I was inspired this morning to write about the most challenging task God has ever asked me to do. I was prepared to tell you about the time He asked me to pray for my enemy- the person who had caused so much grief in my life it was like living in the first ring of hell. It was difficult to process how this person had betrayed me and then made it his mission to exact a pound of flesh every day after he got what he wanted- a divorce that nullified seventeen years of marriage.
Upon opening up my Facebook page, there was a question, “Why should you pray for those who hurt you?” I immediately began to think about the time in 2013-2014 when God put it on my heart to pray for this person. I resisted at first and argued with God-more like myself-and, told God I would not offer up any prayers for this man. This man who betrayed my children and me.
I don’t know how many arguments you have won with God, but I didn’t win this one. I thought my prayers were for him to change- that somehow God would use those prayers to change his attitude towards us, and he would find his way back. The more I prayed, the meaner he became, and I wept and sobbed. But I prayed for him. I prayed for him in my heart when I saw him when we exchanged the children and their things. I prayed for him when he dropped off the kids at my house, prayed for him in the bathtub, prayed before bed, and prayed when I woke up. Nothing changed. Looking back, I can see that was not what God intended.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8,9.
While God may have wanted to deal with his heart, God also wanted to deal with mine.
You see, as I was white-knuckling it, trying to get through the days and nights as a single parent, as a single person- relying on my own strength, not the strength of God. The love of God was trying to change my heart, and I allowed it for a while. I became bitter when I didn’t see a change in him or our situation. I allowed the world to change my heart for God, I allowed my own wanting for something God did not wish for me anymore, and I allowed the door to slam on God’s love for me so that I could have something to be bitter about and to carry it on my sleeve for many years.
At times, I faked being a good Christian. God was not in my heart, and my heart was not full of love for others. I thought it would be found in the man I lost and I kept myself from others. Didn’t date, didn’t look for anyone else. Took care of my children and did all the things I was expected to do- except love God, allow Him to love me, and allow Him to love through me.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:7-12
This is what the pastor said the last 3 minutes during the Asbury, Kentucky revival that has largely been ignored by everyone except those on social media. Read it over and over again, let it sink in deep, write it down and let it be your revival.
“But what is the source of your love? Take a picture of this. If your source of love is white-knuckling it, trying really hard, or is it the love of God for you? What is the purpose of your love? Is to look good at chapel? Is it to look good at your family? Is it to get love in return and return from the person that you’re giving love to? That’s not this love we’re talking about. And who or what are you becoming through this expression of love? If you’re loving someone and not becoming more like Jesus in that love, then I would go and search what that love really is. You following? So some of us need to sit in the love of God. Some of us need to taste and see and experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Because if you want to become love, if you really want to become love in action, you start by prostrating yourself before the love of God. If you want to become love in action, then you have to experience the love of God. Are you convinced? We can’t do those 30 commands? You can’t earn your way to Heaven. You can’t blow people’s hair back by your love and your leadership. You have to experience the love of Christ in your life. Seniors, I’m listening to you. I’m talking to you right now. Do not graduate here and think you’re going to do all this stuff in your own strength. Do not leave here. You got three months left. Do not leave here before you learn about the love of God. Experience the love of God so you can pour it out.Pour it out. Pour it out, and He will fill you back up. Asbury. The world needs this kind of love. Needs it. Syria and Turkey needs this kind of love. Your mom and dad need this kind of love. The teammates on your team. The people on your floor. Wilmore, Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky. The United States needs this kind of love. They need a bunch of Christians experience the love of God so they can pour out the love of God. Not through their own efforts and not through their own knowledge, but because they are filled with His love. Amen? You can tell I take this serious. I pray that this sits on you guys like an itchy sweater. You gotta itch, you gotta take care of it. So experience His love. Become the love of God by experience(ing) the love of God. Amen.”