Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Trust. Hope. Love.

The Taylors put up a new post. Titled Road Trip! it includes some good pictures of the folks from my church including my wife. Lorie also includes some nice details about the Road Trip to South Africa. For example, she points out that they are focusing on the postures of submerging and listening. Click on this link for more information about the six postures of a leader at NieuCommunities. It was good to read that Chrisy and the group are focused on listening because listening to God has been my main goal since Chrisy left 11 days ago.

It's not always easy to be really seeking to hear God. It requires work. If I have heard God say anything to me it has been one word: Love. I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but it's been clearer than usual. It's been consistant too. Last Friday, it was John 13:34-35 that was talking to me. I wrote about that when I posted 26 Photos. Last night I was talking with my neighbor across the street and we were discussing this same topic.

More than anything, for the last two weeks really, I have been focused on 1 Corinthians 13. In particular, I've been reading what it says in The Message under the heading THE WAY OF LOVE. Even though it is common to hear this passage read at weddings and we've all heard it many times, I am blown away by Eugene H. Peterson's translation. Here's what it says:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

That's amazing. That's hard.

My favorite line from this translation ends the chapter. It says that we have three things that will carry us through this phase of our existence: "Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of these three is love."

All this certainly applies when one is trying to raise four kids and mom is in South Africa. For example, just for arguments sake, of course, say someone was thinking, "Good all the kids are in bed and now it's time for me to read or watch television," and, just then, one of the kids is back out of bed, and you start feeling really frustrated . . . . this just might apply and you just might hear the voice saying, "Love isn't always me first." Or maybe you just got a new box of cereal and you say to your son, "Let dad open that because I don't want the box destroyed," then you leave for 4 seconds to go get the milk and, when you return, you see that he's opened the box himself and the internal bag is ripped all the way down the side and cereal's falling out. Maybe just then you hear the voice say, "Love doesn't fly off the handle." Maybe you don't actually fly off the handle, but you want to love so well that you feel bad when you serve up an "I told you so" and you think, "Love always looks for the best."

I guess that's what God is really telling me: "Love is a choice, not a feeling." Then he asks me, "How are your choices today?"

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