Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Love That Will Not Let Me Go

This morning started off kind of rough. I had lost my keys, the set of keys with the remote. Chad handed me his set of keys to take the kids to school so David wouldn’t be late. Got the kids to school. Came home for our regular “staff meeting” where Chad and I sit with our caffeinated beverages to hammer out the details of our week.

With my list of errands in hand I started out the door then the following conversation took place.

Me: “Did you find the other set of keys this morning?”
Chad: “No”
Me: “Well, I know I brought them inside. Didn’t you use them last?”
Chad: “No, because then they’d be hanging up.”

By now we’re both standing on the front porch as I contemplate digging through the dumpster in the pouring rain to find my keys. Then Chad asks,

 “Hey, Where’s the truck?!?”
Me: “I thought you drove it last. Where did you park it?”

Now we know where the keys are. They're with the truck, but the truck is gone. Not just any truck. It was the truck my dad helped me buy in college. I drove it home the day I bought my cap and gown and couldn’t wait to show my parents.  This truck was the  “get away” car at our wedding. It’s got history.

I drove it out of stubbornness with two car seats in the front until Ruby was born; then dad started driving it as his work truck. It still has his leather work gloves and hat on the dash and I haven’t had the heart to move them out of the sun yet. Chad is kind enough to leave them be.

The last couple of years have been emotionally rough, I’ve found comfort hopping in the blue truck on the bad days for a drive to Sonic with the windows down. So, realizing that it was gone was just. .  . sad. I literally stood in the rain and cried like that girl in The Notebook.

“Anna” Chad said “Get in the car. Let’s go find it.” We drove up one turn and there it was, still in our apartment complex.  It was probably just some kid going for a joy ride. For some reason that made me even more upset.  The police came and took a report, but there wasn’t much more she could do.

There is a little boy who spends time with our boys. He was at our house last night until it was time for the boys to take their bath and settle down for the night. His mother is never home and she leaves him in the care of her “boyfriend” who looks to be about 19 years old. This boyfriend has furnished “T” with a cell phone and we suspected before he’s teaching “T” to steal. “T” was upset when I asked him to leave last night and kept knocking on the door. The boys let him in while I was in the kitchen, and he ran out of the house as I rounded the corner to the living room, taking my keys on the way out to give to his mom’s friend.

Right here in the privacy of our own home I had a break down. “If they want to live this way, let them all live this way!” and I went on and on. and on.

Then it hit me like a two by four. This is how Jonah must have felt. When after delivering an obligatory message to the Ninehvites, he went and made himself a shelter within view of the city. He didn’t want to be in the danger zone, but still  wanted to have a good view of God’s judgement. Kind of the same way you choose your seats at the circus.

As Jonah, sulked and seethed, God grew a vine to provide some shade, which Jonah greatly appreciated. “Well thank you, God!” I can hear him say. It was so kind of God to care for his servant this way. After all, think of all the hardships Jonah had endured! He was probably missing patches of hair and most likely has a good bit of acid burn from his custom whale belly transit to shore. It’s hard out there for a saint! *please note the sarcasm

Just as Jonah thought he’d found something to like about the town, God sent a little worm to destroy this one piece of comfort. After the shade was gone a hot dusty wind blew through to sandblast the last little shred of pride off of Jonah’s heart.

What  follows are the greatest gifts God could ever give one of His servants.

 1.)  The Gift of Correction
       Jonah 4:8-11

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were    dead.” 10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight."
These moments are so painful, when God speaks the hard truth to my heart like he is with Jonah. “Anna, really?! Is this what you want your life to be about? This worn out truck? This treasure is passing and can be gone in an instant. Keep your eyes on eternity, daughter.”
But what if my Heavenly Father indulged me in all of my earthly desires when I pound my fist like a spoiled child? What if He never cared to discipline, correct or instruct me. I’d be forever stuck in my spiritual “terrible 2’s”.

Ofcourse, God understands my needs! I know He  cares for me when I'm hurting,  but I'm so glad He takes the time to shape my heart to be more like His. 

2.)  A Glimpse of His Heart
“But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
 In the heart of God is a love so deep and so long suffering that it endured the shame and pain of a public crucifixion. Love left the glory of Heaven and dwelt among us in humility.
As Jesus hung on the cross He endured the separation from God we're born to fear. As Jesus cried out, “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me!”  He was enduring the separation from God that I deserve. 
It’s not something to consider lightly that God gave Jonah the number of people who would be destroyed and the live stock. He knew each one, and He knew them well enough to know that they would be destroyed in ingnorance of the truth.
God needed Jonah to be moved by compassion to run with an urgency and deliver the message of His love.
This is what I want my life to be about. There are a lot of appealing things in this world, focus my eyes on what matters most to you. Give me Your heart for the lost. Give me your eyes to see their needs. Give me more love for those who have no love to give in return. Use this situation to bring about salvation in the home of this young man. 
Oh, love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in thee
I give you back the life I owe
And in your ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be

My life is not my own
It's yours
My life is not my own
I know it's yours
Oh, love that will not let me go

Me and my truck when it was new. 

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