Saturday, September 27, 2008

Experiencing God's Love - part deux

Earlier this week I was thinking of how God shows His love for us, in the big ways and the small ways. Sunrises. The fact that we wake another day, that our bodies even sustain life. That God in His holiness and perfection would actually want to be in a relationship with us.

Then I thought, Why do we stop with what we receive when we talk about experiencing God's love? God loves us so much that He keeps giving. Shouldn't part of our experience of God's love be in our own giving, in paying His love forward?

A few years ago I had the privilege of being a counselor for a crisis telephone hotline affiliated with a large church in California. How it happened was one of those things where I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit, met with some close friends in prayer, God opened doors, and next thing I know, I'm in training to be a counselor. (The timing and process was almost that simple. Really.)

As a counselor I spoke with callers with problems ranging from the lonely, people grieving the loss of a loved one, to recovering addicts, people being treated for mental illness, even people on the edge of wanting to hurt themselves (thankfully, the really intense calls were far-between). Many callers were simply calling for prayer, just to know that God still loves them, and that someone cares.

Among the calls that stand out most for me are the ones where I prayed with the caller at the end, and I'd say something that could only have been from God. I'm not talking about praying in tongues. These were times that I prayed words and phrases that were not part of my normal vocabulary. If you asked me today what the caller's situation was, or what I prayed, I couldn't tell you. I simply don't remember. But I do remember this: by the time the call ended, the caller had a sense that he or she was still significant and loved in the eyes of God.

God's love is not meant to just be kept in a storehouse for when our hearts are feeling empty. It is meant to be given away, freely, unconditionally, with no expectation of return. I am humbled that God used me in that ministry so that others could know and experience His love.

Now it's your turn to share your stories.

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