Sad Lonely Afraid Angry Glad
I was leading one of my men’s small groups yesterday and several of the guys were talking about the tenderness of God’s loving pursuit in their lives. There were some tears in the sharing and much gratitude for how God was using the men in the group to help them not just “know” but to actually experience the love of Christ.
I desire to be loved but I resist it. I resist it because the experience of being loved requires surrender. It’s painful. When someone tells me they love me my first response is one of two polar extremes, both of which are forms of refusal. I don’t believe them because the tape plays that if they really knew me they wouldn’t love me . . . so their love for me is based upon ignorance. Or I don’t believe them because I’m confident they love me because of what I’m able to do for them to merit their expression of love . . . so their love for me is based upon my performance.
Either way, I’m refusing the pain of surrender in exchange for the perceived security of control. If I can decide what is and is not lovable about me, I’m in control. If I can do enough to earn your love for me, I’m in control.
The most powerful force on the planet is love. In its purest form (where I’m both known and loved), love is also the most resisted force even while it is the most desired.
Last night my best friend loaded up his family in a min-van to leave for a year of training in the Lower 48 with Chip Dodd and Phil Herndon at the Center for Professional Excellence. As I stood there about to say goodbye, I felt a tidal wave of emotion from somewhere deep inside me rush up my throat and explode out of my eyes. I didn't fight it or hold it in check. I held my good friend and wept into his shoulder . . . shaking. I was so sad. It hurt. If I didn't love this friend it would not have hurt like this and it would not have been so sad. On my drive home, I realized there was a ton of gratefulness in my tears. This was a friend who God has been using to wear down my resistance to being loved.
Prior to the group meeting earlier in the day yesterday, some of the guys were discussing some of what is happening here in Alaska and around the world through Sage Hill. One of the guys said, “This is so BIG.” As I heard these words, I looked out of the corner of my eye to the whiteboard in my office that listed the names of the 50 men currently being discipled here in Anchorage through Sage Hill and I said, “Yes, it’s big. But it happens one man at a time! And that’s how Jesus did it. It’s BIG, but at the same time, it’s really SMALL.”
A small army of men and women partner financially with Sage Hill to allow us to take the LOVE of Jesus Christ to men, women, and children here in the United States and around the world. While our influence together stays SMALL (one person at a time), the scope of where this is taking us is BIG – even mind-boggling. And while our work together here in Alaska, the Lower 48, or in far off countries happens one man and one woman at a time (SMALL), to that particular man or that particular woman, that’s BIG!
The men in my small groups and the friend I said goodbye to last night are being used by God to change me (SMALL). From my perspective this morning, that's BIG.