This is not the time for me to be lavishing myself with an update to the blog! Seminary reading and papers await my attention, and I have much preparation to do before my trip to St. Petersburg this week where I will be teaching 2 groups on prayer ministry and healing. It has clearly been a time of “unplugging” these past few months – barely online at all, and with absolutely no thought about this blog. But this morning, after walking Isabel to school, it occurred to me that checking in and connecting with dear friends and family back in the U.S., most of whom I’ve not seen in months or years, is not only a wonderful way to let folks know how we are, but it is simply good for my soul.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” Luke 6:27
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
I have a confession to make as your missionary, representing you all here in Europe – sent here to spread the gospel of the love of Jesus Christ, to tear down in His name the powers of sin and death and to seek the advancement of His Kingdom, rooted and established in His perfect, unfailing love.
I am failing.
I am so sorry to confess that even still, after all that I have seen the Lord do – seeing clearly time and time again that His love is all-powerful, and that I too am called to love Him and my neighbors with all of my heart – I am not getting it done. I am still relying on my works to save me. I am still seeking to earn the praise and approval of man in the things I am doing. I am still dependent on material things and my own wisdom and ability to provide for me and my children. I still do not trust God with everything in my life, even rebelling and rejecting His standing offer of redeeming love and peace and joy in my life and my family.
And the worst of all of this is that even still, I do not know how to love. Maybe I know how to love the stranger on the street who asks for some money. Maybe I know how to love the nameless masses of suffering people I observe as I travel or turn on the news.
But what about the people in my life every day? What about the people in my home? Why is the compassion and grace and forgiveness and unconditional acceptance and humility that the Lord so wonderfully lavishes on me still so clearly missing in those relationships?
Why can’t I just learn how to love as Jesus loves?
I still prefer anonymity over being honest and vulnerable to the people around me – that is how I prefer to serve. I want to see the people around me change and become the people I think they should be. I want to see buildings built and large crowds testifying about how wonderful I am and how great are the works the Lord has done through me. I am not satisfied with the daily chores the Lord has given me, which is according to His perfect will. I am not satisfied with simply loving and accepting the people around me.
I am not satisfied with simply knowing my God – God Almighty who created me and all of the universe. And I know this can only mean that truly, I do not yet know Him.
But I do know that I am looking for Him, I truly am. I am looking for Him now more than I ever have in my life, this I can confirm. And I can say that I believe His word in Jeremiah 29:13-14, when He says: “’You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD..”
So I ask, sincerely, that you continue to lift us up in your prayers as often as you can. Pray that the Lord will continue to pour Himself into our lives, and teach us truly how to love.
Thank you all very much for the great blessing you have given us for the privilege to do this work in this place full-time, and to be able to seek to comprehend how great is the unfailing love of our God.