Monday, February 15, 2010

Love, The Last Kernel

A lot of things on my mind recently. But I guess so many things, I can't seem to find a very clear theme. Maybe must be the haze making me feel all hazy LOL.

I guess Prov 13:12 has been describing my state of mind recently. Hmm. Looking forward to meeting with Peter to just share what's on my mind recently. Thank God for his jokes whenever I feel down. =)

Hmm. I remember meeting up with Hong Teck last week. Among the things we chatted about, he asked me to prepare some sharing on serving God in children's ministry, even as introverts. He said that my story will bring hope to many people. Felt touched when he said that. :)

Hope. Hmm. Disappointments? I think so. I think... the worst kind of disappointment seems to be... when hopes are raised, and then they seem so far away suddenly. I guess that's why a lot of people choose not to have dreams, or even longing for anything better. They have chosen to insulate their hearts against hope, because they know how painful it can be.

It's a bit like when the prophet Elisha promised a rich woman who had helped provide him and his servant with a good room and food
:" 15 Then Elisha said, "Call her." So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 "About this time next year," Elisha said, "you will hold a son in your arms."
"No, my lord," she objected. "Don't mislead your servant, O man of God!" "
But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her. And what happened after that...
18 The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. 19 "My head! My head!" he said to his father.
His father told a servant, "Carry him to his mother." 20 After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. 21 She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.

22 She called her husband and said, "Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return."

23 "Why go to him today?" he asked. "It's not the New Moon or the Sabbath."
"It's all right," she said.

24 She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, "Lead on; don't slow down for me unless I tell you." 25 So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, "Look! There's the Shunammite! 26 Run to meet her and ask her, 'Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?' "
"Everything is all right," she said.

27 When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, "Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me why."

28 "Did I ask you for a son, my lord?" she said. "Didn't I tell you, 'Don't raise my hopes'?"
Yes, I think I can identify with the woman's feelings here.

Hope. What a precious word... and what a fragile thing. Like a crystal vase, it is an exquisite work of promise... and one that is so easily shattered.

Perhaps it's a better thing not to hope, because in a fallen world, it is so painful. And yet, Scripture says that these three virtues shall remain: faith, hope and love.

Hope. Come to think of it... we do have a living hope through Jesus rising from the dead. A living body gets wounded, yes. But cut it up to a limit, and it will yet repair itself.

Faith. Being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.

I guess I have hope, but I'm struggling right now to be sure.

Love. I recently thought about my CG. I wonder how much am I loving my brothers and sisters whom I can see. I feel so extremely limited and encumbered. I do want to grow in love - God, this heart is not enough. Please give me a bigger one. Stretch it! Break it! Torture it if needed! Yet... am I ready for the pain that is to come? Perhaps - if there is a hope that lies beyond winter.

Spring. Hope springs afresh.

I guess so many times I've looked and felt very low on hope. But I think God is training me to practise putting my hope in Him. And I am certain that I have gotten to know a very unique aspect of God's love that very few others have experienced. Maybe not even a very few - probably all of us who love God will experience Him in unique and different ways.

Still, I must confess that I'm still feeling very uncertain about how God is going to work everything out. And what lesson is He trying to teach me through this downtime. Hmm.

Hmm. I guess this is where faith comes in. Being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. Faith is a decision. And I believe it's grounded in our knowledge of God - as revealed through the Word who become flesh and spoke living words to us.

Come to think of it, do the 3 virtues form a self-supporting trinity? Faith is based on hope, and hope is the vision of better things to come... and love? Love lends meaning to hope, and hope is strengthened because it knows that there is something greater than itself - that even if it is totally gone, love will never fail. And so hope is strengthened, and faith likewise. And faith has solid ground to stand upon, because it knows that the hope it is based upon is trustworthy, because of the One who loved us.

It is the love of God that lends meaning even to the darkest and direst of situations. The dying concentration camp victim giving his entire bowl of soup to a near-comatose friend, even though he knows that the soup is almost useless for keeping anyone alive. The soldier who charges no-man's land to rescue his mortally-wounded friend, even though he knows well the futility of the whole gesture. The mother who hugs her child in a useless protective embrace even as the executioner raises his rifle to slay them both.

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."

When the last trumpet is sounded, when the angels grow silent, and the stars fall from the skies, and the sky is rolled up and the universe packed up and gone... when all hope is gone, and all faith collapses, yet love will triumph in the end. Because, ultimately, love is the true seed from which hope and faith draw their meaning and ultimately, their very existence. Like the phoenix rising anew from the flames, like new stars and planets arising out from an exploded star... like the kernel of wheat in springtime... so faith and hope spring anew from a love that falls to the ground and dies.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these three is love.

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