"If you don't love somebody, it gets annoying when they tell you what to do or what to feel. When you love them you get pleasure from their pleasure, and it makes it easy to serve. I didn't love God because I didn't know God." Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
Night creeps silently in and scoops us into it's arms as the air becomes crisp. I grin quietly into the dark as two fuzzy-headed little boys nestle closely to my sides to warm themselves. It isn't often that I find them so still. I bend my nose to their heads and take in the sweet remnants of play on their skin. Little is spoken, so I revel instead at the beauty of the sunset which draws us near in the back seat of our truck. Jasmine bids its goodnight as it dances through the air. A love like that, a heart just swells and grows; could just explode out of the chest. All seems right in the world.
"I didn't love God because I didn't know God," he says. Do any of us really?
The idyllic scene I just described, it resulted from my frustration at their fighting. I warned them, as any tired but determined parent would, that they had one more chance to treat each another kindly before I planned to squeeze my hips right between their car seats. There they sat just minutes before that beautiful scene, words like "poopy head" and "stoop" (preschool slang for stupid), flying through the air like well-directed daggers, sibling rivalry at its finest.
In this messed up, twisted world, it seems as though many of us, at a variety of ages, struggle just as much as my own three and six-year-old "poopy heads" did that night. Words like radical, zealot, false teacher, racist, cheater, and bigot are tossed about slanders with little to no thought for the humans behind the labels. With pointed fingers we draw attention to the sins of the world and the mistakes of the people we call our church with no recognition of how blind we actually are as individuals. Maybe that way, nobody will notice our own shortcomings.
Judgement is really just old-as-time sibling rivalry, isn't it? Rachel and Leah, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, they just wanted to be better than one another too. Closer to God, "blessed", "rewarded". In our human nature, don't we all?
But tight in my arms, peace overtook those little boys, realizing how much love a mama's heart could hold...well enough for two. It wasn't until they felt the warmth against their chests, near to the one who loved them, that they leaned in; that they stopped competing. It was then that they were able to listen, simply because of the comfort of their mama's presence.
Do we understand that God has well-enough room?
Do we grasp that when we lean in, when we really lean in, all the rest of the world fades away in His presence? It's only in that place that we find the strength to pray for an enemy or the courage to forgive a loved one. It's in the overwhelming peace that we bask. Jealousy, worry, rivalry; it all melts off the soul with the warmth of His nearness, the truth of His word, and His acceptance leaving hearts with teeming love.
Tomorrow and for weeks to come, God's sons and daughters, our own brothers and sisters, will filter through the doors of gathering places all across this gorgeous, green earth. His creation who has yet to know His love, their eyes are about to become wide-eyed and curious about a God they may know only from tales told to them a long time ago. Can we remember to stick close to His side above all else?
Because, "When you love them you get pleasure from their pleasure, and it makes it easy to serve."
Praying that many, many will come to love our God who sent His son to make death a fool for us...for ALL of us. In Jesus' name I pray,
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
"...Who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of His hands? Job 34:19
"For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Photo Credit: Peter Forss and KienDo, Unsplash
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.