Ten days until our wedding day and five days until chemo is over! Every card we’ve received, we cherish. The support of friends and family, cheering us on to the finish line for chemo and the starting line for a life-long marriage is of immeasurable worth. Fast approaches the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. I pray that this chapter leading up to marriage has taught us some of the deep and gritty lessons of loving well through thick and thin, highs and lows, health and sickness, and all the rest. A few days ago we read a card from my sweet friend, Vanessa. It was a beautiful card (have you ever noticed that wedding cards are often covered with sparkles? I do hope our marriage has sparkling moments that brighten our hearts as we share life together!) Vanessa’s words were touching and encouraging, as she always is, but one line struck me. She quoted Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables.
Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.‘”
There it is, brothers and sisters- that is how we see the face of God. We feed the hungry, we offer drink to the thirsty, we invite the stranger in, we clothe the naked, and we visit the prisoner. That is the recipe for the type of love which our Creator has set before us. This is the way Christ lived on earth, and when He died upon the cross at Calvary, it was messy. Love here is messy. And love is not really the emotion of happiness when we get what we want from another- love is laying down our lives daily for another- whether it be our spouse, our child, our neighbor, our co-worker, our friend, or even a stranger whom we really would rather not go out of our way to serve. Love does not always come natural to us, even when it is the people closest to us, whom we truly do care about. We are prone to selfishness and pride, seeking our own desires and comforts. But if we want to see the beauty of Christ, we must learn to truly love another person.
I can be honest and share with you that I have so much to learn about love and how to give of myself and lay down my own desires to serve those around me. I need help in this area, as most of us do. God doesn’t expect perfection- there would be no need for a Savior if we were void of sin and selfishness…but He does call us to a different type of living- one of righteousness and service, that Christ came to teach us. He calls us to receive His mercy and grace and find His help in our time of need. Let’s each take the opportunity this week to live with eyes wide open, looking for ways to serve another- even if it is uncomfortable or uncommon. Maybe there is someone in need that you are thinking of right now. Or maybe it is a family member you’ve been feuding with, whom you need to ask forgiveness. Or maybe there is a neighbor or friend who is going through a hard time and could just use a hot meal or some cookies and lemonade! The Holy Spirit will bring to mind exactly what it is for you to “see the face of God” this week in another…Let’s start out September with a perspective that is other-oriented, and most of all, Christ-seeking.