"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." 1 John 4:7-11
Every spring when we would drive around and see all of creation waking up and turning beautiful, there would be one kind of tree in particular that would catch my eye. Beautiful flowering crab-apple trees that would turn a stunning color of fuchsia would just take my breath away, and I would see them, and say to Andy that some day, we would have one of those trees. Some day we would have one of these beautiful trees that God created.
And every spring as the kids and I would go walking around town, we would stop and smell different flowers along our route. We would go visit someone who had lilac bushes and I would stop and literally bury my nose deep in the blossoms. There is no fragrance like a lilac, and it is one my absolute favorite flowers- always has been.
And then there is the honeysuckle. The honeysuckle is my absolute favorite fragrance of spring. I can identify a honeysuckle from far away by simply closing my eyes and inhaling. That sweet, sweet fragrance, that I know that God created just for me, sends my senses into overdrive. It fills me with a euphoria of sorts to smell that honeysuckle in the spring.
I tell you all these things this morning to tell you just how much God loves me. He loves me so much, that 15 years (or so) ago when the people living in our house were landscaping, He had them put in these very plants. He looked ahead to the future, and He saw me living here, and He decided that He was going to put flowering crab-apple, lilac, AND honeysuckle all in this yard, just because all these years later, I would be living here, and I would enjoy them. God put these very plants here in this yard because He knew just how much they would delight me.
My flowering crab-apples are just beginning to blossom and they are nothing short of stunning. I wake up in the morning, look out my bedroom window, and all I can see are branches loaded with beautiful fuchsia blossoms. How can I not see that and think about how great God is to put that tree there for me? How can I not look around my yard and thank God every time I glance towards the lilac, or giggle at the thought of that honeysuckle getting ready to open up it's blossoms.
God is love! And like a father preparing to give his child a gift, He has been preparing this house for me and my family to live here! And it was with His perfect timing as well. Had we moved here in the fall, like we originally planned in our moving desires, the crab-apple trees would not be flowering and they would be making a horrible mess with their fruit and leaves, and we may very well have decided to have them removed. But God knew. God knew that I would be smitten with these trees. God knew how much these blossoms would fill my heart with joy, and He wanted me to move here just as they were about to explode.
I just feel so blessed and so incredibly loved. Every day, every few hours, I look around and I practically have to pinch myself because I can't believe how good God has been to us. It sometimes seems kind of cliche to say that we praise God when we win and we praise God when we lose, but then when you really and truly are at a high point- it feels like the praise we do is simply not enough. Our praise just doesn't seem adequate for thanking God for how blessed we really feel right now. And the thing is, now that we're here, now that we are totally delighting in God's provision, there is also the big part of us that is wondering what is next. Why did God bring us here? We know He wanted us here because we wanted to be here, but what is our purpose here? We're excited to learn that too.
But today, I'm feeling the love. I've been feeling the love since the day I unlocked the door and stepped in for the first time. God is truly in the house, and all I want to do is share that. I feel so loved that if I don't share that love, I feel as if I am going to burst. And isn't that the point really? As I read these verses above in 1 John today, that's exactly what it is telling me. That God loves me, and He loves my neighbor, and it's up to me to share that love with my neighbor if they don't know that love yet. And when I really and truly love God, I won't be able to help it. That love will just come out, and I'll have to share it with everyone around me. But do you know what the greatest thing about feeling God's love today is? He doesn't just love me. He loves you. And He loves your neighbor, and He loves that girl behind the checkout counter, and that guy crossing the street. And He loves that quiet co-worker who stays in their cubicle most of the day. How are you going to show God's love to them today?
As I looked out my window at those beautiful flowering trees, I felt God's love just sweep into the room and gently envelop me. And I thought to myself, okay God, help me share this today. Maybe that's where it all begins. Maybe it begins with a willingness to be a vessel for that love- to carry it with us and share it whenever the opportunity arises. There's a commercial that has been on TV for a while now that shows people helping people in different circumstances, and then someone else sees that help and gets inspired to help someone else on their own, and it becomes a cycle of sorts. Imagine the cycle that could be started if we all walked around sharing God's love! Imagine the possibilities if instead of the idea of "paying it forward" we just ran with the idea of "giving it all away!" Because I suspect that if we purposed each and every day to give away all the God-Love we have in us, that God would fill it right back up again. Seems to me that would be a good problem to have.
God. Is. Love.