Heavenly Love On An Earthly Plane
In this issue, I would like to share a personal story of learning to love better. I am sure that those of you who are married can attest to the fact that it is only when you begin to live with the one you love that certain distinct differences begin to surface. In my case, my spouse is someone who is completely unaffected by his surroundings. He is very comfortable and works well with a cluttered desk. I am just the opposite. I feel peaceful and serene in a clean and tidy environment and stressful when I am surrounded by clutter. As his business grew, his hours of work became longer and the paperwork in our home office began to pile up on the floor and eventually onto our dining table until most of the table was covered with piles of paper.
Coming home from work and seeing this clutter would really upset me. It was frustrating because all the loving requests did not make this mess disappear except on a temporary basis and I could not clean it up because he knew where things were in that clutter in a way that I could not relate to. Then I woke up one day and realized that loving words had changed to nagging and arguments.
At that time in my life, for some reason I will never understand, I had got the idea that I could only talk to God about major things. How could I ever talk to him about something like clutter on a dining table? The reality was that it was affecting me and robbing both of us of the joy of our marriage and my way of trying to resolve it wasn’t working. My eyes were focussed on the clutter and had become blind to what was happening in my husband’s life and in our marriage.
Somehow, by the Grace of God, my mind was opened that day to what I had become and I prayed that God would help me resolve this situation. Around the same time, someone happened to share with me about a situation they had overcome by being silent and praying. I decided to try it. Whenever I was bothered by that clutter, I zipped up my lips and prayed. I also read Scriptures that spoke deeply to my heart. Here are several of them:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1John 4:7).
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins”. (1Peter 4:7,8).
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10).
Gradually, my prayers began to change. I began to ask God to help me see things His way. I began to ask myself questions like:
If either of us died tomorrow, would the piles of paper on the dining table matter? As the weeks and months went by, I began to see a tired husband who worked long hours six days a week. Who came home with just enough energy to do the necessary paperwork, relax and go to bed. I began to love his hands worn rough from unloading merchandise from the trucks because those same hands rubbed ointment to soothe the pain in my muscles despite his tiredness. Did the clutter disappear? No, but my eyes had begun to be blinded to it. Then it happened! I woke up one day and realized that over a year had passed and I was no longer reacting negatively to the clutter and we were loving each other! I had been set free! I had learned to let go and love.
In closing, let me share with you the key life lessons I learned through this experience:
- When you run into a stone wall, don’t use your human wisdom. Seek God’s wisdom. His Word is full of it!
- You cannot change someone else; you can only change yourself by being willing to surrender it all to Christ.
- When you pray, ask God to help you see things His way and to show you how you must be in that situation. Praying for God to change someone else or to remove a problem blocks you from seeing what He wants to teach you. Let His Will be done.
- The language of love is sometimes silence and prayer . Silence is golden but it has to be covered by a loving demeanour.
- The joy of the Lord comes when you choose to accept whatever situation you are facing and wait on God’s will to prevail.
The final happy news to this story is that the clutter has only remained in a small area of our home office and never been on the dining table again! As you read this article, if you find yourself in a struggle with your spouse, child, co-worker etc., simply take it to God in faith.
Here is a prayer that you may wish to pray:Heavenly Father,
Please forgive me for the times when I have been unloving. Help me today to begin learning all the ways you want me to love others and myself. Help me to learn the secret of living in every situation; strengthen my faith to believe that I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. Thank you for that promise (Philippians 4:12,13). In Jesus name, Amen.