Thursday, March 17, 2016

Strong Love

We live in a world where we are bombarded by messages of what life should be like, messages of what love should be like.  My husband and I have this running joke when commercials come on, which of us can be the first to recognize perfume ads.  They are AWFUL!  As if you will look like the models and have huge muscular guys surround you if you wear their fragrance.  And they are so ethereal!

This love the world portrays is weak.  It is a love based on temporal things, based on carnal sensibilities.  It's reflected as blingy glitz and glitter.  A Surface love without depth. We often think this is the kind of love we need to pursue.  Yet we often buy into what they are portraying, then feel the sting when disappointment hits.  When we are unfulfilled by the weak love. 

That love isn't Truth.

Red_telephone_box,_St_Paul's_Cathedral,_London,_England,_GB,_IMG_5182_edit.jpgLast night I was in a worship service and the presence of God was so sweet.  Sometimes it is difficult for me to worship because of distractions.  I am on staff at my church, so I notice things that need to be done, or things that aren't happening that I know should.  I'm around 'worship' a lot, allowing myself to be fully immersed and worshipping does not happen as often as it should.  Thankfully I remember song lyrics pretty well so I can close my eyes and still sing along.  Sometimes I have to do this little trick that that came to me many years ago - If I'm feeling distracted, I imagine that I'm in a phone booth.  The kind of booth you'd find in London, the red box where you shut the door.  I know it sounds silly, but it works for me.  My mind stops thinking about who is sitting around me, what may be going on, and focuses on worshipping the One who created me.  There is no top on my phone booth - communication can go two ways unhindered.
Back to last night's service, I had gone into my phone booth.  I was totally immersed in the presence of the Lord.   While worshipping, I had this image of the Lord holding me in His arms. He just came up behind me and wrapped these huge, loving arms around me. As I began dwelling on how strong His love is, I could feel His strength and the reassurance that brings.

Don't we all need that?  I know that I do.  To be reminded of that strong love, real love, God has given to us through Christ.  The strong love that Christ has for us.

Love like a hurricane.jpg

I hear the John Mark McMillan song in my head, "How He Loves Us" -

"He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.  When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me..... Oh, how He loves us so, Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us so..."
I know others have changed the lyrics to make them more palatable for the masses, but I like the rawness of John Mark's original lyrics to verse 2:
"We are His portion and He is our prize.  Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes, if grace is an ocean we're all sinking.  So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside my chest, and I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way... He loves me..."
Christ loves me, He loves you, not with some weak far off kind of a love, but a strong, personal, intimate love.  A love that took Him to the point of death for me.  A love that, as it says in Song of Solomon, its jealousy unyielding as the grave, like a mighty flame.
How many people have been sold the weak love of the world?  How many people are settling for that weak love instead of the strong love available to us? 

Don't many people buy into the weak version of love because they don't realize the strong love can be a reality?  How many of us live out of that strong love we've been given?  Our relationships here on earth, our spouses, friendships, family relationships can and should reflect that strong love.  They don't have to be based in the weak, temporal love society tells us is so blingy.

That is my challenge to myself in this season.  To be immersed in that strong love to the point that I live like it.  I'm not completely sure what that looks like, but that's where the adventure comes in.  This is the love that lasts, the love that satisfies, the love that cannot be quenched.
Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. -1 Corinthians 13:7

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