“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:26
This time of year often carries a different meaning for different people. Many people love this time of year because it is filled with the holidays, fun, family, food and love. Other people dread this time of year because it can reflect a time of grief for loved ones not here, conflict in families, loneliness and stress. I personally fall right in the middle of these two categories.
I spent this afternoon setting up my Christmas tree and hanging decorations for the holiday season – a fairly common ‘ritual’ for most people around this time of year. But it was while listening to the meaning behind the lyrics of the Christmas songs that were playing in the background while warming my hands and feet in front of the fireplace that I was inspired to write this post.
Earlier this week I was extremely frustrated and stressed about some personal matters. I had a hard time dealing with the emotions associated and found myself yelling at God in anger because I just didn’t understand why it was happening or how to fix it (as if it was God’s fault). Instead of humbly asking God to help me, I was angry with Him… and carried this anger with me all week!
As my heart started to race and tears began to shed this morning in church I couldn’t help but ask God for forgiveness, help and guidance. He reminded me of Friday afternoon when my high school students displayed the sort of love that is often times only revealed through God.
One of my seniors had injured her self fairly severely in an activity and immediately my students took action. What I didn’t realize until I got into my car that afternoon was the type of love they displayed. A type of love we don’t often talk about and doesn’t always get recognition – unspoken love. In a matter of seconds I had students leading with their heart; one student ran to get an ice pack, another ran to get a wheelchair, another ran to get a cell phone to call the girl’s mom and another ran to get a nurse while others stood by to encourage her and dry her tears. Seconds later one student boldly suggested, “I think we should pray” and she led her remaining classmates in a prayer. What was so beautiful about this moment was the realization that they did this all without my instruction – it came purely from the love in their hearts. It was a very proud and memorable moment for me and more importantly for God. I guarantee that young lady left school feeling deeply loved.
It was in my reflection this morning and again later this afternoon that I realized how simple it is to display love and conversely receive love without words (just like my students modeled on Friday). Like…the unspoken love of laughter, the unspoken love of a warm hug, the unspoken love of a card filled with X’s and O’s, the unspoken love of holding someone’s hand, the unspoken love of a listening ear, the unspoken love of dancing to no music, the unspoken love of a child climbing into your lap, the unspoken love of a knowing glance, the unspoken love of a tiny hand grabbing your finger or the unspoken love of serving someone else. Who doesn’t like to give and receive this kind of love?
But I believe the most obvious and powerful unspoken love we can receive is the love of God. No matter how angry we may be with Him (or ourselves), no matter what sin we violate, no matter how broken our hearts may be or how lonely we may feel we can find peace, comfort and hope in the unspoken love of God. It was the unspoken love of God that filled my heart this morning when I needed it the most. He continued to love me even when I didn’t deserve it.
God hears every unspoken word, sees every unseen wound and mends every unbearable pain. There is no problem He can’t solve or question He can’t answer. We just have to be patient enough to listen and faithful enough to trust Him.
So as we enter into a time of holiday cheer, laughter, fun, family, food and love, lets not forget about those who don’t have anyone to celebrate with or those who are facing health challenges, a family crisis or overwhelming stress. Not only should we embrace the love in the everyday things around us but also display and share the unspoken love of God in our hearts to those who may need the hope and love of Jesus the most during this time.
“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.” Jerry Bridges