I asked to be a lover and I have experienced the most hateful attitudes ever since. It reminds me of the cliché but very true saying: “I asked God for strength and He gave me challenges….”
I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and God gave me brawn and brains to work.
I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for patience and God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.
I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities.
I asked for everything so I could enjoy life. Instead,
He gave me life so I could enjoy everything.
I received nothing I wanted, I received everything I needed.
Here I am, Lord!
I wanted to love His people. More than that – I wanted to be a messenger and conduit of His love for His people. I wanted to be the first to reach out to embrace the lost and fallen. Such a young Christian hope. Such a passionate display of my commitment to my Lord. Youth, hope, love – this combination gets many people in over their heads.
I didn’t comprehend the magnitude of what I was asking. I thought I was ready to love. I thought I was ready for love to work through me. I thought all I needed to do was be a willing vessel… remain open… offer myself – my humanity – and my resources… and give what is needed when it’s needed. I thought the resistance to love would only be temporary – so short term as to be unremarkable. I thought the ugliest rejection I would encounter would be “no, thank you.”
But those who resist love don’t say no, thank you. Some don’t say anything or respond in any type of way. Some resisters go out of their way to show you how little love means to them. They find a wound and pour salt in it. They create a weapon from affection and beat you down with it. They hide behind barriers while making accusations and other noises to belittle love and all its glory, effectively distracting the lover from their purpose – from becoming the person they asked to be. The resisters test the lover’s desire to be a true lover. Will the wannabe lover hit back? Will they hate back?
Beauty for ashes…
I asked to be a lover and God showed me so many expressions of hatred and resentment through the people He intersected my life with. People may need love but many don’t act like they want it. Many don’t know how to receive and embrace gentle care and concern.
I asked to be a lover and He gave me so many opportunities to be attacked and rejected. My personhood, my vibrancy, my sincerity were tested. My passion faded. My light dimmed. My determination wavered. My understanding was reconfigured.
Love is by no means easy. It’s not soft and fluffy. It’s not rosy and light. Love is an anchor. A foundation and a door. It’s stalwart, fearless, a transformer of life. It knows no time and it inhabits countless forms. Love is an expression of spirit, life and truth.
I asked to be a lover and I was remade. Beginning with new eyes, a new heart and new understanding. I am being transformed by the hand of God day by day.
The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts.
Your ways are not like my ways.
Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Rain and snow fall from the sky
and don’t return without watering the ground.
They cause the plants to sprout and grow,
making seeds for the farmer
and bread for the people.
The same thing is true of the words I speak.
They will not return to me empty.
They make the things happen that I want to happen,
and they succeed in doing what I send them to do.
“So you will go out with joy
and be led out in peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees in the fields will clap their hands.
Large cypress trees will grow where thorn bushes were.
Myrtle trees will grow where weeds were.
These things will be a reminder of the Lord’s promise,
and this reminder will never be destroyed.”
~ Isaiah 55:8-13, NCV