This is my gallery wall where I am collecting the faces of the people I love. I’ve been thinking on what keeps me loving them and what keeps them loving me.
There is a certain smallness in the knowing that the souls of the ones I love are out of my hands. Do you feel it too? It’s a gift isn’t it – to know our people and love them and hopefully to shed some bit of hope on their life with our own.
Sometimes it’s hard to be content there though, the hardest kind of contentment. Because I feel like I’m not enough – not enough for the people I love.
There is a beauty inside our people that we went to see flourish.
Lynne Lorentsen, a writer who’s words I love, said these words that have stuck with me. “We are all eternal souls. Every person you meet will live on long past their circumstances. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.(I Cor 15:19) This is not all we are, life trapped in a jar, and I do not love people to gain worth. I love because people are full of worth. And worthful people will never go away.”
Those words touch the same place as words that were said at our churches missions conference. I think it was Vanessa who said the words that brought tears. She was talking about the bus driver who knocked on her door every week for years, the man God used to bring her back to Himself. “He loved me not for who I was or what I was, but for what God could make me.”
At the time, I really wanted for someone to tell me why I was crying like I was. But I think this is it. I think this is what keeps us loving our people through the good, bad and ugly – the knowing that God has made beauty inside them that wants to come out.
Maybe it’s why people love me through my ugly.
God has given it to me to be responsible for letting His beauty come out of me. That is the very thing He has given me to bear. Perhaps you could say that is my load. (“For each one shall bear his own load.” Gal. 6:5) Perhaps letting the beauty come through in all the good and bad I see in life is what I bear in the yolk with Christ. (Mt. 11:29-30)
And here is this other side of that verse that can feel small sometimes – each one bearing his own load. It speaks of “the responsibility each person has in those troubles…” (Reference) I am responsible for living through those troubles in Christ. And the people I love are responsible for bearing their own troubles in Christ.
And as if I know what’s best in this great big world, sometimes I say that’s not right. As if I’m God, I say I need to be bearing that person’s load too. But God knows better, and despite my big-headedness He still gives me this small part to play. “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2) This speaks of “helping one another through troubles.” (Reference.) These are the things I can do and there is one thing in all of it that is key… Because I can be present with my people. I can pray. I can help meet their physical needs. But it’s when I do these things in faith that God uses them. Do I live and think from the faith that God is in control of their story? It is here in this faith that God’s grace pours out of me onto them. This is the part I am given to play and it is a beautiful gift.
I am not given to bear anyone’s load but my own and that is for the better. Because God has a better plan. Marsha said it in our ladies group last week… That the story might not turn out how I want it too, but I can trust that God writes better stories than me.
The best gift I can give to the people I love is to trust God with their story while I walk with them through their troubles. When I live from the faith of knowing their story is in His hands, the beauty God has made in me will come out as He intended – to do whatever He has for it to do in them.
Today may we love our people with the peace that God knows exactly what He’s doing with them. May we be thankful for the part we are given to play in their life. And may we rest in the One who can write this story so much better than we can.
For today may we find the place to sit with our people and be present with them in their troubles. And may we do it with a love that is propelled with faith in what God is doing with their life.