The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule. Do you remember the first time you heard it? Maybe it was spoken by a parent as you were picking at a sibling. Maybe a teacher as they were listing the classroom rules. Maybe somewhere along the way you just heard it. Believed it to be a long-standing societal rule: “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”

The Golden Rule. You know it now, right? But where did it come from? Your parents? That teacher? The government?

Luke 6:31. It was spoken by Jesus to his disciples along with some other commands.

Jesus’ call to “do unto others as you would like them to do you,” was a call to treat each other with the same kind of love and respect we would in fact treat ourselves, but also spoke to the way we treat those who may not treat us with kindness.

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.” Luke 6:32-35,NLT

I encourage you to go back and read these verses replacing “sinner” with the words “the world,” since we are encouraged to be different from “the world.”

Not expecting we are to be treated as the elite, but we treat others as if they are, expecting nothing in return. Putting out the kindness, compassion, and love we want to see in the world, because we have a duty as believers in Christ to be His reflection of those things in it. And showing it not just to those who love Him, or who we love; but who don’t know Him and who could not care less about us. So that they know His love, and see it reflected in us in a world that shows anything but.

That is the Golden Rule. Lived out. In us. Through us. To others. Daily.

How can you be a reflection of it today?

Promise of God: Never Forgotten

Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
I would not forget you! Isaiah 49:15, NLT

I often wonder what makes a person “unforgettable.”

My husband and I took a short walk down memory lane the other night. He was looking through yearbooks looking for someone in particular. A name sounded familiar, and we thought the key to the memory may be triggered by our high school photos. I flipped through the 20 plus year old photos, past the old superlative sections. Noticed the one marked “Most unforgettable.” And found two people I had…well forgotten.

So…what is it? What makes a person unforgettable? How can someone be described as “never to be forgotten?”

Some other words come to mind here. They could be described as memorable, special, remarkable, or exceptional. So a person may be hard to forget if they are kind, compassionate, caring, honest, and just real. People who are described as unforgettable are usually described as the “real deal,” and are genuine. They are highly intelligent, respect others, and humble in nature. They are also calm, and others feel a sense of peace around them.

We may know people like this. Vow we will never forget them. Yet, we still do.

We start forgetting to call. To text. To reach out. Until we just forget them altogether.

We may even feel we are these people, and then feel forgotten.

Yet, even if the calls, and the texts stop coming. No one reaches out. There is one who keeps the promise of never forgetting.

I, the Lord, made you,
and I will not forget you. Isaiah 44:21, NLT

Just like a mother knows her child’s voice. Just like she can hear the cries from a long way off, see her child from a long way off. Know and feel their pain even when they are far away. God, as His children, does not forget us. He will not forget us. Will not leave us.

We can call on Him. He will answer. We can cry to Him. He will hear them. Even when we wander, He will let us back in with open arms.

He is the one who truly never forgets.

Ain’t No Mountain

For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10

I love music. It has been the permeating sound of my life for many years. Even as a kid. Riding in the backseat of my parents car, I remember listening to what I referred to back then as the “oldies.” Motown classics. Old school crooners like Frankie Valli, and girl gangs such as The Shangri-Las. Rides in my dad’s truck consisted of tape decks filled with The Pointer Sisters, and Huey Lewis and the News. I remember kitchen dance parties with Elvis and my mom. Music was my jam, and I loved all of it.

There is one song that gets me going still today. You probably know it. It’s a duet between Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. It has even been used in movies when the characters are sharing their pledge to stand with each other-no matter what:

If you need me, call me,
No matter where you are
No matter how far,
Don’t worry, baby
Just call my name, I’ll be there in a hurry
You don’t have to worry

‘Cause baby, there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough,
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you, baby

Yes. You probably have heard it. But what does it have to do with God?

If you read through the last half of the book of Isaiah, you will read beautiful lines written of the coming of the blessings God would bestow on the people, and of a coming Messiah who would bring salvation and peace. He also tells of what is to come. Like the mountains and hills he had to make disappear before any of this could happen.

Like the Israelites heavy reliance and trust in things other than God. The Israelites believed in false prophets who didn’t offer God’s truth. They had a false sense of security. A security in man and his ways and power. They placed trust in their earthly kings. Kings God eventually removed. Kings who were defeated and taken over by those more terrifying and evil than anything their prophets could have predicted, who left them confused, unsafe, insecure, and feeling far from God.

We have some strongholds, too. Mountains and hills we place our faith in. Pledge allegiance to that can crumble in any season. Our jobs. Our varied affiliations. Our wealth. Our possessions. We find safety and security in these things, but what happens when they are gone?

What is left?

My faithful love for you will remain, my covenant of blessing will never be broken. Isaiah 54:10

Or…Just call my name, I’ll be there in a hurry
You don’t have to worry

He is left. God. Hopefully He doesn’t have to send you into exile just to prove your security is truly in Him alone for you to cling to Him; but He will do what it takes-scale all these mountains and hills to show you His love is what remains when everything else is gone.

His love is the mountain to cling to; the hill that won’t disappear. There is no mountain too high, and no valley too low for God to get to us. And it doesn’t fade away like those other things. Don’t wait until all those things are gone and your in exile to receive it right now-and every day thereafter.

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On Trend: Love

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14

The teen years. It’s a rite of passage. And if you, as we are, are raising a teen; it can also be a day by day struggle to build a healthy sense of self. How exactly? Well, as it is with adults at times, what you wear, and how you present yourself to the world…well, it determines your social status. Put on the wrong pair of pants, and you could just be the laughing stock of the entire school! How embarrassing!

Paul in Colossians 3 discusses a different type of dress. One that has nothing to do with the outward appearance that we seem to be so obsessed with. As he mentions in verse 14, the most important part of this outfit is love. He lists it as the one thing that binds everything together.

How true this is.

Without love we cannot wear patience and mercy. We simply don’t have the capacity to do so. To extend these virtues out to others who get on our nerves or hurt us.

Without God’s love, we also don’t have the desire to remove our sin clothing. Those outfits that simply don’t belong in our closets anymore when we begin to walk with Christ. Those garments such as anger, lust, and greed. We have no use for them anymore. It’s time to purge them to make more room for the love God desires we wear instead.

Look, we could put on the trendiest outfit, but not put on love, and walk around with a downright rusty, crusty heart. The world may be satisfied, but God wouldn’t be.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather someone judge my ‘fit harshly, and see a heart that reflects God.

His outfit is the only one that is worthy of wearing. His is the only ‘fit that’s gonna get you His Kingdom garments.

Clothe yourselves with love.

The Original “Ride or Die”

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Ride or die.

It’s a term actually originated in the 1950’s by bikers referring to the fact that if they couldn’t ride, they would rather die. It is now being used to refer to relationships-those that are romantic in nature, friendly, and some even toxic (think “Bonnie and Clyde” here).

When we use the phrase, what are we referring to? What are the qualities that make someone a “ride or die?” It is usually someone who is fiercely loyal. Someone who will face problems with you head-on, alongside you. Someone who will “ride” with you, even when the ride becomes bumpy, filled with potholes, and may even be filled with danger. They will sacrifice themselves for you.

Do you know anyone like this? A partner? A friend?

I do.

His name is Jesus.

The OG “ride or die.”

Let’s fact check this one. Does Jesus fit our modern description?

Loyal? Check. He was about his Father’s business, no one else’s (Luke 2:49).

Encourager? Check. Jesus did not desire that those close to him would remain the way they were. Trapped by their past, or doubting their gifts. He took some of those rejected by society and made them his disciples-teaching them how to lead others after he was gone.

Honest? Check. Jesus did not dodge the truth. He didn’t sugar coat to make his disciples feel better. He spoke the truth in love. Even when it wasn’t popular.

Supportive at all times? Check. Jesus provided a way back to him when others went astray, offering mercy and forgiveness to those who were truly repentant (See Luke 22:54-62 and John 21:15-17)

Willing to sacrifice? Check. Jesus would rather die than allow us to continue in our own path of destruction. He sacrificed himself, not just for a few, but for the entire gang of us.

I would say that makes him the original “ride or die.” The truest definition of the term. The example of sacrifice and laying down one’s life for those we love.

There is no greater love than that one.

Through You They May Know Him

I didn’t know if I could do it. Yet again. Have another conversation with another grieving relative. The fourth in less than two weeks. Countless in the last couple years. The number of people who had lost loved ones due to various reasons over this pandemic is astounding. The number of times I have processed grief the same, while shutting off my own emotions on the topic.

I was hesitant to make the call. To check-in. To offer “condolences,” and all those words that are supposed to sound so pleasant and helpful but end up just sounding so flat. My heart was heavy, and I didn’t know how many more conversations I could have like this one. The phone interrupted my thoughts. Interrupted me as I dialed the number.

Yes, this is Ms. January. Sure, I have time to talk.

“She talks so much about you. She mentions Ms. January all the time, so I had to call to see if you could help.”

I didn’t get it. I hadn’t seen her in weeks. She had likely been avoiding me. Teens often do when adults hold them accountable, and I am the kind that well, holds them accountable.

This didn’t make sense to me.

Until it did.

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see. Matthew 5:16

Christ. He lives in me. Once accepted, he made me new. He placed a spirit within me that meant I also possess a certain light-the light of His love. His mercy. His grace. Sometimes it doesn’t require I say anything. Or that when I do, I do so in love. Still holding accountable for choices that are not the best, but always with the purpose of moving someone to a place of growth. Never condemnation or shame.

I may never speak the name of Jesus in the places I walk into. In the office spaces I occupy. In the halls in which I walk.

But…I can be certain of this: They will encounter Him though my actions. My words. My love.

If they never see a church pew. If they never sing a hymn, they will at least have encountered Him. They will see His grace and His light through me.

The one who “sees” you

Ever had to do an assignment in which you were asked to think about your funeral? Never. Well…I had never been either, until reading through the next chapter in the weekly devotional my husband and I have been completing together.

Full disclosure: We are on our second round. Really our first and less than half. Let me explain: We got through the first few weeks upon first starting it, only to stop because of a misunderstanding. We misunderstood the others motivation and motives. We also only read it halfway. Meaning we did none of the actual written work.

So…we started over. From the beginning, because sometimes this is what you have to do in marriages, even long ones-start over.

But really? Funeral planning? Who wants to think about that? No one, really. We didn’t that night, either. But I did think of this: what would I want to be said about me upon my leaving? What would I want to be known for? Essentially-how do people see me? Do they even see the real me at all?

I now know. How he sees me, anyway. My husband, that is. A small part of the things he sees me do, that he knows bring God glory. The things he knows about me. My likes. Dislikes. My passions. My gifts. The things that time, commitment, and pure respect allow a person to see.

This-that pic above-was what I walked into on Sunday morning. I wasn’t going to share this. Thought it could be one of those humble brags. And I am trying to watch those. Watch how they may make others feel, because I know how I tend to compare. Worry at times if my gifts. My talents. Heck, even just me…are good enough compared to others. And I know I’m not alone. The constant bombarding of pics and accomplishments on social media ensures we are not alone in these feelings.

But, I realized something later.

I didn’t put this together. I didn’t slap pictures on this board. I didn’t even choose those that would be placed there.

My husband did.

I have wondered at times how others see me. How I am viewed by those that encounter me, spend time with me. Am I a good mother? What would my kids say about me? And yes, if I were to go tomorrow, who would write my eulogy? What would they say?

It’s eye-opening to see yourself through the eyes of another; even if at first the pictures staring at you from a board are a bit jarring.

I asked my husband in passing who dared to display an entire board of ME, to which he calmly responded, “Me.” Thinking nothing of it, I later did. A lot. This is how he sees me.

My husband didn’t know me as that little girl in that “then” picture, but he knows about her. He’s heard the stories, and for a good part of a year he watched me fight to find the parts of her I let die. Find the parts of her I held back because someone put her light out once. He listened to the parts of the little girl that didn’t have a voice, that came out to roar. Sometimes in not so loving ways. And he still honored her. The little girl she was, and the woman she is now.

He knows my coffee and how I like it. He could go to Starbucks and order it, and wouldn’t have to ask me beforehand what I wanted. He’s the one who knows I like the Holiday Blend and buys it in bulk-just because. He sees her. He cares for her. He honors her. Even when she hasn’t had her coffee, and is irritable.

He knows where I enjoy my coffee, and knows it includes a blanket, a Bible, or a book. He knows I have an extreme fondness for Christmas, and DIY’ing costumes, decorations, and themed costumes and holiday decor. He knows this. He may shake his head, and think some of it is silly, but he honors me. Respects me.

He knows I have several tattoos on my body, but there’s one that’s special. He knows my life verse, and that tattoo is it. He knows this, because he knows me. He honors me.

He has supported every ministry endeavor I have been “called” to, even if some I was not able to accomplish. He listened to me, heard my sorrows. Shared in my adventures. Some that even involved slime, duct tape, and whipped cream pies. He has prayed with me and for me, and knew without ever complaining that he was a “co-children’s pastor,” “co-Liberian pastor,” “co-whatever” by default. Because he knows God. He honors Him, and in turn honors me, and what I am called to do for Him.

He is responsible for the motivation to pursue dreams, because he didn’t allow me to sit and wallow; or give up on them. He touted them, praised them, helped me even tweak some. Because he honors me. He honors the gifts God has given me.

He has seen me fail. He has seen me rock babies, and grandbabies. Sweat over test results. Triumphed over small kid victories. And climbed every parenting hill and mountain with me. He has been by my side for surgeries. Been my nurse, and for several weeks after wrist surgery even carried my bright blue purse. He watched me cry after an important meeting didn’t go so well, and told me how great I was…even if I left the meeting feeling so less than.

He sees me as a superhero, and has said as much (even in said meeting) . He believes it even when he knows I have been anything but at times. He has been patient when I not so. He has been strong when I have been weak. He has seen the worst in me, been through the worst with me; and never faltered.

He has seen mistakes. He has seen mountains moved. He has seen wavering. He has seen steadfastness. He has seen hidden pain. He has seen healing. He has seen the frayed edges often hidden behind the surface, and he has stayed to watch the edges become seamless again. He has watched me come unglued, and has patiently waited for God to put me back together.

He has seen bad.

Yet still chooses to see good.

At the end of the day, this is what it takes to be a godly man. Because God sees our bad, but still chooses to see good too.

God sees our worst, and helps us become our best.

He knows us.

He honors us.

He respects us.

Ours has not been perfect. My goodness, no. But we have one thing that insists we stay the course and see each other past the worst we sometimes give: God.

Maybe you don’t have the one. You know the one. The one all the dating apps tell you you’ll find. Maybe you haven’t found the one who “sees” you just yet. Who sees past your habits, quirks, crazy desire for kettle-cooked chips, or those things others just don’t tolerate for long. You can search for the ONE: God. He is the ONE who sees you. Everything about you. And still sees you with nothing but love. Honor. Respect. Just reach for that ONE.

With Him you can rest assured someone always sees you.

Making peace with the Proverbs 31 woman

I have always had a love/hate relationship with the Proverbs 31 woman. I had a desire to be this Biblical gold standard, but then at other times, it seemed to be another standard I could just never live up to. I mean, really. Come on. She finds wool and flax, and spins it (v 13); she plants a vineyard (v 16); and she makes her own bedspreads (v 22). I don’t do any of this!

I decided to turn my love/hate relationship into one of understanding.

Who is she? And why is there an entire chapter devoted to her in the Bible? The last chapter of Proverbs, in fact; when so many others have focused on a different type of woman-an evil, manipulative, promiscuous, and adulterous woman. One who uses her beauty to deceive and lure.

Maybe because she is in fact the total opposite of those described in Chapters 5, 6, and 7. One closer to God. She is more than a woman who is “bitter poison” (5:4), or “cares nothing about the path of life” (5:6).

She honors God. Loves God. Does His will. Seeks Him first.

The writer of this well-versed chapter makes this difference known in the very first verses of Chapter 31. According to the author (King Solomon…who actually needed this advice), King Lemuel was actually given this advice from his mother: “Don’t dilute your strength on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.” Proverbs 31:3, MSG. Those chronicled in those earlier chapters; those that bring destruction. Momma goes on to describe what kind of woman she desires for her boy.

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12, NLT

Virtuous. Other translations describe her as noble. In other words, righteous. Good. Honest. Upright.

And she isn’t just trusted and honored by her husband. But most importantly-God.

Momma wanted the King to find him a godly woman. One of integrity. Honesty. With strong moral character.

One who was the same in secret as she was in public.

Our Heavenly husband desires this as well.

If you look back to those other chapters, those women (and ladies…let’s not be remiss to realize that men can be these things, too. This isn’t just for the ladies)…what do we find? Worldly qualities. Things folks desire simply from seeing, hearing, and trusting things other than one’s character. “Words like honey.” (Proverbs 5:4). “Lustful beauty and coy glances meant to seduce” (Proverbs 6:25).

The P31 woman is much more than looks, charm or words. She walks with God, and she mirrors His ways. When she speaks she doesn’t speak words to deceive or beguile. She speaks words of praise. Encouragement. Truth in love. She is a woman of integrity, and God has confidence and trust in her decisions, because they match the truth she reads. The life she lives, and the way she speaks.

She desires good for everyone. Not destruction. Most of all, she desires God.

And she desires Him for others, too.

I used to hate her, but now I love her. I used to want to be anything BUT her, but now she’s all I want to be.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Proverbs 31:25-26, 30

That’s a godly woman. A woman of truth and integrity. A woman I long to be.

Note: Now that I have made peace with the Proverbs 31 woman, and continue to find peace with myself, I have some ways for you to do the same. Come back this weekend for an exciting announcement!

WWJD: Love that never ends

Love never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies. 1 Corinthians 13, MSG

In the last several weeks, I have gone through the various aspects of love that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13. Today, I wrap up the truth about that elusive and often misunderstood “Love Chapter.” We now know the love we are called to show, the love that reflects God and His Son requires patience, kindness, has no room for envy, or selfishness; and desires the truth be heard and told.

We all want love. We all want to be loved. Even more-we all want a love that never ends. But are we looking in the wrong places? Are we rejecting the One who can deliver on this?

Love. It is the thing we all crave. We all want to feel connected to someone who accepts us. Every messy part. Love is one of our deepest desires, and can also be one of our deepest hurts. Because we often focus on earthly love. The kind we desperately seek from each other. The kind that often disappoints. Too busy at times to meet our needs. It doesn’t always put up with our flaws, or even accept us. It can sometimes be selfish, and fail us.

And it fails us because we forget its source.

Its source comes from the love of the Father. Our Heavenly Father.

It’s the thing that God purposed, because it was important to Him-for us to know love. So important the word alone appears 551 times in the New International Version of the Bible. It is mentioned in relation to God’s presence. It is mentioned to describe how He expects us to love others. It is more than just a mere word.

The word “love” is thrown around between people all the time. It is used to quantify how we feel about things, and flippantly said to people. For instance, I say all the time I love tacos. I could eat tacos every day. I enjoy many versions of tacos, and I like to cook them-a lot.

Yes, love is a really strong word. Not the same as “like.” See, because I really only like tacos. I am not so sure I should be using “love” to describe how fond I am of them.

This is why: It cheapens the full extent of what love truly is. When I say I love this, or I love that; or say “I love you, too” out of obligation; It is often due to what I am getting out of that thing, or from that someone.

See, tacos feed me. They don’t provide any additional support beyond my plate. No…that kind of “love” only feeds my cravings and desires.

And it will most certainly die. When that craving or desire for that thing fades, so will the “love.”

Because love is more than mere words. It’s more than a mere desire or craving. It doesn’t die away once the need is met; and it’s not waiting around to get something in return. Jesus loved and cared for a number of people who could never give Him anything in return. There wasn’t anything Jesus needed, besides others to just know His Daddy. And His Daddy went through great lengths to make sure we knew His love was for real. Unfailing, and would never die.

God went that far for us because loves goes the distance. It goes the extra mile. And it goes after that which has been lost.

I recall this story told one Sunday morning during a missions service at church. I can’t recall the speaker, but I do recall him telling a story of a woman who would enter the church each Sunday, sit on the front row, and save a seat for her loved one. In the hopes they would one day be seated next to her.

Because love goes the distance. It shows up. Even if it is in vain each and every time, with the expectation that one day, the one we love will show up beside us, part of our Heavenly family.

She was serious about it, and He was, too. So serious about it, He has been in heavy pursuit of you since the beginning. Long before you ever knew of Him. Long before you may ever accept Him, and He continues to pursue us. To woo us, until we finally say yes.

Love goes the extra mile. It doesn’t get to this point and decide-nope. This is as far as I will come to get to that one. It goes further and further and further. Reaching and reaching and reaching, until it is finally accepted.

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.” Luke 15:4-7, MSG

Like that. He pursues the one, over the 99 that already know Him, just so that lost one will know His love. Yes, it is THAT serious to Him.

It surrenders all. All its own needs, wants, and wishes. It’s hatred, jealousy, and feelings. Its own son. Its own life.

Love is often unexplainable. Not measurable. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it can seem reckless to the one who doesn’t know the unfailing love of God. They can’t understand why we would keep going, sacrifice ourselves so someone could know who He is, and how much He loves. It looks reckless to those who don’t believe. It just won’t make sense.

Because God’s love is what is referred to as “agape” love. Making a conscious choice to love someone unconditionally. Willfully desire the best for them. Place their needs above yours. Unfailingly.

Paul was right when he stated that love kept going to the end, because the love of God has no end. It reaches into the darkest places to yank us out into the light. Forgiving. Redeeming. And never bringing the past up again.

That kind of love is the kind of love that’s undying, and its offered to you from the only One who can truly keep the promise: “I will never leave you or abandon you?” (Hebrews 13:5) He is pursuing you. Everyday. Are you going to finally say “yes” to His undying love?

WWJD: Keep on loving

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7, NLT

Ever wanted to give up on someone? Just wave your hands in the air, accept defeat, and let them go on about their (usually destructive) business?

I know I have.

But something often stops me. Yes, I am a softy. My best friend tells me I am “too nice.” I have made it a personal goal to set some hard, fast boundaries around my limits and heart; but there are some things, God will not allow me to relinquish. Even though I want to just give up.

It reminds me of a story of another woman who was persistent in the saving. The Shunamite woman. Her story begins in 2 King 4, and she is not named, she is only listed in the King James Version as a “great woman,” and in other versions, as a “wealthy woman.” She had everything she needed, but one thing-a son. Elisha would come into town, and each time he did, he would come have dinner with the wealthy family, and the woman, knowing he was a man of God, made a place for him, a place for him to stay. She took such good care of him, she was promised a child; but then something happens to that child.

One day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters. Suddenly he cried out, “My head hurts! My head hurts!” His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.” So the servant took him home, and his mother held him on her lap. But around noontime he died. She carried him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and left him there. 2 King 4:18-21, NLT

She wanted him to be saved. To be healed. She loved him dearly. And you must believe, so did God. And sometimes this is where we end up wanting to give up. The desire to save becomes too much. Too much to carry. It seems we want it more at times than the other person, and we can even grow resentful, angry, and bitter. There are also times when we give so much of ourselves we can enable others not to seek their own saving.

And don’t get me wrong here, I realize I am talking about love today. And I am writing about not giving up. Not losing hope, remaining faithful and steadfast in love. But we can do this, and let go. We can do this and give those people back to God.

Did the Shunamite woman not do this with her son? Did she not love him simply because she carried Him to the one who could truly save Him, and let him go. Let God do His work?

But how do we do this? How do we continue to be faithful, hopeful, and loving; yet not give up on the people we just can’t carry any longer? How do we lay our burdens, our “sons” at the feet of Jesus?

Prayer.

We love by praying.

We continue to remain hopeful that God hears our pleas for their salvation. We do not give up praying that they seek truth and wisdom from Him.

This is how we demonstrate faithfulness and perseverance in love to those we just have to let go.

Never stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Never stop. Don’t give up. Always remain hopeful that He hears you, and He cares about those you love.