If I'm perfectly honest with you, God and I have not been on the best of terms lately. It's not like we've been at odds or anything, but for the past few months or so, I've been dragged down by this awful apathy about my walk with Him. I've still been going through the motions, but my passion was zilch. I was stuck in a rut and couldn't get out. I went into this weekend praying basically two things: 1. Lord, please meet me here this weekend so I may refocus and fall in love with You all over again and 2. Lord, please don't let me be distracted by all the cute Christian guys (Did I mention it was a singles' retreat?) (I told you I was being perfectly honest!) ;) Wow, did God ever answer those prayers. I won't go into detail about that second request except to say that He was the focus of my weekend and I met some amazing brothers (and sisters) in Christ this weekend.
As for the first request, God knew this weekend that I needed to get back to the basics of our relationship, and by that I basically mean that He reminded me that The Gospel can pretty much be summed up in one word: love. As in...He loves me. A lot. And He wants me to share that love with as much passion as a parent who can't stop talking about how much they love their kid or a lover who can't stop talking about how much they love their beloved. He is my one true love, and He always will be no matter who else may come along. And He is jealous for me. Wrap your head around that statement from the David Crowder song for a second. The God who created the universe is jealous for your love. He wants you to give Him your whole heart and being. He is jealous when you put anything above Him because He can love you more than anything else could possible dream to.
God really used David Crowder's "How He Loves" while He was working in my heart this weekend. I couldn't get it out of my head all weekend, and I'm a firm believer that He puts particular praise songs in your head like that for a reason. (Random fact: the technical term for this is "earworm." Ew.) I keep singing that song over and over in my mind..."(His) love's like a hurricane...I am a tree bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy." Such powerful words. I've been through a few hurricanes in my time in Louisiana, so images of raging wind that will not cease and forever change the landscape around it come to mind. Then on Sunday, we drove back by some trees I'd seen all weekend, and all of this finally clicked for me (This is not the actual tree...this is one from some random person's Flickr account, but you get the drift)...
These funny-looking trees definitely stand out from the landscape. They don't stand up tall like normal trees because they have been physically altered by their prolonged exposure to high, hurricane-force winds coming in from the ocean. Even when these strong winds are not present, you can still see their permanent effects on the trees. There is clear evidence of change...of something out of the ordinary. Do you see where I'm going with this? The hurricane force of God's love for us is permanently changing when you accept it. It bends you and molds you in ways that make you holy and set apart and make people who look at you say, "There is something different about this person. Something must have made them that way." We are ordinary people who God uses in extraordinary ways for the furthering of His kingdom.
So here's my prayer in light of all that's been stirring in my heart this weekend. Lord, may our lives reflect your amazing love. Let your love be clearly evident in our lives so that others may come to know You through the testimony of our changed lives. You say in your word that people will know we are Yours by our love. Let that love flow freely out of an overflow of our hearts. Let us serve you and love others out of passion not out of duty. I don't want to go through the motions, Lord. I want others to see Your love in me and want it for themselves. Help me not fall victim to apathy again. "Show me how to love like You have loved me" and "break my heart for what breaks yours." Give me compassion with action, and thank you, thank you, thank you for your jealous love for me. Forgive me for the times I give you reasons to be jealous by putting other things before you. Help me live a life on mission wherever I am. I am Yours. Forever. Amen.