[1 John 4:9] says, “In this the love of God was manifested before us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
God’s love was manifested in the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. His love lives in us, and He gives us the command to love Him, and to love one another. Coming up to this Christmas season, I want to share a few testimonies I have seen of God’s love translated in our practical living. We live through Christ, and we love because He first loved us.
“HELP ME LOVE MY PATIENTS”
In the last six months, I have had a burden to intercede for my patients. So many are lonely, hurt, sick or depressed without close friend or family supports. They come to the doctor with their ailments and so often, listening and even a hug are better medicine than the scripts or referrals I give them. Lately, I have noticed how this has affected my general mindset.
It is true that the more we pray for people, the more we love them. The more we love them, the more we intercede for them. So everyday as I prayed “God, help me to love my patients. Help me to love them with Your love,” God was slowly working my heart more and more in patience, perseverance and kindness. I haven’t felt annoyed or frustrated for a long time, even when there has been conflict in the workplace. Furthermore, I have found myself wanting to pray for my patients much more than just on the way to work. We would have a prayer meeting, or an altar call, and I would automatically think, “My patients are not here, but I want to stand on their behalf so that they also will receive from God.” I want my patients to receive a miracle – physical and mental healing, hope for hopeless situations, the restoration of a broken family.
We might not all have patients, but we have families, friends, colleagues, neighbours – people who are in need of love. Why not stand in the gap and intercede in prayer, and in practical loving? Perhaps they too will receive a miracle from God. Perhaps they will experience the revelation of His great love.
[John 15:12-13] – “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
A WIDOW’S JOY
It was a Wednesday night and they had just called for the offering to be taken. A couple of rows before me, one of the Nonnas reached for her purse. As she flicked it open, there was a picture of her husband, no longer on earth but already with the Lord. Losing a spouse can be the most heartbreaking thing, but here was this Nonna, living as a widow and yet, not without joy. She lifted her hands and smiled as she praised her God, and it was clear where her heart truly lay. Her Bridegroom King, her Lord Jesus had her heart and He protected it with all His lovingkindness. He was Her joy, Her lover, Her reason for living, Her hope and Her testimony; she worshipped Him and lived for Him.
Life on earth will bring us through times of sorrow. People close to us will die, we will go through hard seasons, and we might feel like giving up. Yet, in every moment, we have a God whose mercy never changes and who remains faithful regardless of the situation. God is our life; He is our hope and joy.
[Hebrews 6:17-19] – “This God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil…”
MORE THAN A GIFT
In the last month, a number of people have died. I didn’t know all of them but one lady, I realise, I had met a couple of times at the prayer group. She was a strong and faithful worshipper of God, who loved His word and would declare it in her prayers. This Christmas, her husband will be alone and grieving, even in the knowledge that his wife is with the Lord. Before the prayers started one morning, discussion of a gift for the funeral was raised. Her life group had arranged one, the church had arranged one, and now the prayer group were also arranging one. The church, the life group, the prayer group were all praying.
This is only one occasion where the love of the church for a member can been clearly seen. It is what the church is called to do, and when it is done, the testimony is beautiful. The gift of the church to a hurting member is not just one found in wrapping paper, it is the gift of a love that gives hope to hurt and heals it. We stand as one body, joined by one Spirit, as family in Christ.
[1 Corinthians 12:25-26] – “…but there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
. . .
God’s love is a revelation, it is a miracle and it is a hope-bringing, life-giving gift that we can give at anytime, to anyone. It is abundant, never-ending and even overflowing. We are not only encouraged to live our lives loving others, but it is a commandment from God Himself. He shows us the beauty of His love, worth more than anything else, and it becomes our hope and life. He shows us the power of His love, and we intercede for miracles. He shows us the tenderness of His love, and we comfort the hurting. God’s love was present from before even time began, and it is worth celebration in every day of our lives.