Saturday, March 16, 2013

Compassionate Love That Unveils Peace

There are a lot of life changes happening to me in my life, and it seems recently that something new happens every day - whether it be good or bad - to me or to someone very close to me.  My natural instinct is to worry and think ahead into the future of what "could" happen if "such and such" doesn't go as planned.

Recently, I listened to a podcast by Joel Thomas out of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia about worry to which he reminded me with clarity that "God is not sitting up in Heaven worrying about what's going to happen next in our lives.  He already knows the outcome.  God's not stressed out.  He's not worrying about the things we worry about.  It's not that He doesn't care, He just doesn't worry."  This gave me an almost immediate peace to just let everything that seems questionable or stuff I worry about to Him.  He knows the outcome in the end, so let me throw all my cares and worries onto Him.

I've had to self reflect on what the root of my worries and fears are.  It's hard to really dig deep on what's those fears were.  At first, I really didn't want to talk about it.  I didn't want to think about it or process it. But as I began to share openly what I was struggling with, I realized that people understood.  I know that the peace of God transcends all understandings and guards my heart and mind.  This peace will help me entrust everything to Him.  I now begun to tell God what I'm really worried about, what I'm struggling with, or my uncertainties.  I tell Him what's hurting, what scares me, and what I'm afraid of.  Some prayers, I'm not even certain if I'm allowed to pray ... but I do.  Prayers like, "Am I good enough?"  "What's wrong with me?"  "Why can't I make this work?"  "When will this be over?"  But as I give those worries over to God, a peace begins to whoosh over me.  It's not always immediate, but God always moves towards us when we seek Him.

About a year ago, I felt a sense of vulnerability that I always wished I could feel without being afraid.  I had always wished I was one of those people who could show my authentic self to the world and still be able to look you in the eye, after I let you see me, without quivering in shame or regret.  

Not too long ago, I shared my feelings with someone who I deeply love. This was one of the hardest, scariest things I’ve ever done, but it gave me the freedom to be vulnerable and to finally have a heart that’s ready to let love in.  After having done this with this person and the honesty being returned, it has allowed us to have a deeper friendship with no barriers and know that the other is truly praying for the other.

Loving this person has taught me so much about love, forgiveness, and acceptance. 

This week, God threw the doors wide open to me on some intimate things he's dealing with in life, and an overwhelming, deep compassion came over me for him.  As I answered the phone call and the situation he is dealing with was painfully being spoken with his voice emitting exhaustion, my heart sunk and this rush of deep, deep love enveloped my heart towards him. I wanted to take this mess away from him.  I wanted to do something to help.  I wanted to just say, "it's not real, it's not happening, and you're better than this."  But the reality is that it is real and it is happening.  It breaks my heart when bad things happen to good people, especially people like him.  He is such a good person.  He doesn't deserve any of this (not that anyone does, but this is someone significantly close to me).  Instead of being rewarded for being a great person, a great employee, a great dad, a wonderful friend, etc, he's being manipulated, taken advantage of, having false accusations against him, having his time taken away from him and his children, and stripped of everything - everything - he has.  And it continues on and on.  This.  Breaks.  My.  Heart.

I haven't felt this deep of compassion in quite some time.  It's a feeling that you don't forget because it's deep within your spirit and soul, and it's a feeling that deepens my prayer life.  It's a feeling of just wanting to sit in silence and hold the person as they cry while you pray over them in your spirit.  This compassion is something that can't be shaken easily or let go of the next day.  It's a deep love that runs deeper than the oceans depths.  It's a love that wants to say, "Do not let the devil steal your joy.  Do not let him have the upper hand.  Do. Not. Give. Up."

In that moment, I began to feel compassion because I know that you hurt, just like me, and you feel joy, just like me. You worry and feel scared sometimes, just like me. You have bad days, just like me, and you have amazing days, just like me. You are seeking, just like me. You want to believe in love, just like me.  This realization has allowed me to continue loving even when it isn’t returned to me in the exact way I initially wanted it.

True love, after all, is to love someone and expect nothing in return.

The gift of compassion that God gave me can totally take over my soul when it is deep like this.  But I know that the act of compassion can only be followed by love, faith, and prayer.  I know God has the final outcome already in place, and in the end, God wins anyway!  

If you're experiencing pain, hurt, anger, fear, or questioning whether you're good enough, worth it, or valuable, know that God is right there beside you.  He knows the plans for your life, and He does not wish to hurt you, but to prosper you and bring you peace.  Hold tight to that verse (Jeremiah 29:11).

Here are a few of my favorite songs.  One of my favorite singers is Martha Munizzi.  Listen to her sing this amazing song, and may it bring you peace, hope, and strength.

Another good friend of mine, Morris Chapman, singing, "I Know the Plans" at Saddleback Church.  His authenticity for worship is incomparable.


And one of my favorite songs/reminders by one of my mentors and friend, Alva Copeland.  Her life emits Jesus.

Lastly, I'm reminded of a beautiful song I played for many years on the violin in church.  "As the Deer."

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