Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Stop! In the name of Love!

Today...I decided to post my "Daily Gratitude Post" over here.  The found image of a bear and then I used my scrapbook supplies to share the message. I hope your day bears beautiful things.

Daily Gratitude Year 3: Day 161: Today...I am grateful for bears...and bearers.
So...the "safety girl...grew up with "Mr. Life Is Too Short To Not Run at Full Throttle". Actually...there were two of them under the roof...the "original" and the "younger model."
I learned many lessons watching Dad and Matt! I learned to hold my breath...and how to pray for their safety (which helped me take a breath). And, I prayed that the work of their hands would be blessed. I was on the "cooking and coping" team that supported the work and pitched in when and where we were needed. Some days...we lived with the "bears" when things were not going well. Other times, we savored the fruits of the labor with the "bearers of good things." It all came in the same package deal.
Flash forward...recently we have been taking Mom and Aunt Judy to a specialist in Toledo. This is family adventure at it's finest. Last year, I posted on one particular hairy adventure traveling in white out conditions. I was so grateful for Matt and Uncle Larry's skill and hours behind the wheel...they carried the stress of the drive with grace and good humor. It was that trip that I first learned about "the bears" on every trip in the Suburban.
Jennifer said we had to watch for "bears". Really? On Illinois? This addiction to word play runs in the family and marries into it, just to keep the genes strong! So... every time we would get close to a turn or an exit... I would hear the GPS female voice announce... "Bear Right" or "Bear Left". We would look to the left or to the right on every turn in the road and there were never any "bears" to be seen. Not even once. Kind of disappointing. I like bears... at a safe distance.
Even more disappointing...Matt quickly and easily takes direction from that GPS woman...a virtual stranger who only shows up for the big trips in life... without questioning her! He does not even "know her"...yet, he trusts her directions without question (most of the time). Jennifer and I rarely have that experience. Of course...the truth of the matter is...when that GPS woman gets annoying, he can turn her off. wink emoticon Not so with wives and sisters.
Paul penned in 1 Corinthians 13:7: "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." Of course...Matt (and Randy...not to exclude my honey) have certainly had to bear my faults and failings. Matt for all of his life. And, my Randy, for nearly 30 years.
The word "bear" or "bearer" is defined as "to carry" or "one who carries". Love carries. Isn't that true? It carries the burdens, shares the joys...and divides the sorrows. Love holds us up and carries us. When life, circumstance, health issues, loss or troubles get us rescues us and gives us hope and strength to endure because we are not alone. Bearing, caring and sharing is a powerful thing.
Love carries us to a place of joy equal to none at the birth of a child, a child's first words, a "yes" to a marriage proposal, and an "I Do" before God, family and friends. June is a month for celebrating love. Think of the times you have swelled up with emotion so full that you experience "happy tears". A moment when you are so overwhelmed by love... that it leaks out (better the eyes than the bladder!).
Then, there is that most life changing act of love in history. It was the day the Son... who loved us so much... that he would CHOOSE to bear our sins. He carried them to the foot of an old rugged cross and allowed himself to be nailed to that tree so we could be free. Jesus would bear my sin... alone... for my pardon...and yours. Is it any wonder that at the moment of true understanding...confession...repentance and belief that happy tears spring from the well of former brokenness as new life begins? Birth...and rebirth often inspire happy tears.
So...we are to go forth and live our lives not as bears...but as bearers.
In Colossians 3:12, the teaching is to "dress for success." We are to put on "compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." These are definitely Jesus inspired and Holy Spirit refined character traits. Some are more easily developed than others. Practice. Practice. Practice. The more we "wear them", the more comfortable and naturally they fit.
The clear direction for behavior continues in verse 13:
" Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."
We are to "bear with one another"...not "bear left" or "bear right"...not be a bear... but "bear with". Apparently, complaints against each other are not new to human behavior...but common enough to be mentioned in this 2000 year old letter. "Forgiving as the Lord has forgiven you." Ouch...the instruction is clear. That "well of brokenness" , that he transforms into a "spring of living water", is supposed to flow with forgiveness, too.
How often did I casually pray "The Lord's Prayer"? Remember this line:
"Forgive us OUR SINS...AS WE FORGIVE those who sin against us?" Think about the implications. If ever the line of a prayer might plant terror in my would be that one. Forgive me in the same measure that I forgive others. How I shudder at the thought! is a key component in the prayer Jesus taught us. It is our "model prayer"...and example... so we know what to include when we pray. It is not magic. It is powerfully transforming. It leads me to infer that the "power of a prayer" and the "act of forgiveness" are stuck together like Gorilla glue... and not to be separated.
We are to be bearers of forgiveness reflecting the forgiveness that we have been granted.
Love bears all things. He is love. He bore all things that we might be free.
Today...I am grateful for bears (at a distance)...for those who forgive the bear in me...and bearers. Especially "The One" who hung on a we can be free.