Holy Father, Thank You for embodying the complete character of Love (1 John 4:16). In the midst of this crazy generation, we need desperately to see past the present and gaze into the eternal. As I remember Your everlasting Presence today, remind me of the unsearchable qualities of Your love. * You are patient with me (1 Corinthians 13:4). You wait as I dawdle. You guide as I hesitate. You carefully urge me along without exasperating over my immaturity (Ephesians 6:4). As I interact with others, may Your patience flow from me to them. * You are kind to me (1 Corinthians 13:4). You act benevolently, always offering Yourself to me as an ever-present help in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). You comfort when I hurt (2 Corinthians 1:3). You rejoice when I faith (Zephaniah 3:17). Your kindness always draws me back to You (Romans 2:4). As I communicate with others, may Your kindness extend from me to them. * You do not boil over with envy, hatred or jealousy toward me (1 Corinthians 13:4). Your beef with me ended when I faithed You (Hebrews 10:17). That is all You expected. You knew I couldn’t keep the Law (James 2:10). You have changed me from the inside out and given me Your Spirit in exchange for my own (2 Corinthians 5:17). You have put Your God seed within me so that I no longer enjoy sin (1 John 3:9). It’s not my nature now. And even when I do mess up, Your forgiveness absorbs the action as it happens without condemnation (Hebrews 10:14; Romans 8:1). As I interface with others, may Your same forgiveness spill over through me into their lives. * You’ve done everything for me through Christ and yet You remain humble about it (1 Corinthians 13:4). You emptied Yourself for me, so that I could understand You (Philippians 2:7). You are not puffed up and braggadocios about what You are doing in my life. I can worship You without You getting a big head about it. Instead of narcissistically patting Yourself on the back, You spend Your time building me up (1 Corinthians 8:1). As I meet others, may Your same humility extend to them through me. * You never act unbecoming (1 Corinthians 13:5). You only do what is fitting and appropriate. And often even that is hidden away from my view (Isaiah 45:15). How unsearchable are Your judgments and unfathomable Your ways (Romans 11:33)! You are far greater than my imagination or finite understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9). As I make contact with others, may Your appropriate actions in every situation work through me outward. * You never demand Your own way in my life (1 Corinthians 13:5). You stand at the door of my heart and knock. You request entrance into my mind and emotions rather than barging in (Revelation 3:20). You call me and lead me, but never with a heavy hand (John 10:4). Turn my affections into a willingness to obey (Luke 12:36). As I speak with others, may I extend Your same gentleness to them. * You are not irritated or provoked with me (1 Corinthians 13:5). This I truly cannot understand. I irritate myself! Yet, You — the God of the universe — are not provoked at me. Amazing. You don’t despise me and aren’t even sharp with me. Any stabs and jabs I hear are from the accuser (Zechariah 3:1). No, You have given me peace with You (Romans 5:1). You don’t just love me, but You really like me as well. You are okay with me! Hallelujah. As I deal with others, may I accept them like You accept me. * Now that You have forgiven me, You no longer measure my faults (1 Corinthians 13:5). That account book is closed. My individual debts are paid up and there is no outstanding balance on any of my accounts (Psalm 103:12)! You can’t even remember what my sins were in the first place (Hebrews 8:12)! Yes, O Lord, as I identify with others may I offer them the same forgetfulness of wrongs that You gave me (John 20:23). * Since You can’t remember my unrighteousness, You spend Your time in focusing on the righteousness of Christ in me (1 Corinthians 13:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Every time that righteousness wins a skirmish, You are there, cheering me on (Zephaniah 3:17). You congratulate me when I understand a fragment of Your truth. You take a hands-on approach to share my joy. As I interface with others, may Your rejoicing stretch out to them through me. *You bear all my weakness, believe in my strengths, hope in my future, and endure all of my past. Your Love is perfect, unconditional and complete (1 John 4:18). I do not have to fear You because You aren't going to punish me. You took care of the punishment for me (1 Corinthians 15:56; Romans 10:4; Hebrews 10:18, Isaiah 53:4-5). Your Love has a breadth, a length, a height and a depth that cannot be measured (Ephesians 3:18). May I respond in going forth in this very messed-up world to share You, my mysterious Love. .
Several years ago, Mark and I found ourselves sharing an office together in Richmond, Virginia. It was nothing elaborate, but we both had our own carrels, computers, and commissions.
The trouble started with the fact that Mark’s desk was closer to the door than mine. I mean, when you are hauling in a bunch of literature and lesson plans, it’s so much easier to put them down on the first desk than to walk those extra three steps, don’t you think?
Which brings me to the reason that my bottle of sparkling water was on Mark’s desk. On a recent trip to pick up supplies, I decided that I could save money by keeping my own (big) bottle of club soda available in our office. That way, we weren’t at the mercy of the vending machines. Makes sense, right?
But have you noticed that trying to save a few cents here and there sometimes ends in an expenditure of more than you bargained for? Yeah….I learned that lesson that day, too.
Mark was seated at his desk and I stood over him expounding on my next big idea with gusto and enthusiasm. Single-focused on the passion of the moment, I opened the bottle of soda water without consideration to the jostling it had incurred before arrival. It exploded all over the desk and into Mark’s open laptop.
The next few minutes involved lots of scrambling, dripping and sopping. I felt as sick as Mark looked. But the only thing that he said was, “Accidents happen. After all, it’s just a machine.”
This story for the computer doesn’t end well. I ruined Mark’s laptop that day. It did blink several times and fuzz a bit, but eventually, it died a quiet death – taking all his contacts, documents and files with it. Some had been backed up. Some had not.
Unfortunately, there have been too many of these type stories in our marriage – stories in which I have dropped, broken or backed into something just because I wasn’t paying attention.
But almost to a situation, Mark’s reaction has been the same: saying little, forgiving much.
I guess it’s these very situations, the ones which expose us at our worse, which have truly grown our marriage.
And although I began marriage with a vague distrust for most of the male species, I’ve learned that a man who truly trusts God can be trusted…even when you are at your worst.
Picture above courtesy of Sara Jeng Grewar (follow her on instagram!)