26 October 2011

Trading in strength for love.

Last week, my accident took my car with it (thank God, not my life) and this weekend, I spontaneously bought a new car. It's fun, shiny, and happens to be the same make I had before. Before you scoff, it's different yet familiar. Not "the same." OK, to the story...

Yesterday after work, I continued to fiddle with my audio player like I've done for several days now. This time I was in a sermon mood so I put on my podcasts and not knowing how to work my audio player yet...the car picked its own. It was Barry Camp speaking at Highland (my home church in Waco) about yes answers to prayer. The topic wasn't exactly thrilling but listening to him was a lesson in itself.

For 22 years, I've yelled and thrown angry slurs at God for allowing certain "sucky" things to happen. The situations would throw me into confusion, causing me to brood over what has happened and what I did to deserve it. Though I've accepted (more like, in the process of accepting) that God's favor does not equal smooth, sailing life, I didn't want to overcome it.

Why? Because it would make me stronger and I'm not interested in being stronger. In my mind, stronger means more distant from others, more guarded and more hesitant to trust. That's what its meant for years now and I'm done with it.

Barry showed me another side, perhaps unintentionally. He shared his own sucky things. His mother was an alcoholic and he had 7 stepdads by the time he was 20, including one who at one time was only 2 years older than him, just to name a few.

My problems don't compare but that's not the point. Barry is this big teddy bear. He blubbers just at the thought of the Gospel. His heart is bigger than anyone else I know or hear. His problems made him into this big ball of sweet compassion and empathy.
There's one word you can summarize him in and that's love. And to my knowledge, the moment you turn into a person who can only love, you exemplify the very image of God.

The very image of God! I want to be there. What's the point of life if people can't look at you and see love?
Hold me to it, friends. I'm giving up strength for love. It's a testament to our faith if we can allow our sucky life stories to transform us into Christ. It isn't an overnight miracle (Barry's old) but it is His will.

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