Our son went through a phase of night terrors and they were like nothing I’ve ever experienced; I felt helpless. The one thing that would begin to get through to him was speaking the name of Jesus. Once I moved past the fear of what was happening in front of me and spoke the name of Jesus, calm and love entered in. Nightmares can be terrible, especially when it’s your child who experiences them. As a parent, you want to ensure safety and protection at all costs. You create a joyful and playful environment for your child to live in but the darkness still comes at night.
The darkness of this world makes a child’s nightmare seem so small in comparison. The world is aching, crying out in fear. When I look around and see the immense brokenness of the humans walking on this earth, my heart begins to physically hurt. Then, I look into the big eyes of my child and think how in the world do I protect you from all of this? This is not a scenario where I can scoop you up in my arms, whisper the name of Jesus over you and pray until the storm passes. No, this is an ongoing battle that seems to have no end.
I settled into a comment one of our pastors made in their message this week, “We tend to think that big problems need big solutions…” Gosh, isn’t that the truth? We do, we feel moved to act in big ways. But so many times that big solution falls so very short of its intended outcome. And in the midst of getting there, we’ve trampled on more people, more relationships are torn apart, only to end up right where we began. Ugh, it’s so daunting. So frustrating. So very, very sad.
Here’s the thing though…what if the solution is simpler? What if we each held the key to changing our relationships, our neighborhoods or communities, our nation? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the only thing that will change this world is changed hearts. We must not give in to the fear. Fear is going to go viral and we can either give into it or fight against it. The only thing that drives out fear is love.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
I’m not just talking about any kind of the love. Not the ‘everyday’ love. It’s a sacrificial love. The type of love that has laid His life down for you. Love like Jesus.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. John 15:13
This is the hardest thing to do. It takes complete selflessness to love like this every day, in all things. Love like this when you are weary, when you’re busy, when you’re lonely. I know one thing…this is the kind of love that transforms lives, hearts, souls…nations.
Since starting my journey at Bridgehaven, I’ve seen and heard things many would think would breed fear within me but because of my faith, love has grown in its place. The troubles of this world, the big things, started as little things…small broken pieces that grew with fear, pain and rebellion.
I urge you to look up, listen…see the brokenness around you. Do not fear (Isaiah 43:1), walk in love and grace. Do not make rash assumptions or be quick to judge what the other person might be thinking, feeling or experiencing. Love them well, my friends. What if the person who you argue with or don’t agree with said to you, “I want to hear your heart. I want to know HOW (not why) but HOW you came to where you sit on this issue today.” And in turn, you ask the same question. What if, then, we began to heal because of the love, understanding and trust that was created in that moment.
Lord, I praise you for your name means love. I will not give in to fear, I will not choose selfishness as a way of protection. Anger has no place in my heart. It cannot take up residence here. You call us to experience your love in amazing ways. Help us, guide us, save us with your love. Amen.