Made for another world

"If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." C. S. Lewis

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Love Matters ~ The Heart of it All

I wrote a post this week entitled Unity Matters- A Match Made in Heaven about the importance of marriage. I believe marriage matters because everything God ordains or creates has value. Today, I say people matter. Does anything have value and touch God's heart as dearly as people? I don't think so. He is a great lover.

So while marriage matters, and the church matters they are not ends in and of themselves any more than I believe grace is. Because it's all about unity and God is looking for people to unite to his heart and to become part of his family. Marriages and churches are servants, they are servants of people, because people matter.

In my last post I told a story, a figurative story. Today I'm going to tell a real one and it's loose ended and in the making. Here goes:

Once upon a time a young woman felt compelled to ask God, "show me your heart, I want to know what you love, what matters to you." And he answered. God began showing her his plan to unify people to himself and each other. And he started teaching her about love. A robust, purifying, enduring love; not sappy and flat. He peeled back a layer of life and showed her that his heart beat for the broken. First revealing hidden children, outcasts and abused, orphaned and disabled. Then he made her squirm. He clearly showed her his love for someone unexpected.

It happened one morning when she least expected it (this Tuesday) and it took her breath away. After hours of conversation with loved ones, soul searching, and bible searching; brought on by North Carolina's Marriage Amendment vote. After an online and real life whirlwind of debate and feeling like the world was turning upside down and what is the church coming to anyway kind of week, she was feeling raw. Wrestling truth had left her limping. Driving down the road that morning God told her to turn around and pick up a lonely road walker. She argued, God insisted, she obeyed.

A conversation ensued. Strangers talked about the hard reality of life, new cars, a dead father, and hand lotion. God came up, the young man was searching. She asked, "Do you have a church? Why not visit ours?" He said that would be nice, he was looking for new direction and better friends. He said he had prayed for help that morning. As they parted ways the young man leaned in close and asked. "Can someone like me, you know, gay, come to your church?"

What would you have said?

The question still rings in her heart. She responded "God loves you. Of course you can come." 

But that wasn't good enough. "I'm not worried about God's love," he replied. 

She got it, it wasn't God's love he was doubting, it was hers. "I believe that the Bible is true and that God is holy. But only God can convict us of sin, not people. We would love to have you," she answered. 

Before he left he reached out for her hand. She said "You know God told me to turn around and come back. God cares about you." And they moved, self consciously toward each other, because God was drawing them.

She pulled onto the highway and wanted to weep and laugh at once. God had pulled a stunt no magician could. He had brought her low and lifted himself up, he had reminded her that he loves the pharisee and broken alike, he made her the answer to a young man's prayer. One she would have said God doctrinally wasn't obligated to listen to or answer. But God had reminded her he wasn't obligated by her views of doctrine. She was convinced she had seen the love of God being poured out and it wasn't what she had expected. 

The next day she got a phone call. It was the stranger turned friend asking for a ride to church. 

My view of marriage remains in tact. However, I'm afraid my view of people, and of love, hangs in tatters. My pride is being laid low and God's love has coursed through my life like a tornado. I'm convinced of one thing. The only person's holiness I'm responsible for is mine. I am, however, indebted to love everyone.

So, what was a distant and theoretical conversation has become a real life crash coarse in love. "Can someone like me come to your church?" I will never be the same.

(By the way this song was playing on the radio when I drove past the road walking stranger, that's when I turned around)

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