Love Shows Up
by Mary Southerland
For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, NIV).
It was one of those days. You know what I mean. The minute I opened my eyes, I could feel the weight of the darkness. All I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and pray that the world would go away and leave me alone.
But it won’t. I know that.
I have responsibilities – deadlines to meet, people who are counting on me, and things I need to get done.
So I do what I always do on those days…
I take a deep breath, cry out to God for the strength to get out of bed, and literally make myself get up. That is the first victory of the day. Yes! I then get dressed – another victory – and even though each step feels like I am walking through quicksand, I keep walking, thanking God for each small battle won.
I have a sweet friend, Sara, who has more days like this than I can imagine. I really don’t know how she lives her life. Well, I do. Her faith in God is unshakable.
Sara has enormous health mountains to climb … I am talking serious, life-hindering physical diseases. Sara is a wonderful wife, the mother of four beautiful children, and does it all with a smile on her face and a sense of humor second to none. Sara is also a relentless encourager. I love her. Her faith challenges me and calls me up higher.
Sara always seems to know when I am having a bad day. I will invariably get a text or a message on Facebook from her asking what I am doing and how I am doing. And I cannot lie to the girl. She will know.
So last week, when I was having a pretty bad day, Sara sent me a message. She was having a good day. I was so glad. That girl deserves every good day she can get! And then she asked how I was. When I told her it was one of those days and that I was working on my lesson for my weekly online Bible Study, she encouraged me and said she would be praying for me.
I got back to work, trudging through every word, desperately trying to put together sentences and truths that would somehow minister to the women who are enrolled in my study. I prayed like crazy for God’s help, but felt like my prayers were bouncing off of the ceiling.
I heard the “bing” on my computer telling me I had a message on Facebook. I had forgotten to turn it off like I normally do when I am working on a writing assignment. The message was from Sara.
“I left you a little treat on the chair by your front door. Happy writing!” the message said. Unbelievable! The woman is unbelievable!
I literally ran to the front door and flung it open. Sitting on the chair was a large chocolate candy bar wrapped in bright cellophane paper covered in smiley faces. And it was not just any old chocolate bar. It was a Ghirardelli Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt bar … my favorite! I hugged it to my heart like the treasure it was – love wrapped in cellophane and chocolate.
Love showed up. I knew the effort behind that gift. I knew how much it had cost Sara. Not the money … but the sheer energy.
I sat down and relished every delicious bite of that candy bar. I ate the whole thing and finished my whole lesson … because love showed up. God’s love showed up through Sara.
I know. I know God’s love does so many big things in our lives. God’s love transforms the ugliness of life into a beautiful trophy of grace. Love covers the scars of sin. Love heals wounds and eases pain. Jesus was and is the living illustration and certain fulfillment of His Father’s love. The love of God is unconditional and unfailing and will stubbornly pursue us no matter where we go, no matter what we do or don’t do. God’s love satisfies the deepest longings of our soul, enables us to love ourselves, and frees us to love others.
God’s love shows up in big ways … but sometimes it is when God’s love shows up in little ways that He really gets to me. I am reminded that God is real … that He is faithfully present, and that He really does care about every minute detail of my life.
How about you? Is there somebody in your life that needs God’s love to show up through you today?