light of the Holy Spirit shining on my heart, I’m dark and lost, and completely unlovely.

This gets me thinking that maybe there’s more of Heaven on Earth than I think. If I can feel such joy and delight here in a world that is full of evil by nature, then how obvious is it that the Holy Spirit is moving? I’ve always thought that life on earth must be so close to hell, but it’s really not.

Heaven is on Earth!
There is joy and there is peace in the land.
And there’s hope.
And there’s encouragement.
And there’s creativity.
And there’s relationship.
And there’s excitement.

These things don’t exist in Hell.
But they exist here.

Heaven has come to Earth in increasing measure.

Thank God.
The Kingdom is here and is IS violently taking the kingdom of darkness by force and will continue to do so until Jesus gets His full reward. It’s breaking out all over the Earth, bit by bit.

The Kingdom of God is exploding all over the Earth, and Jesus is coming back.

And that’s why I like New Year’s better than Christmas.”

In light of that, I’m seeing – even more – the great parallel of love between God and man. And I’m seeing that my capacity for love is so significant because of my capacity for evil. The very fact that I choose love is weighed by my opportunity to reject love.

It’s the “YES” to love that is so moving.
It’s the choice.

Over pizza and beer last week, after playing outside in the snow and loudly singing Christmas carols, we discussed wether we believed that there was only one person meant for the other. What a beautifully romantic and fanciful idea. I think I inwardly swooned at the thought of it, but I wasn’t surrounded by agreeing company. My friend told me, “That’s why relationships are such hard work because you could marry someone else. You could find someone who looked better or treated you better, etc. But that’s not the point. It’s commitment. Marriage is commitment and love is a choice.”

He was right.
His words instantly reminded me of the best teaching on marriage that I’ve ever heard. In the message, the man talks about how him and his wife, now paralyzed from the neck down, are still married despite the assumption that he would “move on” after her accident. He talks about marriage being the physical representation of the love of God for the church and the fact that Jesus’ call on His life was to love; to lay His life down for His bride. In the same way, his call is to lay his life down for his bride. This chosen love is not dependent on whether the bride meets his expectations or desires, or even if she loves him back, this love is a choice, and it’s a call.

The call of God on a husband’s life is to love his wife.
And he gets to choose whether he’ll walk in that way.
Every time.

This all got me thinking that relationship just brings out the best and the worst in you. There’s this pressure and this sharpening that comes from being together in spirit and the constant intersection you find yourself at with the opportunity to choose yourself of the other. Still, it’s the call of God on my life to LOVE; to choose love. And we keep choosing and we keep loving because love – real, true, full, overflowing love – and being loved in return is worth it.

A few days later I’m listening to our friend tell us about his last relationship and just the general challenges of living and loving.
I can still, so clearly, hear him say, “Love really is risk vs. reward“.

That phrase “hit the nail on the head” for me because I realized we keep going back, we keep choosing love, we keep loving – despite the struggle and the ugliness the intimacy reveals – because it’s worth it.
It’s worth it.

You are worth it ALL.

Next thing I know I’m in Kansas City for Onething listening to Misty Edwards sing,

Don’t give up.
Don’t give in.
If you don’t quit, you win.
You win.

He’s gonna turn it all around, just wait and see.
He’s gonna make everything beautiful, just in time.

Relationships make me crazy.
Love makes me so much more aware of my need and brokenness.
But it’s worth it all…

And in the meantime I’m thankful that I’m learning and loving with the most gracious and kind man I know.
Thank God.

 

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