So one of my all-time favorite English class projects to do are plays–everyone has to have a part–maybe because I will never forget doing Rasputin in sixth grade, but mostly because it pulls kids places that they have no idea they could go, as well as empowering them to speak boldly in public, which is always useful.
And a jillion years ago I did The Princess Bride. Well, now I have done it three times. And each time has been amazing. But the first time, well it came complete with random miraculous answers of prayer such as when I pulled into the Goodwill Store between school and home: Dear God. I am totally beat and totally overwhelmed and I have to find some six-inch heeled boots sized twelve right now for The Giant who is shorter than everyone else in the play and dress rehearsal is tomorrow and I cannot, cannot go to every thrift store in Tucson tonight. Dear God, mercy, mercy, mercy. And somehow a knee high pair of size twelve boots with six-inch heels had not only come in that very afternoon but for some unusual policy was fifty percent off. Anyways. I digress. The weakest link in the play was Westley who was clever and charming and lovely in every way, but he never bothered to memorize his lines because, well, he just sort of figured he was smart enough to pull it out of his hat at the last minute. But he didn’t. Which sort of caused the final productions to stumble a bit, but it was ok because we had this amazing ship on wheels that some dad made and almost-out-of-control-with-giddy-delight second graders as eels and Rodents of Unusual Size and yes, I knew every word, pause by pause, and so did Inigo Montoya, who by the way, just got accepted to nursing school yesterday, so she fed the lines to Westley and not so many knew. And eventually Westley realized that he let everyone down and said he was sorry, but it was fine. Really.
But that was a long time ago. And a lot has happened in ol’ Westley’s life, a lot of God things. And God is so much bigger than I could ever imagine, and Nicole and I have been marveling at the people He brings into our life, every single one of them purposeful beyond our imagination. But once again I digress. This morning I received a daily devotion from this same Westley, as always, since he now sends me one every day, except, today’s pierced my heart with Truth. And the title, ah, the title, a Westley line from the so-long-ago Princess Bride.
You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn. Psalms 18:36
Faith to me is all about the goodness of God. It's the unfair goodness that He pours out when I believe Him and act in faith. Whether my act of faith is choosing to prepare well for a lesson, or asking the guy in crutches if I could pray with him, God's contribution is so royally generous. God loves to bless people. The more I seek to bring His blessing to others, the more life feels right, true, good and satisfying.
In looking at Spiritual gifts and authority, something struck me one day as I talked to myself. I was thinking of all the things we as Christians have been given authority for. We have authority to heal the sick, cast out demons, prophesy, preach, proclaim the good news etc. We have authority to love.
Whoa. That's it, full stop. We have been given the power to love. To love as He loves. God loves perfectly. He pours out this never-ending pure love. He loves in such a gentle way. He never forces himself upon a person. He is constant, loyal, never-changing.
It's hard to explain this revelation I had. I felt such freedom in it. I have authority to love, just love. No manipulation, no hidden agenda, no secret plot to work my plan to save them. Just love others. That's a gospel I can get behind. It's not my responsibility to save or change anyone.
ahhh... that's a big burden off my shoulders. I cannot save a single soul, whew. Thank God I can't. What a weight that is! Jesus has already done the soul-saving at the cross. And God is the One who works in the hearts of men, patiently waiting for his sons to return.
Who am I to save this whole world? Who am I to save even one person? I can't do it. What I can do is show kindness. What I can do is treat the people I interact with with dignity and honor. I can smile and look at people in the eye. There is nothing that can hold me back from loving.
I can be used by my Daddy. He is the redeemer, the healer. God is the superhero. And amazingly, He chooses to partner with me. So with His Spirit working with me, any task I am sent to do, I will do; it will be made easy, like giving the enemies into my hands. I carry no burdens. His yoke is light, and His burden easy. Walk in love, and the reconciliation of the lost children will be natural.
Father God is actively loving every person on this earth right now. It is my honor to partner with Him and enjoy a life of love. I am free to love without shame, nor fear, nor anything extra.
I have all authority from heaven to love purely.
Daddy, thank you for the gift of true love. You are the perfect model. So gentle and pure is Your love for me. And so radically big. Jesus died for me. There is no greater love. Thank you for the gifts you pour out. I am loved. I am Your beloved.