Read His Words Before Ours!
“I long to love”
The words literally took my breath away and I paused, as the rest of the world continued to spin around me. It was a FB post written by a good friend of mine, a friend I’ve walked through some tough stuff with, a friend who encourages me to reach more deeply as a Christ-follower.
Something hit deep in my heart as I read those words. I was instantly convicted.
What do I long for?
Yes, I love my precious Savior. He is life to me. He is depth. He holds all and is all.
But a longing to love?
I talk a lot about love. How it’s the center key to every aspect of life. Parenting, ministry, friendship, relationships, marriage, they’re all meaningless without love. But to “long to love”, that’s different. There’s depth there. A literal ache.
What do I long for?
Oh Lord, loving is HARD!! To be with someone in the middle of their messy stuff is HARD! To step outside of me, to lay down my own “to-do’s”, to cast off my “but I’m doing this now”, is excruciating.
Sometimes, it’s like teaching a new Kindergartner to read.
Here’s the letter “B”….it says, “b”.
Tie it together to A.
B-A…. now tie it to T.
T says “tttt”.
Okay, and perspiring! You go to recess, honey, I’m going to pull my ever-lovin-hair out!
“I long to love.”
A lady sits in front of me telling me all the details of her broken marriage.
I hurt for her. I know marriage can be so hard.
But listening again, and again.
It’s so heavy, Lord. It’s so hard! I have my own problems, my own stuff to get to after this meeting.
“I long to love.”
The sun was rising, splashing it’s yellow and pink rays across the rippling water. The fresh morning air was bursting with the promise of a new day. Along the beach, a gentle tease of campfire smoke rose upward, and along with it, the tantalizing scent of fresh, roasted fish. Breakfast waited after a long night of unsuccessful fishing on the Sea of Galilee that had changed in an instant when Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat.
“Come and have breakfast!”, Christ called out to his friends, eyes twinkling with the familiarity of shared brotherhood. “And bring your catch.”
“It’s the Lord!” They shouted to one another excitedly. And so they came, running across the sand to their best friend, dragging their nets full of fish behind them. After excited hellos and adrenaline pumped exchanges at the sudden big catch, noting that their nets didn’t break despite the large number of fish, Jesus turned quietly to Peter and asked, “Simon Peter, do you love me more than these?” His dark eyes looked deep into Peter’s wide ones, prompting more than a casual answer. Peter, shifting his breakfast in his hands, replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”
“Feed my lambs”, came Jesus’s quick response.
The awkward silence seemed to stifle Peter, so he grabbed another mouthful of steaming fish, but, Jesus reached across to Him, forcing Peter’s gaze to look into His own, “Simon Peter, do you love me?”
Peter, filling quickly with sad regret as he remembered denying even knowing Jesus, stated again, stronger this time,
“Yes, Lord, you know I love you!”
“Tend my sheep”, Christ’s eyes begged Peter to understand.
The silence deepened even as the waves lapped and the fire sparked. The morning rays of sunshine had nothing to do with the sweat quickly forming on the back of Peter’s neck. Jesus’s words pierced the quiet one more time, drawing each word slowly out.
Breakfast long forgotten, tears pricking at the corners of Jesus’s eyes as he looked at Peter, knowing exactly how much Peter did indeed love Him, despite his thrice denial at crucifixion. Jesus was leaving soon, but the work of the church was a huge task, He needed Peter to be all in.
He needed Peter to see that loving Jesus meant loving the church. Loving people.
More than needing to know the answer Himself, Jesus wanted Peter to know what loving Jesus meant.
He wanted Peter to “get it.”
Loving Jesus meant loving others. All in. A longing to love.
And so the question came a 3rd time, just as Peter had denied him 3 times,
“Simon Peter, do you love me?”
Each word dramatically hanging in the air, begging the deepest answer Peter could give.
And the frustrated, big on emotion, Simon Peter, tossed his fish in the sand, turned towards Jesus, and with all that he had, gripped the Lord’s shoulders with his rough fisherman hands, tears rolling down his dirt-ridden cheeks, Peter implored,
“Lord, you know everything! You know that I love you!”
Once more, with a look so tender, yet so empowering, and a voice filled with promise and hope and restorative purpose, Jesus spoke over Peter, “Feed. My. Sheep.”
“I long to love.”
I see myself there, at that fire crackling, morning breakfast filled with intimate questioning and empowerment and I hear Jesus asking,
“Do you love me more than these?”
More than your agenda.
More than your expectations.
More than your wants.
More than your loves.
More than your life.
Do you long to love with everything you have? Everything I’ve given you?
And my soul cries out as I adjust my gaze back on Christ,
“Lord, You know I love you!”
And then His sweet reply,
“Feed my sheep. Love them for me.”
You have been gifted.
Called to much.
How deeply will you love with what you’ve been given?
Share your thoughts from today’s Journey Study!
Can we pray for you?
Sign up to receive every Journey Study!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!