Love You More Than Life: In the Beginning
Nothing awakens my spirit quite like the sound of rolling thunder.
I have intensely loved it, along with the flashing lightning of a brewing storm, for as long as I can remember. Ironically, the more chaotic the weather, the more at peace I feel, and it’s impossible for me to hear that guttural growl, to watch electricity charging through the air like a chariot, and not see God.
So it’s no surprise that as I sit on my back patio this morning on the west coast of Florida, listening to the rumbling thunder of Hurricane Matthew as it rolls in and watching lightning dance across a sky turning black, I feel close enough to reach out and touch Him. Close enough to breathe in His awesome presence around me. And close enough to ask Him a question that’s been lingering on my mind for months now…
Why am I here, Abba?
I tend to walk through life much like Alice walks through Wonderland, with a heavy sense that things are upside down and a deep-seated desire to flip them right-side-up again. The longer I walk out my faith as a believer, the more I realize I’m not alone in this, and that it’s an admirable task, to be sure. But is it my job?
God is God is God. And He’s a good God…One who is both supremely good in nature and supremely good at what He does. In all honesty, He doesn’t need for me to do anything. Throughout the Bible, however, there are countless stories of ordinary individuals who He wanted to include in His business. All He needed from them is all He needs from me as well — For my heart to beat first and foremost for Him, and second, for His creation; and for me to be the change I wish to see in the world by boldly and unapologetically living out who he created me to be. Scars, scabs, and all.
Actually, scars and scabs especially.
For the better part of three decades, though, I didn’t know who I was. More importantly, I didn’t know who He was, let alone how much He loved me, even in spite of me. Imagine my surprise when one early spring morning in south Texas, I met a God so unlike the one I’d grown up with that I didn’t even recognize Him at first. His love — Not His threat to throw us into a lake of fire and brimstone if we fail to achieve perfection — Is where it all begins. It welcomes home the wayward. It mends the brokenhearted. It re-ignites the flame of hope within those who have long lost any semblance of it. It restores. It saves. It purifies. It fights counter-culturally, and it often makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to those who are on the receiving end of it.
Is that the God you know? Or has our fallen world, our bleeding culture, stripped you, too, of the truth of His good name?
What would happen if we quit listening to the lies, quit knowing God for who He’s not, and began to fully understand, once and for all, just how much He loves us?
I’ll give you a hint: It’s more than His own life.
My job isn’t easy, but it is simple. My job — No, my privilege — Is to jump down into the trenches with a bruised and broken world and introduce it to the One who wants to save it, the same way He saved a wretch like me. To share my Father and who He is to me with everyone who will listen. And to obey His greatest commands to love when it’s hardest, forgive when it’s undeserved, and extend mercy when it’s unexpected. It’s His job to take care of everything else.
So here I am, Lord. Send me.