When I prayed about today’s sermon, I felt that God spoke to word “love” to me. I asked Him to elaborate. I asked, “God, what about “love” do you want to speak to your people today? What do you want them to know, what do you want them to feel, what do you want them to experience and receive about love at the Shabbat sermon?” I felt him reply, “I want my girls, my daughters at CARE to remember and know how much I love them, that nothing can stand in the way of my love for them, and that I want them to experience my love”.
Love is an experience and a reality. Love is something that needs to be known by both the left brain and the right brain. It is not an abstraction or a mere song (although of course, love can definitely be a song). Our deepest need is to be loved; God’s deepest “need” is to be loved. God wants to be loved. His very first commandment was that we would have no other God’s before Him. Jesus told the crowds that the most important commandment of all was to love God with all our hearts and souls and mind and strength. He started the Torah with a love story – a love story in the garden between the first man and the first woman, and between God himself and mankind. He ends the Bible with a love story in the city – a wedding supper between God and mankind, a permanent dwelling of God with man where He himself, with his own hands, will wipe away every tear and put all death and crying and pain and morning to an end. Forever together. Forever free. Perfect love. All eternity. That’s the kind of destiny His love plans for us. He wants us, and He wants our love.
And we were made just like Him. Made in His image, we yearn for, we hunger for love. Why do double-binds affect us so badly? Because we fear if we lose those loved ones, we will be all alone, we won’t have love anymore. What draws survivors back to the cult, unsafe family members or access over and over again? Because of the promise of love made within the cult.
Made just like Him, we were created for love. It doesn’t matter what age, or what gender, or what country you come from. Love stories are some of the most popular genres, all movies, stories whether traditional or made by Hollywood, they have love in them. Heroes or beggers, soldiers or scientists, princesses or paupers, every story you see in the cinema or magazine features the dance of love. Men and women seek love in all kind of places from all manner of people.
But there is no love like God’s love, and no love that will satisfy like His love, for He is our creator and in Him alone can our souls find rest. Love is both a right-brain and a left-brain experience, and He wants to love us. He has said that nothing can separate us from His love. So what is it like, when we fully experience His love?
It is wonderful. It is joy unspeakable and it gives us indescribable endurance. Let me share with a story from a sister who has experienced His love with both sides of her brain, and all parts of her heart:
|I’m a prisoner of love. I have given my life for love. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory. It’s in every part of our journey here on earth. When babies die in our arms (Heidi Baker ministers to street children, AIDS babies etc) there is a mourning deep in our spirits, but we know that the babies go straight from our arms into the arms of Jesus. Our hearts are comforted with this inexplicable joy. He just keeps loving them in heaven, even more than we could here on earth. In that is where we find our comfort. In one week’s time, 8 of our precious little ones died. I found myself in a state of being exhausted. I didn’t understand. I loved them so much. I couldn’t help but wonder why. They just seemed to die one after another. The only thing I could do was ask Jesus, “What do I do? What do we do?”
Jesus replied, “Either way, you win because you loved them to life.” I got a picture of His arms opening wide to receive those babies. My incredible mourning found a place of comfort in knowing that we had rescued these children from places of despair and loneliness. We knew that we had shown them God’s love. (From Heidi Baker’s Compelled By Love)
She has joy, wonder and endurance in the midst of brokenness and she keeps experiencing and giving His love away to the people around her. You know, God never promised us an easy life. He’s never promised us that it is going to be all smooth sailing. There is coming a day promised in Revelation when He will wipe away all tears and end all pain, but He has said right now on earth, there will be trials and tribulation. Suffering or struggle is not a sign that God has abandoned us, or that Satan has won. The enemy likes to deceive us and say, “Look, because you still hurt, God is not answering your prayers, and I have won. God does not love you.” This is simply not true. Jesus himself was a “man of sorrows, acquainted with suffering”. He was misunderstood, even by His own family.
God does love us and He wants us to walk in the experience and joy of that love, regardless of our circumstances and struggle. What stands in our way of living in the full experience of God’s love is our pain and beliefs from a lifetime of abuse and lifetime of living in a society that is full of wrong ideas about God. To get past all this, into the experience of His love, we have to go to Him. Just like how we have to “check it out” with one another here in community, when we have thoughts about one another, we have to “check it out” with God. We need to come to Him and say, “God, I have believed this about you, is this true? What do you say? What does your word say?” To “get through” our pain and beliefs that stand in the way of our experiencing the fullness of the love He has for us, we need humility and repentance i.e. believe what He says.
If our pain and programming causes us to say, “God is not good”, then we to ask for His help and healing and to disagree with the belief “God is not good”, and to believe that “God is good” then to act on that belief that God is good, whatever that action might be. This is humility and repentance. And in our human weakness and pain, we will need His help every step of the way.
I can remember consciously in the light, my mother in Singapore punishing me when I was very little and telling me that I was not pleasing to God. That’s a lie. It affected how I feel about God, and I need to disagree with what my mother told me and to believe His word which says, in Ephesians 3:4-5 that God chose me before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before Him in love, having been predestined to be adopted as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
I have other memories of how I was made to believe lies about God, such as being tortured, then being told by the programmers to “pray to God”, and when I did, they made the torture worse and then told me that God would never answer my prayers. That’s a lie. I need to disagree with what they told me, ask Him to heal all the trauma involved, and to agree with the many, many places in His word where God says that He hears prayer and responds to the cry of the oppressed, such as Psalm 102:17 He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer.
This can be a struggle and a difficult process for us, but there is victory, and because He loves us, He will be with us, cheering us on and comforting and encouraging us every step of the way. I’m going to share with you another piece of writing about receiving His love, this time from Richard Wurmbrand:
|The bride says, “Draw me, we will run after you. The king has brought me into His chambers; we will be glad and rejoice in you, we will remember your love more than wine…” (Songs of Songs 1:4) She prays like this because she knows that she is still very far from Him…It is not enough that he should draw her by convincing her. She does not have the moral power to follow her convictions. He must draw her with supernatural grace. He has to give her the will to come to him and the means to fulfill that will. He has said it himself, “No man can come to me except the Father who has sent me draw him” (John 6:44). Nobody can come to Jesus by his own will.
Looking to Jesus on His throne, my prayer is, “Draw me”. What could hinder the fulfillment of this prayer? The way is open to everyone; Elijah was a man just like us and he was taken by a chariot into heaven. Jesus said, “He that humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). We can come to where Jesus is. We can sit with Him on His throne (Rev 3:21). But we have to follow the way He went [which was the way of humility, trust and obedience to God]…
From Richard Wurmbrand’s The Sweetest Song
We need His help in the process. We can ask Him everyday to draw us to Him and to woo our hearts completely. We can ask Him to stir up love for Him in our hearts. All who come to Him must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Some of you have been on the journey to live fully for Him for years – He is faithful and will finish the work He started in you. Don’t be discouraged. He helps us. We can keep asking for His help and believing Him. The struggle we have to “work through” all the “junk” and meet Him and let Him meet us, to do the simple work of just believing Him that He cares – it’s worth it all. We don’t understand everything on this side of Heaven. But we can know that He loves us and pursue that love and let him pursue us. We need to believe him when He says He loves us, and allow Him to love us. Remember that God’s word for us tonight is “I want my girls, my daughters at CARE to remember and know how much I love them, that nothing can stand in the way of my love for them, and that I want them to experience my love”.
By a community member