God’s Love for the Lost
Carole and I went to the Mellow Mushroom (a pizza joint) a few days ago and both of us witnessed the love and mercy of God in us. The love, compassion and mercy of God is always amazing to me. It just comes out in unexpected places. Carole and I saw it directed toward a transgender girl who was our server.
Here was a 21-year-old girl, tatted up and sporting a ball cap, and the love of God was just all over us for her. It was evident by her response to us that she could tangibly feel it, too. I personally have never met someone who identifies as another gender. And frankly, with my response to all the media hype about Caitlyn Jenner, I would have expected to respond with prejudice. My convictions are fixed about the concept itself, but here I sat with love for someone who not only supports it, but also is in the process of their own gender “reassignment.”
Let me say that I believe it’s a tragedy for any individual to so reject their God-given creation that they would surgically change it. It is the sign of the times we live in. But here at the Mellow Mushroom, I wasn’t meeting a belief or conviction. I was encountering a soul that the Father created and who Christ died for.
I could sit on a religious bandwagon and reject people who have sinful beliefs, but instead, I was moving with the Spirit of the Living God in mercy and love. My indwelt Lord didn’t shun her, He loved her and she responded to Him while not knowing it. She hung out at our table for a long time over and over again, all the while simply responding to a God who loved her.
I don’t know her life. I don’t know anything about her, but my Jesus had compassion and love and this is probably just what she needed. No, I would prefer her not to proceed on her destructive path, but Christ’s attention was not on changing her in this moment. He was loving her. This breaks my heart and proves to me that I need to live listening and dependent, not knowing anything.
God’s Love in Unexpectedness
In this season of Martha’s husband passing from this life to the next, I am seeing that God’s goodness doesn’t always come in the packages I think it might. The extremes of Christ’s love are radical and not limited by any barrier. He broke through into our living reality to show us Himself. While on this earth, He didn’t scorn or shame the sinner; He loved us into a desire to change—a desire to be better than common or base.
I know Christ loves me everywhere. In the last few days, I’ve personally received His love through a sushi chef, who repeatedly gave me sushi gifts and said, “Stay strong for your mother!” And also in a bank representative, who repeatedly blessed me, rooted me on, and couldn’t stop high-fiving me and grabbing my hand. God’s love is abounding and present all about us, and if we are open to Him, He’s within us beckoning to a loveless world.
I want to stand for God’s holy standard whenever He desires to resolutely stand in me, but the mercy of our God washes the hand of His judgment. I am choosing to be open to His expression however it manifests. It melts my heart that His thoughts are so much higher than mine and different than I might suppose in any given moment.