Love Bears All Things

 

When my wounds ache and I tell God I can’t bear it, Christ’s love bears all things for me.

1 John 3:1 (ESV)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Have you ever stood looking up at a tall tree and seen a circle etched into the trunk or a kind of circular bump, where a branch was once cut off. That is a tree wound.

A photo I took in our local forest

Yes, even trees carry wounds. Next time you are near one, place your hands on the callus: the wound that has healed, but can still be seen and felt.

WHAT DOES A WOUND LOOK LIKE?

As children and as adults, we go through much wounding, just like these trees do. When we have already walked through traumatic (shocking or abusive) experiences in the past, this new wounding can be extra painful.

Have you ever been told you can’t do something because someone only sees your weakness and your struggles and not your abilities or calling in Christ? Have you ever been rejected, called names, treated meanly?

Have you ever not been chosen for a sports team or for a part you wanted to play or a task you wanted to do? Have you ever had the one you love and trust most, not show up for you, or not be fully there for you, when you have needed them the most?
That is a kind of pruning – a deep wounding – too.

GROWING IN GOD’S LOVE WHEN WE ARE HURTING

But how can we grow in God’s strength and love when we are hurting? That’s where Jesus comes in. Jesus carried our sin and the wounding of our hearts (our invisible disease) to the Cross, so that we would never have to carry that heavy weight ourselves.

So, every time something hurts us, Jesus is right there beside us. He wants us to come right to Him instead of holding in our pain and anger. He wants us to stop trying so hard not to think, do or say mean things. He wants us to be honest and tell Him everything, even things we feel bad about.

He is not ashamed of us. He hurts with us and invites us to call on Him. Jesus knows we can’t be good by trying harder ourselves, but only by coming to Him. When we do, He comforts us and helps us to love and forgive those who hurt us. And He helps us to confess our sins. Then His pure goodness pours out of us, without us even trying.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THE STRUGGLE

But can I tell you a secret? I sometimes forget that God wants to help me too. I start trying to be good all by myself. Then, I wonder why I am feeling so grumpy.

But do you know what God has started doing when I forget? He reminds me of a song I used to sing in Sunday school:
https://youtu.be/Hx3n53d3aH8

When I start singing that song, I remember that God is right there with me. I tell Him all about my pain, the things I am worried about. I begin to confess my sins one by one, asking Him to lift their weight from me. I stop trying so hard and let Him wash me clean and be good and strong for me.

Have a listen to that song today too and let Jesus remind you that He wants to be good and strong for you too.

JESUS IS OUR GOOD GARDENER

Strangely, wounding a tree, by cutting its branches, helps to keep it healthy and strong. A good Gardener will cut away weaker and dying branches, so they don’t snap in a storm and fall on our heads. But He also prunes (cuts away) healthy branches, so the tree becomes stronger, not having to carry so much weight.

Did you know that Jesus also talks of pruning in the Bible? He tells us that He is our good Gardener. So, like the good Gardener, He also cuts away weak, dying, and even healthy branches to make our hearts stronger in Him.

Sometimes this cutting away can feel like a punishment, but actually it is a sign that Jesus cares deeply for us. It may look like He is only cutting good things out of our life. But can you now see how He is actually making room for even more good things to grow in our hearts and our lives.

He is making room for Jesus to grow and flourish in us: the God who is love. A love that is patient and kind; does not envy or boast; is not arrogant or rude; does not insist on its own way; is not irritable or resentful; does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. A love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

JESUS IS ALWAYS SPEAKING, EVEN IN THE SILENCE

But what if we have called out to God, but He seems real silent? When my wounds hurt real bad as a little girl, I remember thinking: “God mustn’t love me, like He does others. He hasn’t answered my deepest cries, nor seen my many tears.” Maybe you know that feeling of abandonment – of feeling all alone in your pain- also.
As a little girl, I thought God was ignoring me, in my crying out. I thought God stayed silent to my many pleas. But now I know, He never ever stopped loving me or speaking to or singing over me: even the twenty plus years I turned my back on Him, as I hardened my heart in sin.

You see, He was speaking to me through the songs I sung, through the stories my Mum read me aloud at night, through the stars in the sky, the sunshine on my face, the butterfly that planted itself on my head, the leaves changing color in the fall, even through the meaning of my name and the meaning of my friends’ names each place we moved to.

And when all I could see was nothing changing in my circumstances in response to my many tear-filled prayers, He was working still. In my heart and in my loved ones’ hearts, until He then began to unveil His beautiful and much bigger answer to us all, twenty years later. An answer filled with a full measure of love, compassion and mercy that only God could give us.

JESUS INVITES US TO COME, JUST AS WE ARE

Will you join me this week in taking time to cry out to God, to tell Him all about your pain, your sins and all that scares or worries you? And will you join me in also taking the time to listen for His answer?

Get out your paintbrush, or pencils. Grab your soccer ball or your journal. Or put on your favorite song. Go for a walk. Or sit in your garden or look out the window at the sky. Or sit with a friend to chat about life. And listen. What could Jesus be wanting you to see, to know, to feel, to share, to do?

Record His answer to you. You can do that in any way you want. Journal it. Paint it. Draw it. Tell your favorite person about it. Dance it. Sing it. Oh how He loves to see you praise Him!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY

Can I pray for us all today?

Father, when we are hurting from all the cutting away, will You please remind us that You are for us and not against us? Will You remind us that You – love Himself – are here to hold us and heal us. Help us to come to You with our pain. Thank You that when we call on You, You always answer us. For, You are the God who is with us and never forsakes us.

Thank You that You are the Lord who comforts Zion and all who belong to her, through Christ Jesus. Thank You that You are He, who comforts all our waste places and our wilderness like Eden, our desert like the garden of the Lord; thank You that joy and gladness will yet be found in each one of us, thanksgiving and the sound of singing (Isaiah 51:3, Galatians 3:29).

Oh Father, thank You that You are not ashamed of us in our weakness or in our sin. We are so tired of all the ways we have tried so hard to be good for You. Will You help us to come to You just as we are?

We invite You to uncover the wounds we have hidden from You and to comfort us in our pain. We invite You to convict us of our sins and wash them away. We invite You to help us love and forgive others freely and without expecting anything in return. Show us the goodness You are growing in us through every wound.

When we forget You are with us and for us, will You bring songs to our mind and heart that remind us of the truth?

Thank You precious Jesus for who You are: always true, always good and always faithful to us. In Your Name we pray this now, Amen.

POSTSCRIPT: apologies for the delay in posting the final recording of this post. I was convicted to edit a portion of the text to rightly divide the Word of God. I have now rightly placed the focus back on honoring Jesus and His work of salvation in us, and not on honoring us for our crying out. Please forgive me for this error in my first version.

11 thoughts on “Love Bears All Things

  1. Bettie G January 5, 2021 / 4:05 pm

    Dear Anna,

    Oh I love these thoughts about our Good, Good Gardener. “But can you now see how He is actually making room for even more good things to grow in our hearts and our lives.” Just pondering this today in my own life, and asking Him to show me afresh where His pruning has actually worked space for HIS good to grow in me. Amen. Blessings to you dear friend, in your new space here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anna Smit January 5, 2021 / 4:43 pm

      You know, Bettie, you are now inspiring me to do that too. Thank you!

      LORD Jesus, thank You for Bettie’s ever seeking heart. LORD, show us both the fruit of Your pruning: the space You have made for Your goodness to grow in us. And show all who visit with us here the same. Amen.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gayl January 7, 2021 / 9:12 pm

    Anna, this really is beautiful! You’re sharing your journey with all its ups and downs to show others the beauty and majesty and grace, forgiveness and comfort that only God can give. May God bless you in this endeavor and bring encouragement to many as they read your words and see God’s hand in their lives, too. I love the idea of a blog that speaks to families, that parents and children can read together and maybe help them discuss things and seek God even more. Then share through their own way – words, music, drawing, dancing……and so many other ways.
    Blessings, love and hugs to you, dear Anna! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anna Smit January 7, 2021 / 9:24 pm

      Thank you so much for all your prayers, love and encouragement, Gayl. And also for your help in editing this piece. So thankful to God for you. May God bless all who visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Geisen January 8, 2021 / 12:23 am

    Anna,
    What a blessing to see and read your words. I am so glad that you are writing. You have been such an encourager to me. I pray your words fly high and reach many.

    Like

    • Anna Smit January 8, 2021 / 2:47 am

      Lovely to see you here, Mary. I have been so blessed by you too. God is so good to build us up in Him through each other. Thankful for you.

      Like

  4. seekingdivineperspective January 30, 2021 / 3:31 am

    We’ve all been going through some pruning lately – having activities, social gatherings, maybe even jobs taken away. A lot of us finally have the time we said we didn’t have to spend unrushed hours with the Lord. Everyone has been saying how horrible 2020 was, but for some of us the painful time of pruning yielded a closer relationship with Jesus, and that’s a wonderful thing. ❤️

    Like

    • Anna Smit January 30, 2021 / 3:46 am

      Oh yes: I can see that that would bless so many. God took me through that kind of pruning after losing my Mum and being diagnosed with CPTSD. I couldn’t work anymore and discovered such sweet intimacy in lingering in the Word and with my kids and husband. My illness has been the greatest gift, stripping away so much to take me deeper into Christ.

      So: yes, I could see how that taking away, even of jobs, can be such a blessing. Funnily God then showered us in financial blessing after financial blessing, when I handed in my resignation, and my husband even recently cut right back to working 4 days a week because we could afford it. God surely blesses us.

      Now, He has opened the door to very part-time (at present online) teaching again in the midst of schools being shut for months on end. I didn’t want to say yes when they called me to help them out but God reminded that I had promised to walk through every door opened to me. So, unlike many others, this covid time is in fact stretching me in the busyness of it all and teaching me to lean into God’s strength, patience, love and kindness to be able to give it to my family and pupils. I have much to learn but God is thankfully a very kind and patient teacher.

      Like

  5. Lisa Enqvist February 19, 2021 / 8:03 am

    Thank you, Anna. I can see many situations in my life that reflect the truth of those words. The cutting hurt, but the blessings are beyond anything I could imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anna Smit February 19, 2021 / 8:19 am

      Amen! Looking forward to sharing your testimony to the goodness of God here very soon, Lisa.

      Like

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