Friday, September 17, 2010

God's Amazing Love... Africa, Part 6

I'm just curious, do you have any idea how much God loves you?  Scripture is full of beautiful verses that tell us that, but sometimes it is so hard to get truths of the Bible to move from the head to the heart.  For some reason, the depth of God's love for me has been one of those things that has been so hard for me to really get...  to really receive and live in the truth of it. 

On our last full day in Swaziland, we went on a safari...  It was supposed to be a fun day, but I was filled with an overwhelming sadness that we were leaving the next day.  I just couldn't shake it...  I fought tears all day long...  I just wanted to put my earphones in, close my eyes and lose myself in the music of Chris Tomlin...

As we were leaving the safari that day, we passed a market area where lots of people were going about their daily routine and I was filled with such an overwhelming love for the Swazi people that I almost couldn't bear it.  It caught me completely by surprise...  I've never experienced anything like that on my previous trips.

I thought, this is CRAZY...  How can I love people that I don't even know?  How can feel this kind of love for people that I don't even really like their ways much of the time?  I hate that they ask for money...  I don't like feeling like a vending machine...  I can't stand always wondering what their motives might be...

So I said, "Lord, how can I possibly feel this way?"

And from somewhere deep in my heart...  Not an audible voice, but a gentle whisper that was clearly not my own thought, said, "Now you know what My love is for you is like."

It took my breath away...  Because I understood in that moment that the love I was feeling for the Swazi people could only come from God, so that had to mean that I was tasting what His love for me was really like...  Only His love for me, for each one of us, is exponentially greater because His love is pure and perfect love. 

I can't even begin to describe what a gift that moment was...  I believe that for obedience to characterize our lives, it is essential to immerse ourselves in the love of God.  Yes, we can obey Him out of duty and obligation, but obedience that flows from a willing heart is what He longs for...  I've said this before, but Hosea 2:16 says, "'In that day,' says the LORD, 'you will call Me 'my Husband;' you will no longer call Me 'my Master.'"  That is a beautiful picture of obedience that flows from a love relationship!

God has blessed my heart in so many ways on these trips to Africa, but I have to say that that was the greatest gift of all!


Naomi said...

You are reminding me once again of that specific word that God spoke through you earlier this year in Hosea. I know that through all the difficulties we are going through, that this is exactly what God is wanting to do in my heart and my husbands. I know I have not the love you speak of but how desperately I want it. Oh I hope that I am a step nearer to be loving the way God wants me to!

You are such a blessing,


Jen said...

Hope things are going well for you and your family. I've missed reading your sweet words lately!