When you're worried love will mean you have to move to South Sudan

Originally published Sunday, 05 October 2014.

The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. 1 John 4:8 (MSG)


I don’t know why but the word makes me uncomfortable, so uncomfortable that for years I couldn’t write, “Love, Wendy”, on cards or letters or emails. 

I would write anything but “love”. 

Recently, I’ve started ending my letters with “love”. I’ve started scrawling love out in scratches that resemble a doctors’ badly written script. 

I’ve started taping “L-O-V-E” out at the end of emails. 

And I’ve begun trying to live into those four letters I’ve been so scared to write. 

For me “love” has never been just a word. 

Love has never been something to give away freely but something to share only with those who I considered worthy of my love.

Love has been something I’ve hoarded, weighed and measured out. 

But I’m realizing that isn’t how God is with love. 

God is generous with his love. He drips his love on everyone. 

If you’re Pope Francis God gives you a hug. 

If you’re a little girl with no friends God will come sit with you.

If you’re a mother with no patience for her kids God will surprise you with flowers. 

If you’re a serial murderer, God’s got love for you.

It doesn’t matter what your story is God’s love will find you. 

God gives love away like he is made of the stuff. (tweet this)

In fact, 1 John 4:8, says God is made of love.

And that blows my mind.

When I read 1 John again slowly, reading each word, my heart ached. I thought about how for so long I’ve refused to love and by doing so I’ve been missing an opportunity to know God.

I’ve started to pray, “Lord, show me how to love.” 

But I guess what I’m really praying is, “Lord, show me who you are.”

Part of me freaks out every time I pray this prayer because I know that love is messy. 

I know that love humbles itself to love the people that are easy to hate. 

I know that love bleeds, and cries, and dies for others. I know this because God is love, and he did that for me. (tweet this)

So the part of me that forgets God is love worries, that when I pray this, he’ll send me to South Sudan to live in a shack with no electricity and water. This part of me thinks that God is out to get me.

But the part of me that remembers God is knitted together with love tells me that there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18), and when I think like that, I only reveal that I don’t know the first thing about love, about God. 

Ponder: How do you think your capacity for loving others affects your relationship with God?

Prayer: Lord, show me how to love like you have loved me. (tweet this)

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- This was orginally published on my site in July 2014 to read more devotionals like this go to ilovedevotionals.com