The day of love. The anticipated bouquet of flowers. The annual box of chocolates. The date night to a romantic dinner destination. All for the day of love.
What is love anyway? It sure feels good to know that people love me. And I am one of those people that loves to love others. But love, true love….Christlike love is so different. Take these familiar verses to heart…
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it s not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I want so badly to understand that love. To love beyond my own selfishness and be more like the One who loves me.
All too often, stories of oppression, tragedy, destruction, starvation, and illness dominate headlines and conversations when people talk of Haiti. These tough circumstances are real and we are faced with the reality of them more often than we wish to admit. But, if we open our eyes, choose to see LIFE, and see opportunities to know the hearts of our neighbors, I believe we see LOVE….the real love…genuine, unconditional, Christlike love.
He is no less than 75 years old. She is close to the same. His body and mind have begun to weaken, and his spirit is often down. But she loves him, even when truly there is no hope for him to physically love her in return. I have asked her if she knows Jesus. Yes, she says. And I say that I can tell. She is my neighbor, my friend, and so much more. Often, we find her in her yard bathing her husband from head to toe, while he uses all of his strength to stand helplessly, allowing her to serve him. They walk slowly to church every Sunday morning…he is holding onto her for support and she is carrying his special chair that he always sits on. I check on them periodically….today he is not feeling well. He can’t get up. She sits near his mattress on the floor and waits….waits to serve him. I ask her if she sleeps next to him as I look at the tattered twin sized mattress. She says no…she sleeps on a sheet on the concrete floor next to him and points to the sheet sitting in the corner of the room. Love bears all things and endures all things. She often tells me thanks for being a missionary and I tell her thank you for being the same. She is the hands and feet of Christ. Her love is patient, kind, and expects nothing in return. Her selfless love and devotion reminds me of Gods love for us.
Living in Neply, we are are able to see daily, the beauty of God’s love. There are so many examples that I cannot possibly list them all. I have the luxury of watching my very own children teach me about God’s love everyday. My heart bursts when my two year old says, ‘I love you buddy’ as he hugs on children that are dirty and soiled while walking through the village. Those children see Jesus in him and so do I. I could not be more thankful to know a beautiful woman named FiFi…her health is deteriorating and she struggles to make ends meet. But, her heart for the Lord and for His children is incredible. She cares for a child with medical needs that is not even her own. A village coming together to care for their own…Love is kind and expects nothing in return. I remember the day we were taking our children to school just two weeks ago. We drove up to a severe motorcycle accident and stopped to help. Cindy, a high school aged student, had a very obvious break to her femur. We took her to the hospital and she was later transferred to another hospital where they knew no one and had no food or drink (yes, hospitals here make you find your own food while receiving medical care). We told the myLIFEspeaks staff that our neighbor had a need…within a few hours, a large basket of food was overflowing because our staff understands the love of Christ. Love is kind and expects nothing in return.
I think God is teaching me about a different kind of love. He wants me to understand His deep love above all else…for me and for His people and creation. But, the gift of knowing His love is that I have the opportunity to share it. In a place with such great need, where poverty and illness abound, it is beautiful to look beyond the surface and see the LIFE that shines from deep within His people here. Life. Love. Not the temporary day of love…but understanding a LIFE filled with LOVE. Yes, please…that is what I desire.