(The cover photo here is of my buddy Thomas Atkins in a cave he took some friends into on Black Friday after Thanksgiving this year. Really enjoy our adventures through the years!)
Have you ever swum against a tide? My brother-in-law and I years ago went swimming in San Diego. We jumped in and started swimming. I knew the tide was pulling us out in what’s called a “rip tide” and honestly… it was fun! He headed in toward the shore and it was impressive to see him counter that tide with a brave and strong butterfly and then a tough freestyle stroke until he got back to the shore wiped out. I didn’t feel like taking that approach and instead went diagonally back toward the shore still needing to swim pretty hard but a little longer approach; both of us were strong swimmers and both of us were pretty pooped after those swims. Neither route was better than the other, but it meant we didn’t swim together for a bit.
Now all these years later I find myself in a similar situation, and yet it’s not just with my brother-in-law… It’s with a great deal more people, and it’s not regarding water, it’s regarding something much deeper and stronger.
God pulls us into the deep of His love, and it’s my belief that the heat and passion we have seen with the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 Presidential Election and Covid19, and a few other really big topics this year… it’s just that, heat and passion from some strong and tough people worked up over some pretty serious things. That said, when we take a few steps back, it’s evident that this too shall pass, as my Grammy used to say. She softened in her heart over the years to other races and she eventually softened to Jesus Christ Himself right before she passed.
My prayerful hope is to see this tide of God’s love pull us all out into the ocean of His love, God’s love, not just generic human love. God’s love is pure and holy and eternal. God’s love isn’t fickle or anxious about what any one of us nor group of us thinks of Him. He is however concerned and aware of our thoughts of and beliefs regarding His Son, Jesus Christ. A.W. Tozer once said that the most important thing about any of us is what we believe about and how we respond to Jesus Christ.
Over the last couple of years I have really enjoyed watching The Chosen emerge as a readily available smart phone app and TV series (online). In this series I’ve gotten to be re-captivated by our Savior, Jesus Christ. I’ve been softened by His love for humanity and toughened up for the labor of life as I see how Jesus lived, how Jesus devoted Himself to engaging with others with truth and grace and God’s perfect Agape love.
Agape love captivates me over and over. This love is the strongest tide anyone will ever know, the love of God that pulls us in and overwhelms us. At times in this tide of God’s love, we feel we are going to be consumed and over-powered to the point of our death. At that point is when we realize how all-consuming God’s love really is. It is in fact necessary for us to die to ourselves, to come to the end of ourselves. Once we crawl up onto the shore and sit together, we can’t help but to be in awe of the holiness and worth of our God, having engaged with the Holy One Himself. When we are with one another as genuine followers of Jesus, our cultural and historical differences are in the shadow of God’s awesome worth and glory and goodness. We stand back and can’t help but to raise our arms and worship the King of kings and LORD of lords.
May we come together and love this love… that may sound cheesy, but that’s exactly what we are called to do together!
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love steadfast love/kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Though our swim may look different, and though we may find ourselves in different lanes presently due to the divisive aspects of 2020, may we all be awe-struck at the love of God for humanity throughout history. God loves us so much He sent His Son to die in our place and give us eternal life! May we struggle and wrestle and resist His love even, but eventually be so overwhelmed by it that we ride it out into the sea of God’s grace and know His intentions to be ultimately pure and good and wise.