The heart of my Father was experienced today. The deep, deep, love of Jesus. And you know what? It’s Monday.
Church on Monday? No. I wasn’t in church. I was at a public school. Yes, I said PUBLIC school.
So how does one experience God’s heart of love at a public school? I don’t know. I only know that I did.
It seems to me that every time, lately anyway, I have really sensed Father’s love it has been at the most unexpected moments; I mean, I didn’t schedule the experience or manipulate the “atmosphere” so as to produce an overwhelming revelation of His love for His people. I wasn’t singing a specific worship chorus, though I thoroughly enjoy doing such. Even singing the song, “He loves us” hasn’t produced the raw experience of His love that I had this afternoon.
Love at a public school.
Would you like to know more about the setting in which I had such an overwhelming experience of the love of God? Like I said, I was at a public school. The school had been informed that a certain church group from another state was going to be on campus to picket the teachers, youth, pastors, and everyone else in the city. The group is well known for its attacks on every human being who dares to walk on two legs. And they were coming to this particular school to let the students and everyone else know just how much God hated them.
I would call that audacious, if I didn’t think a different word might be more descriptive. A word such as “wrong”.
I don’t know how many people attended the event; I do know there were hundreds. Teenagers were out in force, as the picketers were scheduled to arrive over the lunch hour. Teens and adults; some carrying signs, others acting out their message. Bikers, photographers, Christians, atheists, straight, gay, and some who were kind of “fill-in-the-blank” kind of people. Every one in attendance had a message for the group from Kansas, “You are not welcome here.”
As I walked the grounds, praying that the Lord would somehow reach this young and promising generation, I saw three girls; each holding a sign. It didn’t take my lightning fast mind very long to figure out their world view. But just as quickly as I understood the message of their signs, the revelation of God’s love for these young people overwhelmed my heart. A love completely beyond my comprehension. And definitely unexpected.
I experienced this extraordinary love of God one other time since becoming a child of God back in 1975. It was about 2 years ago, in a hospital room not too far from where I was standing this afternoon. A pastor friend had asked me to accompany him as he visited a couple in the hospital. I didn’t know anything about the couple other than they were gay and one was dying from AIDS complications.
When we arrived at the room, what I thought would be a simple hospital visit turned into a visitation from God. Maybe not for everyone else, but certainly for me. God visited me with a sense of His love like I’d never before felt.
One of the young men stood before the pastor weeping, as his partner and love of his life had just died. And I could sense God weeping for the young man; not because the guy was gay but because He wanted so much to show the man His great love.
And that’s what I experienced today. The deep, deep, love of Jesus for this world. Straight or gay, young or old, refined or uncouth; it doesn’t matter.
Jesus’ love is more than a doctrine. It’s more than the password we use for Christian fellowship.
It is something that can truly change our world; one life at a time.
It’s changing me. Changing the way I look at people, and the way I pray for people.
It has a way of making me feel very uncomfortable around certain people; like I’m doing something wrong by talking with people who are so different from me. And ENJOYING it!
The love of Jesus. If allowed to run its course it will reach places thought to be unreachable. It will put to death the things within us that hinder God’s work. Things like hatred, bigotry, envy, and pride. The love of Jesus melts away visions of our own self-righteousness and grandeur, and reveals just how much we need our great God.
I realized today my own inability to love people as I should. But today, especially today, the love of God was shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit.
Love at a public school.
How He loves us!
“For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:5 NLT)