The Greatest of These Is Love


Love Never Ends

Yes, I am a work in progress. I never realized how far from the mark, I’ve really been. Well, if anyone thinks they have arrived….you haven’t! And the Lord will certainly show you that.

When I think of Love, I had a clouded understanding. I am learning that I wasn’t even close. Yet, I am getting there.The Lord tells us that we are going “from faith to faith and from glory to glory.” All I can say is; Be careful what you pray for!

I had forgotten prayers offered up, long ago. I let my suffering cloud my vision and the Lord allowed this as well. He has pruned me. A painful process to be sure, but necessary to bring forth the fruit of His spirit.

I doubt that many recognize this as it’s happening. Since it is a process, it is slowly happening as we live and try to walk as He desires us to walk.

Today, as I was praying, He spoke a word to my spirit. He pointed out an amazing concept. These things always seem to make sense and as if it’s something that we should already understand, yet, understanding and applying any principle, as you know, are worlds apart.

This is the word that the Lord had spoken today;

  • Grace, it opens the door to forgiveness
  • Forgiveness, it leads us down the road of love
  • Love, she sits on the throne of righteousness and she will make right every wrong

“Love covers a multitude of sins.”

I was mulling this over in my mind and was reminded of a few things in my life. I had thought of my childhood. I had already been devastated by the loss of my youngest brother, my parents divorce, and the loss of our home.

At this point I watched my mother deteriorate into an emaciated woman. I had no idea what was wrong with her, but I knew it was serious. As I watched her frame, whittle down to 94 pounds, I felt such incredible terror. I was helpless and felt if we just kept the house clean, she would be ok.

As she became more ill, it was clear that she needed medical attention. She finally checked herself into a hospital, as she secured a place with our neighbor. The woman had her own 5 or so kids to care for. In a small project home, we all crammed in. This woman had accepted us as her own and decided to go the distance. What an angel.

However, little did I know; my aunts had decided we belonged with family. They had a meeting and split us up. We went to various relatives.

At the time, I became ill and no wonder. The particular aunt I was with, did not like the idea of me and my brother being in her home, since she was extremely stressed out.

She was very impatient and especially given the fact that I was ill. She made cruel comments to me. The relatives had gotten together and decided we would all have to go. They placed us in The Children’s Home.

Traumatized once again, as I’m surer my siblings were. I felt so much anger toward the particular aunt that had me, that I couldn’t see ever having the ability to forgive her. After all, we were only children. I had an angel working in the Home. She was a nurse and she would rock me in a chair as I cried. I would say, “I’m never going to see my mom again.” and she would reassure me that I would be with her again. I remember Baby Love, by the Supremes, playing as I would rock in that chair. She gave me the love that a young child needed at that time. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that she offered her love to, but I felt special. The Lord used her to bring comfort to a host of hurting children.

My mother did recover and mostly because of the knowledge that her children had been placed in a home. To this day, I hate grapefruit juice and the smell of oatmeal, because it was the breakfast that we had been served, every morning.

Years later, after becoming a Christian, I began learning about forgiveness. Not having a complete understanding, I was about to have the lesson taught in another complete picture. A parable come to life.

I received a call from my aunt. The one that I was still holding in my anger cell. She had come to the state that I live in, on a quest for fun. She had spent all of her money, made her children angry enough that they would not speak to her, and now had a complete breakdown.

“Why call me?” I was still feeling the hurt and pain of childhood stinging my heart. “Serves her right,” I thought. I mean this is the same circumstance for her, except that she has alienated herself. As I spoke this, I was reminded by someone…”Do you think of all the places she could be in the world, it is a coincidence that she is 15 minutes away in a home?”

No, I agreed, this is an incredible coincidence. Which was painfully obvious that it was not a coincidence at all. God was moving His hand I supposed, but why? “Ok, I’ll go and see her. Whatever God wants.” But I sure wasn’t feelin the love.

As I walked into this place, I asked where my aunt was. “Oh, she’s having dinner in that room.” The gentleman pointed to a door with a small round window in it. As I approached, I saw through the portal. A mass of people at a table. I peered closer. Which one was my aunt? She was a striking woman who appeared younger than her age. Surely I would be able to pick her out of a crowd like this one. As I studied the faces of each person, I saw a woman who bore a resemblance, except for the fact that she was about 60 pounds heavier than my aunt and her hair was gray. My aunt had a beautiful head of red hair the last time I had seen her. The woman was eating very slowly and shaking while trying to bring the spoon to her mouth. The man came up alongside of me, as if he’d read my mind. “That is her.” All of a sudden a wave of emotions came over me. I started to cry. All these years of anger and to see it come full circle and the punishment I had so desired, had now given birth to compassion. “Lord, I don’t want this for her.” Now the Lord was beginning to show me that in all my anger, if I could have chosen a punishment, it probably would have been similar. Oh, how many times had I wanted her to experience my pain? My mother’s pain? And yet, now….I couldn’t bear the sight of this.

I went in to visit and all of my anger slipped away. It seem almost as if it had been a fire extinguished. It was as if the Lord had taken a hose from the water of life, and sprayed in one gushing shower. I felt a need to reach out to her. To help her. “Please remove this Lord. ” I felt myself asking for His mercy for her. That was about 20 years ago.

I had just visited her again. She has had a lot of hurt in her life, yet I will never feel anger toward her again. I have nothing but compassion. This was the gift that the Lord gave me. The forgiveness wasn’t for her, as much as it was for me.

Grace….it opens the door to forgiveness. Did she deserve it? Yes, if grace by its definition, is unmerited favor. We deserve it because we don’t deserve it. If that makes any sense to you.

I am at once aware of the meaning of my suffering. It is developing in me, the character of Christ. I am to be a reflection of Him. How foolish I have been. Staring me right in the face all along. The very things that had caused my pain, had also blinded me to what He has been trying to teach me.  And what is required of me  if I am to learn these lessons? He’s already told us. A baptism of fire. Suffering to the point of our death. Our death to ourselves. Our death to our desires, which is the opposite of what the world desires. So it is no longer me who lives, but Christ who lives in me.

I had thought of another picture. A beautiful picture and as I said, the Lord always speaks to us through what is natural. If we have eyes to see.

My friend Grace. I knew her when we were both in second grade. Right after coming through the trauma’s of my young life. I met Grace. She was perfect. She was the best at everything. Teachers pet. Best singer. Best athlete. Grace…was wonderful.

Grace was the one who delivered the news of my boyfriends death.

Grace became lost. She moved out of my life. I was searching for Grace on the streets of a city and her address didn’t exist.

The mire of this world, killed Grace. She died years ago as I was also falling into darkness. Sad that I couldn’t find Grace years earlier. I asked the Lord why? I had only heard of her demise, as I was leaving my hotel in this city. Why couldn’t I find Grace? I asked.  “It is in my time,” He reminded me. “One day, Grace will return to you.

Now, I am beginning to understand. Grace did not die. She is resurrecting…from the rubble of my life. And Grace now reigns in my heart.

The door swings wide open…all we have to do is walk through!♥

Advertisements