Monday, December 28, 2015

Love Seeks to Trust

Dear Friends,

We need to thoroughly understand what the word trust means before we can proceed to trust those who continue to let us down. It may be there are those who have hurt one of our children or disrupted other relationships. We should know what we are shooting for as we work for love and unity.

The word that Paul uses here, pistuo, means “to rely on,” “to trust,” “to depend on.” It means to not be cynical or suspicious. We need to speak out of our love and not out of our hurt. Listen to yourself talking about the person who has hurt you. Are you speaking out of your hurt? Do you sound cynical or suspicious? Do you hear yourself saying, “What did he mean by that remark?” Suspicion kills love. Loving trust, on the other hand, gives the other another chance to hurt us all over again. This way love lets the perpetrator know: “I will trust you again.”

We get the best picture of what this means when we think of how God is so trustworthy. We can trust that He is always wanting love and unity among us, and He is actively engaged in making it happen. Love doesn’t only want unity; it actively tries to make it happen.

God is on our side. He is in our corner. He is active on our behalf, even when He appears to have His hands tied behind His back and His feet shackled. As we begin to build trust where it has been destroyed in a relationship that has gone bad, it may appear we are on our own, but this is not so. We need to hang on to faith when our best efforts seem to be in vain.

Have you ever asked, “God, just whose side are you on?” I have, many times, and we are not the first to pose that question to the Almighty. The psalmist asked the same question: “I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They aren’t troubled like other people or plagued with problems like everyone else” (Psalm 73:3-5).

Contrasting that to his own life at the moment, David complains, “Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure and kept myself from doing wrong? All I get is trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain” (Psalm 73:13-14). In other words, “What’s the good of my being good? Lord, whose side are you on?”

Yet as David goes to the temple to look for some answers to this universally asked question, he reminds himself that the wicked have their day coming. He decides he can trust God to sort it all out in the end. “But as for me,” he says, “how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do” (Psalm 73:28).

In other words, I am responsible only for my reactions, not for those of the wicked. It could be I will never see some things resolved this side of heaven, but I will live with this end in sight. I can determine to do my part, so I have no regrets that I didn’t give it my best shot.

Trusting God to put all wrongs right in our final future helps us to deal with ills allowed in our present now. It will be all right because God is on our side. It might not feel like it, and it might not look like it, but God is trustworthy! He can be my refuge now and will be my reward later. Meanwhile, I will believe that the person I am at odds with will respond to all the prayers that are being prayed on his or her behalf.

If we reflect the trustworthiness of God in our attitude, those we love who are hurting and struggling with failure and sin may make a beeline for the safe haven of our hearts. We can be a refuge for them. We may even do the same for the people who are close to us but have failed or hurt us.

In His Joy,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine

Monday, December 14, 2015

Loving When Your Heart is Broken

Dear Friends,

We have been told to love, for love is not an option.  We have been given by the Spirit the ability to love with agape love.  Patience is another name for love, for Paul explained that “love is patient.”  Therefore, as we work through our difficult relationships, we will need to be patient. The meaning of the word patience in Greek is “long-suffering” or “slow to anger.”  Love suffers because it is the nature of love to suffer.  Remember what C.S. Lewis said: “Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken!”  But there is no alternative.  We are not only called to love, we are also commanded to love.

Such love means loving not only when your heart is whole, but loving when your heart is broken.  It means loving when the person you are trying to love is continuously hurting you afresh.  Long-suffering means that love suffers well.  Being inordinately fond of myself, I don’t “do” pain very well.  In fact, I don’t do pain at all if I can help it!  Do you?  Who’s for pain?  The whole ethos of our society, as C.S. Lewis said, is to “embrace pleasure and eschew pain.”  It takes a radical act of God in our lives to so change our hearts that we are willing to embrace pain and eschew pleasure – to suffer for the sake of love!  Yet, if that’s what it takes to love someone, it must be done.

Patience is love waiting out a suffering situation.  If pain cannot be avoided, then pain must be accepted.  What we need to do is go with the pain and allow the pain to drive us to God.

Don’t waste the pain, let if prove thee.
Don’t stop the tears, let them cleanse thee.
Rest, stop the striving, soon you’ll be arriving in His arms.
Don’t waste the pain, let it drive you
Deeper into God.
He’s waiting – and you should have come sooner!

Let pain drive you toward God and not away from Him!  Once you are deeper into God, you will find a bigger capacity to love even those who cause you pain.

God is very good at loving people who hurt Him and are very hard to love.  When Jesus was frustrated with the disciples one time, he said to them, “How long must I suffer you?” (Matt. 17:17, KJV).   He then went on “suffering” them for a considerable time because He knew that this was God’s will for Him and He willed to do God’s will.  Long-suffering means being patient with an insufferable situation or person – even when you are hurting badly yourself – because it is the will of God.  It hurts terribly to love at times like that, but that is what agape love does.

How long does your patience last?  Does it last 120 years, 120 minutes, or 120 seconds?  To have the patience God wants us to have, we need Jesus.

Love waits well!  Don’t you just hate that? I hate waiting for anything, especially for a circumstance to change or a person to say she is sorry.  Patience loves on to give time for God’s redemptive power to do its work.  Love gives us the power to suffer long when we desperately want things to change.  Ask God to give you the patience you need and that your love will suffer well when your heart is breaking.


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine