Love Revealed... Transforms

Excerpt taken from Let’s Go Find This Kingdom Come – Chapter One I leaned in close to my beautiful Karen. Her back was resting against the railing that separated us from the waterfall. This was the girl I would spend the rest of my life with and I knew it. Earlier, we had walked through the small NY town of Rush. We had held hands and laughed. We had dreamed and eaten chocolate. Now we were hidden from the whole world beneath the fir trees, our very own secret hide-away. And we kissed. It was sweet, magical, beautiful, tender, affectionate, all the things a good kiss should be. And in that moment, I knew Jesus and encountered my Fathers love like I never had before...

I stood mesmerized with Maddy; my first-born beauty. I held her on one arm, her head in my upturned palm, her eyes penetrating my soul, her long body stretched down the length of my fore arm, her pudgy legs hanging, straddled at my elbow. When her tiny fingers wrapped around mine, I felt Jesus and encountered my Fathers love like I never had before...

I coached Ethan’s football team and stood on the field the day He intercepted the ball in our end zone by wresting it from his opponent’s hands. I leapt and screamed like a mad man as he turned and ran the entire field to score a touchdown. When I finally caught up to the jumping cheering boy in the end zone and looked into His eyes, I saw Jesus and encountered my Fathers love like I never had before...

I lay snuggling with Eva at night. I told a story about a bunny princess named Gertrude who only wore plaid, and a squirrel prince named Hank who only wore pajamas. I paused for the expected interruption and then listened, smiling to tears, as Eva made her revisions. Gertrude became Lizzy with a beautiful pink dress. Hank became Lizzy’s best friend Molly. She too had a beautiful dress, hers was purple; and they also had ponies. And as Eva imagined out loud, I heard Jesus and encountered my Fathers love like I never had before....

I have met Jesus in many ways throughout my life. I have tasted, touched, seen and heard my heavenly Fathers good love for me. And every encounter with His love is better than the last. One of the most obvious ways I know Love is through Karen, my kids, my Dad and Mom, brothers and sisters. But today, I know His love is in every area of my life. I find Him in a song, a movie, and a sandwich. I find Him in the beautiful sunset and the violent thunderstorm. I find Him in the friendship of a coffee shop saint. I find Him through the laying on of hands, as I witnessed Him heal a friends wrist, my mothers back, even my chronic neck pain. I've discovered His love through provision, the days when Karen, the kids and I found a change jar and celebrated His goodness with a trip to the new Yogurt bar. I find Him in the word, in prayer, or while out running. I have met Jesus and known my Fathers love in life’s wonder and the beauty.

I have also met Jesus and known my Fathers love in life’s heartache and the longing. He has been there, revealing Himself to me in the midst of failure and stumbling. I knew His love while weeping on a bathroom floor at the death of a dream. I felt His love in the sadness of a lost friendship. I saw Him in Karen’s eye’s driving home from a medical center after a doctor confirmed miscarriage. I knew His love when the economy suddenly went into recession and our company became a financial burden instead of blessing. Through every season of life, I am abounding in Love.

I believe that Love is the point. It’s the very foundation of this world; it’s not a vague concept, it’s an encounter. We live to know Love… and to become love. We were created to be loved and to love. These two truths are inseparable. That said, the knowing Love always comes first. We can only love because we are first loved.

When it comes to our Heavenly Father, Love is an encounter before it’s a decision. Without the encounter, the decision to love can never be made. "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

Our love is a response to an encounter with His love. From our encounter we can decide to love but in all honesty the decision to love is not the goal of a Christian. The goal is to know His love. Thats all!

The cool thing about this is that when we know His love we are transformed and we become love. We were not saved by Love so that we could decide to love. We were saved by Love so that we would know Love and in turn become love. If you become love, you don’t have to decide to love, its just who we are.

He loves and we are transformed – that’s the Christian identity.

Often in life, I have placed my focus on the decision to love. At these times I have almost elevated it above the encounter with His love. What I have learned is that when I do this, I relegate, demote, and limit His love. A love birthed from a decision has less power to transform than a love birthed from an encounter.

From my own experience, if I stop encountering His love, my decision to love becomes sterile, forced, and powerless. In fact, loving God or others becomes an overwhelming impossibility. I have learned that I can’t fully love without first encountering His.

However, when my love is birthed from my encounter, I get to live in the power of Love. As Jesus revealed, this looks like the miraculous. I too am experiencing this miraculous love and I'm discovering that the power of my love is birthed in the encounter with His.

My prayer is that I would daily be aware of my heavenly Fathers Love; that He would give me a heart that knows it, eyes to see it, ears to hear it, a soul that feels it, and a mind that grasps it. I want to experience His love in every season. My life is a headlong pursuit of His love...