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T h e L o v e o f t h e L o r d

D e v o t i o n s B y D o n

The Love of the Lord A Scribd DevotionByDon There are so many times I am reminded of the love of God. Certainly, moments like the births of my children, the funeral of a faithful servant, each time I visit Dick Woodward and seeing immeasurable good coming from immeasurably bad places, such as war-torn, drug-infested areas where churches have been built. All of these come to mind. More recently, God has shown me a new measure of His love through Jimmy, a new friend brought into my life, surely by Gods love. Jimmy is a relatively young man (Most are, by my standards!) who has had trials of which I know not. Coming from a dysfunctional family, Jimmy made his way into the military, where he suffered combat wounds and other trauma. It seems his path grew even darker when he became prisoner to the pain medication he was given. Eventually his wayward path took him out of the military and into Williamsburg, where we met. Now with 2 broken marriages and a heart filled with anger, he struggles day-today from wrong decisions that most recently included bouncing a check and becoming inebriated after borrowing a friends car and driving it into a totalloss status. Jimmy doesnt remember anything about the accident, but reports state he was pried out of the car and rushed to an emergency room. Some say his injuries and the condition of the car indicate he shouldnt have survived. And thats where I have seen the love of God in a new and amazing way. It seems God is pursuing Jimmy in a relentless manner Jimmy doesnt understand. In one sense, I can see a recasting of the Prodigal Son story, or as some have described it, the Prodigal Father, which places the emphasis on Gods love. But sadly, Jimmy just doesnt get it . yet. When I talk with Jimmy, I hear view after view of how the other person is wrong and may be treating him unfairly. His take of having bad things happen to him is never related to his decisions. And his view of what is being said is largely filtered by how it affects his expectations.

However, over the course of the 4 months Ive known Jimmy, Ive seen him find friends, a place to live at no cost, be given an opportunity to have meals in exchange for providing computer support to a restaurant, get into a recoverysupport group at one church, get a job and then a promotion in that job, be invited to another church by a loving couple he met though his job, be prayed for by many in that church, be loaned the car he totaled, be forgiven by the owner (and the owners wife!) of that car, and be taken and accompanied to court for his DUI and bad check cases by others who love him. Jimmy even recently got a job, where he works, for another young man who had been unable to find one. Im able to witness this because we occasionally hang out together and because Ive taken Jimmy to the other church since he no longer can drive. At this church, each week, I have witnessed the love of God extended to Jimmy in an amazing, caring and welcoming way only God could issue. A couple of weeks ago, after Jimmy had received the DUI charge and was literally nursing his wounds, I asked how he would handle the DUI situation. Jimmy essentially said he would just go and see what happened. And thats when God showed up once more. At dance class, I saw a man from the church Jimmy and I had been visiting. This man had brought his two young daughters to class and was sitting by himself, working with what looked like papers a teacher would grade. When I sat next to him and asked what he was doing, he said, Working on a DUI case. Wait! I said, Youre an attorney and youre working on a DUI case?! Yes, said he, I specialize in DUI. He then offered how excited he was to see Jimmy coming to their church and cited the hope he held for Gods direction in Jimmys life. My next question of what he charged for his cases, rendered his answer of, $2,500. Wow, I thought, Jimmy can definitely not afford that price! Still, I suggested he talk with Jimmy the next Sunday, excusing myself to let him finish his work.

That next Sunday, Jimmy and I arrived early, as always, and after I watched the many hugs for Jimmy, we took our seats with the couple who had initially invited him. On the way to church, I had told Jimmy of my meeting the attorney, and suggested that if he saw this attorney, he talk with him, since our church friend worked on DUI cases. In a few minutes, the attorney came in with his family and, not seeing us, happened to sit immediately behind us. During the service, I saw the attorney go to the front of the church during prayer time, and had this strong feeling he was asking God what to do when he talked with Jimmy. After the service, the two of them talked, as I stepped aside to be out of the way. On our ride home, I asked about the conversation and learned the attorney offered to barter his services to Jimmy in return for some help with his IT needs. While the outcome remains to be seen, the income-of-love was real. The story of Jimmy is really a story of Gods love. No matter what Jimmy decides, God has already decided He loves Jimmy. For some reason, this experience of seeing Gods love in this new way reminded me of a song appropriately titled, The Love of God, by Michael Joncas. Listen first to what God gives us in Philippians 3:7-11, on which the song is based: (But) whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God, depending on faith 10to know him and the power of his resurrection and (the) sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

[Hand out lyrics] Now listen to, and read, the words of the song, The Love of the Lord, as it is played. I will ask questions between each line sung, thoughts for you to reflect on later: [Play song]

All that I counted as gain. [What are some examples of what we have counted as gain?] Now I consider as loss, [What might this mean?] Empty and worthless to me [What changed its value?] In the light of the love of the Lord. [How might light make a difference?]

Riches and honors will fade, [What are examples of this?] Earthly delights disappear, [What are some of your earthly delights?] Fade like the grass of the field [What is this analogy telling us?] In the light of the love of the Lord. [What is this light?]

REFRAIN: What more could bring us hope [What has brought you hope?] Than to know the powr of his life (of his life)? [What does this power mean to you?] What more could bring us peace, [Read Phil 4:6-7!] Than to share in his suffring and death? [How might we share?] What more could be our final wish [What is your final wish?] Than to live in the love of the Lord?

Silver and gold have I none, [Does this mean we are poor?] No land to count as my home, [Or is it saying all we have belongs to God?] Yet wealth beyond measure I own [Ours or Gods? How is that?] In the light of the love of the Lord.

Faith is the wealth I possess, [A gift from God!] Finding its source in my God: [The Source of our riches!] Faith in the promise of Christ [Its all of our answers!] Is the light of the love of the Lord. [Amen!] REFRAIN Again During our earlier conversations, Jimmy didnt seem to notice the large number of coincidences that had come his way. Because I had clearly been impressed, I suggested he journal these instances, both as a reminder to him of Gods love, and as a testimony of Gods faithfulness something he might share later with a friend God gives him. This talk of coincidences came about the same time I was reviewing a section of Dick Woodwards work that dealt with this word. Hear what Dick says: I am now thoroughly convinced of the beautiful reality that God has showed up in my life and that is the only explanation of my extraordinary journey. I have now removed from my vocabulary the words fortunately and coincidentally, because I no longer believe in luck. I believe in the Providence of God. Some spiritual heavyweight said that when we who are the followers of Jesus Christ think we have experienced a coincidence, we have merely discovered that God often prefers to remain anonymous. Thats why I have eliminated the word coincidentally from my vocabulary. As this story goes on, Jimmy will have much to reflect on about Gods love, as we continue to marvel at Gods pursuit of him. What about you? Have you met a Jimmy in your life? If not, pray God will send you one. And then thank God for that gift, its a part of His love! Amen!