Sunday, February 9, 2014

then AND now

This week I found my memory taking me back to the fall of 1976. My Honey and I were living in the Swiss Alps, part of the L'Abri community. It's the time I say my faith developed teeth. 

I told Barry Seagren, our host and tutor, that I wanted to learn about the biblical view of women, and the person and work of the Holy Spirit. He assigned me a variety of lectures to listen to and books to read. I got busy. 

Little did I know that at my seat around various tables and in Farel House God would reveal a deep-seated, life-long weakness. 

To address it I undertook a major study on love; reading, reviewing, meditating on, and praying over every reference to the word (love, loved, loves, loving) in any concordance I could find. 

These were the days way before online search engines. The exercise took a lot of time and energy, intentionality and diligence. It was the first time I'd been enveloped so fully in the Truth of Scripture.

God met me in His perfect timing, wrapped me in His arms, and taught me what I needed to know. The key element was His basic identity.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."  
1 John 4:8

To this basic fact my gracious Father added a host of others to weave a tender yet sturdy cocoon to encase my hurting heart and broken identity in His enduring embrace. To keep the most crucial Truths in the forefront of my mind I noted them on a bookmark and placed it in my Bible. It stayed there, reminding and sustaining me, for many, many years. 

I've shared that practical idea with a lot of people over the years. But, I have to admit, I don't know where my own example has gone. And maybe that's part of why I am where I am today. 

Life gets busy. Important information gets forgotten. 

Support systems dwindle. Weaknesses reappear.

This time around I recognize the need to identify my feelings, share them with my Father, turn to His Word for sustenance, and bask in the Truth. I'm starting over and think another bookmark may be in order. If so, I've already chosen the verse that will be at the top of my new list.

"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'"  Mark 3:17 

When Jesus was merely moving away from being baptized the Holy Spirit came to Him. Before the Messiah performed one single healing the Father announced the intimacy of their Father-Son relationship. Without the Great Physician accomplishing any miracles at all God Almighty declared His love for Him. Though the Shepherd had yet to rescue even one sheep I AM revealed the pleasure He gained in His existence. 

Yes, this is the Father's love for the Son. But remember, God is love. Love is one of the Father's attributes. Love is who God is. Love is what God does. 

I want to 

  • appreciate
  • relish
  • delight
  • savor
  • revel
  • drench
  • luxuriate
  • soak
  • bathe

in this all-consuming love.

It is that foundation that allows . . . no, that causes me to surrender to the Father and welcome His will with joyful abandon, to understand and enjoy the unique way He made me, and to fulfill the purpose He has for my life.

What are you immersed in today? 

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