I opened my journal with a troubled heart, intending to write my way into prayer. Instead, my eyes fell on another old entry with words that speak to my lived situation here and now.
From an entry dated 8 April 2013:
“Love is meant to be wasted,” you tell me. “Be bold and daring. Why are you always afraid of loving people more than they love you? That is how I love! Name me one person who loves Me more than I love her!”
When I love recklessly, without care of what I receive in return, I open my poverty to the heavens so that God can rain down his love into my hardened heart. It is not even loving without expectation. It is loving will full knowledge that this leads to the cross, but loving anyway. It is obeying, imitating Christ in the way He loves. It is laying down my life willingly, handing myself over to those who will hurt me. Every act of love is that; just that. And forgiving them from the cross.
“Isn’t it about time, Ann, that you started living the gospel literally? Turn your other cheek; offer more than is asked of you; forgive and love your enemies… It’s a new world for you if you put on this gospel lens.”
How happy are we who are forgotten and despised, for we are drinking from the same cup of our Lord! How happy are we who are persecuted, misunderstood and maligned for doing good, for we are carrying the cross of our Lord!
We say we love Jesus, but so often these are just empty words – EMPTY WORDS. Unless we do it. Unless we live it. And how very, very far I am from even beginning to live it. All the ground I have covered so far was only to show me how I haven’t even really begun to run the actual race that the saints ran.
Silent suffering. Haha! When would I be able to do that? Welcoming suffering because I recognise the hand of my living God in this purifying flame…
So if others hurt me, will I let the arrows pierce my heart? Will I join my pain to Christ’s and see how poorly, how much more poorly I treat Christ? Will I strive to live the gospel and imitate Christ?
So be it Lord. Let me cling to You. Let me cling to You.
Why do I even fight it? Why do I still wallow in self-pity when I know that the sooner I choose the cross, the sooner I am free? God’s command is clear: The time for counting the costs of discipleship is long over. It’s time to live the gospel.