“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
I was standing on top of a map of the United States. Thick, dark lines criss-crossed the expanse of the nation, and I understood them to be the paths I would one day sojourn. Suddenly, I was inside this map, standing at a four-way crossroads. A wave of sorrow unexpectedly filled my being and I began to cry deep, guttural sobs, until I finally thought to ask the Lord for some relief. Kneeling in the middle of the dirt intersection that was already soaking up my tears, I stood, forcing my eyes to squint and focus in a cloudless midday.
The signs at each of the intersections were the old fashioned wooden sort, each shaped in the form of an arrow, bleached and cracked from a strong southwest sun I somehow knew I was enduring.
I turned east and saw a sign that read “CHURCH” pointing in the direction of the road which could be seen stretching toward an arid, sparse horizon. I slowly looked toward the westward road, and saw its road-sign pointing in the opposite direction.
“LOVE” it read.
And so it was that as I was pondering this dream all day while running errands, that I asked the Lord to give me a greater revelation of His love for me. More than that, I asked to see those that I might meet through my Father’s eyes, and above all… with Father’s heart.
It was a long day.
I was weary. The sun was now fading, and thoughts turned toward both my wife’s comforting smile, and the joyful embrace of my three children who, without exception, would race to beat each other down the hallway to enter into my arms.
Turning to leave the auto-parts store, I saw a mother and her grown daughter sitting in a car next to mine. In the backseat, a baby boy looked deeply into my eyes. His name was Evan… and Evan needed someone to intervene on his behalf.
As often occurs, a faint, soft and gentle song in my spirit could be heard, and I began to feel their hearts. The Lord of the Dance was in motion. He was asking if I would enter in.
Then… I saw. The pain of a 5 year old, lying in a muddy mess on a dirt driveway, staring up at a dad who spat curses down on him with a demonically-inspired and equally contorted face. I saw that same 5 year old, now filling the clothes of a man, himself a father. Still just as muddy, but now with a dirt that can only wash off one way. He was without love. Without reconciliation. I also saw the wounding of a mother. One having never received from her own what was needed. A child… born into all that brokenness. I saw little Evan raising his own family, passing on the one thing he intuitively was able to believe. An endless circle, and a family that long ago lost track of what generation first began to draw it… and that circle would continue. Around and around…. without end.
So… I entered in.
“I am usually not so direct, so forgive me… but I have a relationship with my Heavenly-Father. Your baby. Would you be offended if I just prayed and asked for the love of Jesus to guard his heart and minister peace and healing to him. I know that sounds odd. I’d like to pray for his father as well. Actually, may I pray for all of you?”
At that, mother and daughter looked at each other, and began to cry. The daughter buried her head.
They spoke to me about the child’s father, about the abuse. They spoke of fear and pain and of an uncertain future. They spoke. They spoke to a complete stranger. They spoke to a “neighbor.” They didn’t need to though. Dad was already showing me how much He was interested in this family.
I touched the grandmother’s shoulder as tears streamed down my face. Holding out my index finger, I silently motioned for them to just give me a moment. Then, clearing my throat, I prayed. I introduced them to my Lord, the God of peace, and miracles and restoration.
I find many emotions stir within me as I receive the different feedback from the Body when I choose to rarely share my interactions with Dad’s lost. I will get a varied degree of affirmation and “likes” depending on whether I am talking about loss, brokenness, suffering, healing, dreams, intercession etc…This makes sense, I suppose. We all have our areas we relate most to our own walk with Father-God.
But… the common denominator in any and all topics that genuinely touch His heart though, must be love. If we cannot see Love in every facet of what He is doing, we need to press in further to His heart.
“Because of the increase of wickedness,
the love of most will grow cold,”
The Church no longer talks much about how to grow in our intimacy with Him. Oh, we do talk about many things these days that have a form of intimacy, but true union is reflected in our life emanating with the abiding nature of Jesus Christ flowing through us. Is this really the motive behind so many of our discussions…?
We live in a generation where the wickedness of the lost (who need the Church) has infiltrated the body of Christ to such a degree we have become overrun by their own demonic and dead mindsets. We have allowed ourselves to be wounded by other Christians. We slander and are slandered. We talk only of what is wrong. We seek to be entertained. We seek to find worth in signs and wonders and power… or in our own pain.
The Lord is calling His church to enter into an intimacy that heals all wounds, forgives all offenses, thinks the best, motivates to holiness, and reaches down to snatch those from the fire. We can only do this as an outflow of His love flowing from within us. If we are more in touch with our own grief and sorrow and loneliness and the ways we have been wronged by other “Christians” we need to cry out for a greater revelation of His love for us. If we are seeking to find worth in spiritual encounters, visitations, or some new, exciting expression of the kingdom more than seeking intimacy in Him for the sake of His desire to commune with us… we have forsaken our First Love. The generational fallout is, we are not much capable of loving as He loves- our family, our “neighbors”, our harvest fields….
In short… pray for me, those who would care to. Pray that I may know Him. If I have ever touched any of your hearts… as we all should, I ask you lift me up in prayer, that I will not falter in my desire to grasp how wide and deep is His love for me… and for His church… and His lost.
As for my prayers? Shall we not all seek to know His love; to experience the Hand of God Himself touch us and water the soil of our soul? Each passing encounter, if we allow it, will drive the nails of His love deeper and deeper into our own being. Do we not realize the crucifixion was Love? The same love that fastened His Son will allow us, if we yield, to finally enter into that same crucifixion. That we may live as He lives eternally. A vessel of holiness and love. A vessel that gives the kingdom as Jesus did.
“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus,‘And who is my neighbor?'”
These small experiences I share are not about me. None of this is about me. It’s about the Love of our Lord. It’s about Him. It is all… about Him…and His love that fuels every desire that is on His heart.
Happy Holy Days, Family (such as they may be found)