Witnessing Love

November 26, 2008

What I am about to write is actually what motivated me to finally sit down and write my last, introductory post.

As I have been setting myself to behold God’s love and pursue the way of love in my own life, I was recently carried further in the journey by unexpected means. I had a unique opportunity to witness someone else choosing love in a profound way. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever witnessed that kind of love in this measure.

In seeing such incredible beauty, I naturally desire to declare the identity and the specific choices and actions of this one who so remarkably chose the most excellent way, that you might behold this beauty with me. But for more than one reason, I cannot do that.

Love does not parade itself… and I have not been given authority to expose it, either. There is also a facet of this love that finds beauty in it’s hiddenness and secrecy… the silent suffering and sacrifice that demands no acknowledgment or recognition.

Thus, I am going to be a little vague. (Nothing new to this blog.) And I am going to refer to this person using “he/him/his”, as I have done with past posts about anonymous individuals.

“He” might be a woman. And I’m really not worried about you guessing. The small handful of people who will know who I am talking about will find it blaringly obvious. I’m pretty sure the rest of you don’t even have a chance. If I were you, I wouldn’t waste my energy trying to guess who I am talking about and how I know about the choices they made.

And so it begins…Love is patient, long-suffering. And this one that I am describing truly suffered long. The pain was real and he did not waver. He stood, steady, in the midst of prolonged pain. Rather than numb his heart to the pain (choosing resignation and the kind of death that runs contrary to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life), he leaned into the Comforter. He kept his heart open and alive and let his pain be an escort into fellowship with God.

Obviously, I cannot see fully into this individual’s experience. I am not him, nor am I God. I do not know the full depth of the wound that was inflicted, and I do not know the full extent of the struggle that he faced. But I know that he suffered.

I also have not seen the full extent of the battle. I do not know how much he stumbled or how difficult it was to choose love at various points along the way. I know that it was not walked out perfectly. I know that it was not easy. I know that he surely failed along the way and had moments of weakness. But the Lord’s declaration over this individual is that he has loved well.

Loving when someone has wounded you is not easy. Loving when love is not reciprocated is painful. It wounds further. It hurts deeply. Loving when the one you are obediently choosing to love does not (and probably will not ever) recognize the pain you are feeling, the sacrifice you are making, and the death you are facing can be excruciating.

And he said yes to it. He endured the pain. He leaned into the Lord. And God matured love in him and gave him incredible strength that can be derived from no other source.

In the midst of injustice, rejection, wounding, and deep pain, he chose love. He showed kindness where he had not received kindness. He was extravagant in his kindness toward one who was completely undeserving.

This was a choice before the Lord that went mostly unseen. It was not publicly rewarded. It was not recognized. In part, it was not even received. Love was quiet… secret… a hidden choice that was not proud or boastful.

He did not push for his own rights or his own interest. He instead preferred this unworthy other where opportunity arose. He chose what would most help the unworthy one. Even when it was painful. Even when it was costly. He did not push for what was best for him. He did not dishonor, even when there was nothing deserving of honor.

Where there was occasion for envy, he chose instead to bless. He truly did not delight in evil but rejoiced with the truth. He chose wisdom and imitation of Christ. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. And he did. (Another translation says, “always protects”… also true.) He truly persevered!

I hardly know how to describe the impact that simply witnessing this love had upon me.

On one level, it was REALLY provoking and encouraging. He is just as weak as I am. He is just as human as I am. But he said yes to love and found the grace to persevere. God gave him all the strength he needed to love well.

But the impact went even beyond that. I was thinking about how undeserved it was. I was thinking about what a painful choice it was. I was thinking about how difficult it can be to love and how easily we can choose a lesser path. And I began to recognize it as one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

Beauty began to move me deeply. I was struck with revelation. This love is merely an imperfect picture. It falls so short of the love of God. It was just a small expression of what is perfect and pure in God’s love.

And suddenly my heart was getting turned completely inside-out. I was receiving God’s love in a way I never had before. It was impacting me profoundly, touching things in my heart that had never really been opened up to be touched before.

I was having a pretty bad week (have I mentioned lately that the Lord is really requiring love of me?), but I was carried to this place of receiving God’s strengthening, transforming love in a way that truly sustains and truly satisfies. (It didn’t stop my bad week, but it kept the pain from killing me.)

And all because a simple, weak man chose love. All because someone said yes to the invitation of the Lord and pursued the most excellent way. And God let me see it.


One comment

  1. Yashna beta,
    This is so precious. I won’t say much here, but that your heart is so full of love and understanding. I don’t get it all, but I feel your heart. May the Spirit of God guide you in your big news. I’m always here for you.
    You also have a place in my home, (free room and board) and in my heart forever.
    All my love.

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