My response to hate: Unfailing love

Love

I think it’s an understatement to say the world is a pretty depressing place right now.

Each day, we’re besieged with news of terrible occurrences seeping with so much hate, pain and death. It’s hard to keep from being weighed down by it all (and I know I have barely the slightest of an inkling of an idea of what some people experience in their day-to-day lives).

Not to get all hippy-dippy on you, but it makes me realize the importance of love. Not just an exclusive love for certain people that we’ve grown to like and accept. Not just a love for people similar to us. Not just a fleeting love for Klondike Bars and Cheetos.

Unfailing love.

For every person.

And let me say I know there is nobody on earth that can have completely unfailing love.

Let me also say I know there is a God that is unfailing love.

Before anybody scoffs at me and exits this tab, please, just read on.

Jesus loves every single person no matter what. It doesn’t matter what family we’ve been born into, what country we originate from, what we look like, what we’ve done in the past or whether we like Star Wars or not.

Jesus still loves us.

But He didn’t just love us from afar. He wanted us to personally experience that unfailing love. So, He made a way for that to happen.

Jesus entered this world only to face the hate, shame, discrimination, rejection and pain of a world that wanted Him dead — the same hate and discrimination that so many people still face today. And you know what? The world got its way and killed Him. It seemed that hate and death would win.

Jesus didn’t stay in that tomb, though. He rose again to live. By living, He defeated death, hate, shame and pain. In their stead, He offered unfailing love and abundant life to each one of us. And, in turn, He gave us hope.

But we can’t just take those gifts of unfailing love and hope and hoard them selfishly for ourselves. We need to extend those gifts to everyone else.

In a world that’s so enveloped in anger and pain, how much of an impact can one welcoming, encouraging and loving act be?

In a world so entrenched in darkness, how much more can one light shine and welcome the people around it?

Even when the world does its best to make us think hate is pulling ahead, let me remind you of something:

Love already won.

And it’s unfailing love.

***

Note: My inspiration for this post was from Psalm 69:13

You know what they say…

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So often, we look to others to form our value, self-worth, opinions, beliefs and habits. We think, “Well, you know what they say” or “Oh, they say I can’t [insert here], so…”

And that’s that.

They say.

How did this phrase evolve to become a common method of asserting wisdom, facts or viewpoints — whether true or false?

* * *

While I’m sure there are numerous studies about this phrase out there, my thoughts turned to when Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

His disciples basically answered with, “Oh, well, they say you’re John the Baptist. Oh, they say you’re Elijah. Oh, they say you’re one of the prophets.”

And then, (in my paraphrased vernacular), Jesus gets straight to the point: “Yeah, who cares what they say… Who do you say I am?”

Who do you say I am?

* * *

I can speak only for myself and from my personal experiences. I can tell you how delicious this homemade ice cream cake with cookie dough, brownies, crushed Oreos and hot fudge is. But until you taste it for yourself, you’ll only be basing your opinion on what I’ve said about it (and trust me, it’s all good things).

I can tell you from my own experience who Jesus is to me personally, because He has proven Himself to me in various situations over and over again throughout my life.

He’s my provider.

He’s my guide.

He’s my best friend.

He’s my safe haven.

He’s my peace.

He’s my joy.

That’s who I say He is.

And you know what they say: Sometimes you can learn from the experience of others.

* * *

But who do you say He is?

Because they also say you make your own choices in life.

 

 

Leaf, Leaves, Leaving, Left

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honestly, it feels like a leaf blower is scattering my emotions into a tumultuous riot in my stomach heart mind —
there goes a scalding red leaf searing others that get too close
and there — a mottled brown one quietly sighs as it spirals down with gravity’s pull
there whirls a crisp green leaf drunk on the bright light that it stole from the sun
but there — a gang of burnt orange leaves approach the green in an overwhelming swirl
and they clash and collide in a vibrant violent twirl

eventually, they all rest dormant
sedentary, waiting for the next brisk wisp of wind
that will whisk them away and send them into a dizzying tizzy

How great is my God

For some reason, I feel impressed to simply share these videos. Nothing ground-breaking from me — just some songs from Elevation Worship that have uplifted my spirit and led me into worship of my Creator.

It amazes me how quickly I can forget just how great my God is. I find myself starting to tell Him how something should work out, planning each and every step for Him — only to realize that He’s already got it all under control. This video from Louie Giglio always serves as a fantastic reminder of just who my God is (it is a longer one, but worth every single minute).

 

Eyes on You

“We do not know what to do,
but our eyes are on You.”
— II Chronicles 20:12

My mind is cluttered
with thoughts I can
barely piece together
and comprehend —

confusion, disbelief,
disappointment, pride —

These wisps of feelings
shift and circle,
creating an abstract image
that forces me to
constantly adjust my
focus until my lens blurs.

I do not know what to do,
but my eyes are on You, Lord.

My eyes are on You,
but instead of looking
for answers about me,
let me truly see —

Let me see You, Lord —
not just look with
glancing eye, only to
shift my gaze away with
each new shimmering
distraction.

Let me see You, Lord —
in the fullness of Your
grace and majesty, in
Your faithfulness that
grants to me such
blessed assurance.

Let me see You, Lord —
a glimpse of who You are
and the love that
compelled You to make
a way so these blind
eyes could see You.

My eyes are on You, Lord,
so let me see.

embedded in the moments of growth

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As an adult, it is easy
to reflect on your life
and pinpoint various
moments of growth —
but as a child, those times
of growth are often
challenging and arduous

for embedded in the
moments of growth
are moments of pain —
growing pains that ache
and throb — subtle thieves
that attempt to diminish
your achievements

for embedded in the
moments of growth
are moments of forbearance —
a patience that must be
learned — as others grow
at a faster pace, while you
wait and wait and wait

for embedded in the
moments of growth
are moments at rock bottom —
when you’re buried under
stress and expectations —
the heavy soil impeding
your journey to the sun

but it is from those moments —
the pain, the long-suffering,
the rock bottom —
that measurements gain meaning —
for once you reach a certain height,
it is then that you can look back
upon that low point and say,

“That point right there —
that’s where I’ve come from.”

Today is a good day to be alive

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Why?

Because this is another day
to do something you love
or to try something new.

This is another day for you
to randomly talk with a stranger
about tea and crepes and birthdays
(it’s not as unlikely as you’d think).

This is another day for you
to encounter a new friend
or to spend time with a cherished one.

This is another day for you
to listen to your all-time favorite song
or to discover a new one
that. just. gets. you.

This is another day for you
to lend a helping hand to someone
or to thank those who have lent one to you.

This is another day for you
to enjoy the vibrant green leaves
that have replaced the bleak brown branches
(even when you’re stuck sitting in traffic).

This is another day for you
to pick up a new book to read
or to finally finish writing your own.

This is another day for you
to color with crayons and markers
or to laugh at the child-like drawing you created
(of course that’s how you intended it to look).

This is another day for you
to turn your life around
or to keep staying strong on the path you’re on.

It’s a good day to be alive
because you’ve been gifted one more breath
and one more
and one more
to live this day.

So, what will you do with it?