I may be able to speak the languages of men and even of angels, but if I do not have love, it will sound like noisy brass. If I have the gift of speaking God’s Word and if I understand all secrets, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I know all things and if I have the gift of faith so I can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give everything I have to feed poor people and if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, it will not help me.
Love does not give up. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not put itself up as being important. Love has no pride. Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself. Love does not get angry. Love does not remember the suffering that comes from being hurt by someone. Love is not happy with sin. Love is happy with the truth. Love takes everything that comes without giving up. Love believes all things. Love hopes for all things. Love keeps on in all things.
Love never comes to an end. The gift of speaking God’s Word will come to an end. The gift of speaking in special sounds will be stopped. The gift of understanding will come to an end. For we only know a part now, and we speak only a part. When everything is perfect, then we will not need these gifts that are not perfect (1 Cor. 13: 1-10).
I had the most wonderful weekend last weekend. I ministered at a congregation in the Vaal-triangle. We started the weekend’s events with a praise and worship session on the Friday evening, and it was the most wonderful sight to see the youth of that area worshipping God with such sincere and passionate hearts. They have four young pastors as a part of the church leadership. There are no pretences, no “show” – their worship comes from the heart and it is all for the glory of the King. The youth also serve the rest of the church with that same passion, and it is so clearly visible that they are a part of the Joshua generation that is arising in the body of Christ. It is a generation that is filled with the love of the Lord and abounding with the fruits of the Spirit. They are true disciples of Jesus – following Him wherever He may lead.
So many times I hear people say that today’s generation (our teens) is a lost case. I strongly disagree. I see a generation of TRUTH seekers arising. The give their whole lives for what they believe in. The pray for each other, they trust God for healing miracles, and they seek the works of the Holy Spirit to be manifest in their lives. The love of the Messiah is evident in their words and in their deeds and they are passionate about their love for the Lord Jesus. I stand amazed at how that congregation in the Vaal-triangle reaches out to the community – nothing is too much to ask of them. This makes me realize again the importance of this Scripture: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
On Saturday morning there was a Mom in the audience with her physically disabled child. It was a long day, and she made her 20-year old son comfortable on a blanket next to her on the ground. With the one hand she tried to entertain him and keep him busy, while with the other hand making notes and trying not to miss anything of the events.
I can remember how difficult those first few months were with Aldo when he couldn’t walk or talk, and was mostly confined to his bed. He had to get all his food and fluids through tubes, and that painful memory surfaced so clearly when I saw the young boy still had his trachea in. I understood the challenges this Mom faced so well. It was difficult to get out of the house, let alone to attend a daylong conference!
At the start of each new session they were still there. I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. Without complaining he just lay there on his blanket looking up to his Mom. I realized that his spirit is open to receive from the Lord, even if it doesn’t seem as if he understands anything – I knew he understood! He is so thin and dependant on his Mom, but his joy came from the pure source of joy – and that is from the Holy Spirit within him.
Late that afternoon we had an opportunity for individual prayer, and the Mom came forward with her boy in a carriage. I thought to myself that his little body must be so tired by now, but still his eyes were shining. I knelt down to pray for him, and he didn’t say anything – he just looked up to me and stared intently into my eyes. I continued praying with my gaze fixed on his eyes, and I wondered what he saw when he looked into mine... because I knew what I recognized in his. I saw: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control(Gal.5:22). I saw the fruit of the spirit without him having to say one word. His Mom turned to me and said, “Retah, his eyes tell us everything. We can see the thankfulness in his eyes whenever we help him.” I am sure that she can continue her sentence by saying that they can also see it in his eyes when he is unhappy. With a “special needs” child, you learn to communicate on a different level. You don’t communicate with your intellect – you communicate with your heart.
If I were to kneel down beside him and tell him about my knowledge of the Word, it wouldn’t mean much if love wasn’t reflected in my eyes. If I were to tell him that I fast so many days a week, or read my Bible so many hours per day – it would mean nothing if it wasn’t backed up by love. It is like the Scripture says: I may be able to speak the languages of men and even of angels, but if I do not have love, it will sound like noisy brass (1 Cor. 13:1) The big question is, “what can he see in my eyes? What is behind the words I speak?”
He put his two thin arms in the air, and I looked at his Mom for an indication of what to do next. She said, “he wants to give you a hug.” I bent forward and two of the thinnest arms I have ever felt enveloped me in an embrace of pure love. On my back I felt his small hands and fingers rub my back. When I looked into his eyes again I knew that I was staring into the pure love of Yeshua. It doesn’t take much for me to cry, and off course I was in tears at this touch of God through human hands.
Later that evening I knelt on the carpet of my room at the guesthouse, and I started praying: “Abba Father, please forgive me that I sometimes get caught up in the “right and wrong” of religion and that I then forget what it is all about. Thank You that You show me through the hardships we sometimes go through with Aldo what “unconditional love” looks like. It is a love that enables me to look into my child’s eyes and to hear his unspoken words that say: ‘It’s okay Mommy. Don’t be moved by the world’s way of doing things. Just stay in His love.’”
On Sunday, the boy was carried into the church by his father. As I saw him carrying his son with so much tenderness, I just knew that our heavenly Father carries us in the same way.
The best way of communication is to speak a language that doesn’t need words. It is a language without pretences. I language where you can’t hide masks. It is pure and it never lies.
God is love, so when we walk in love we abide in Him. You can only continue in this walk of faith if we are rooted in the love of Christ.
There are many things people seek in their lifetime: maybe it is more money, or social status, or knowledge. We all hope and believe the things we seek will bring fulfilment, but without love all these things are nothing but clanging cymbals. LOVE (and God is Love) is the best thing we can commit our lives to.
Only after our accident, when my life was in pieces, did I realize that love was not the main thing in my life. Love needs to be the motive and driving force behind everything we do. I had to learn how to walk in love, to work in love, to look with love, to react in love, to speak love, and to be love in action to others around me. All these things are only possible if you die to “self” and your selfish desires, and when you stand up resurrected in Christ. The love of Christ needs to be put on display through our lives. If not, our fancy words and religious acts will only be noisy brass.
How do I know this? Because the proof is in the pudding - not in the words we speak, but in our acts and deeds. What if we couldn’t speak and call ourselves disciples of Christ – would others still see that we follow Him based on what they see in our eyes?
We are all students of God’s love. Our training ground is the way we treat our neighbours: If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also (1 John 4:20-21).
I praise the Lord for meeting that young boy this weekend. It just reminded me again of the depth of love in God’s heart for us. Let us learn from this young man, and keep on loving unconditionally.
On a much lighter note, Josh is still busy with his chickens. I am so thankful that they found a new home at Tinus’ factory, so at least there is no more chirping in our kitchen. For a long time now we have been struggling with Josh who doesn’t want to eat eggs or chicken any more – “because it makes me so sad to think that someday one of my chickens might end up on a plate, Mom!”
These chickens have brought so much laughter into our house! I know that it is only something “new”, and that the excitement will soon pass when the chickens get bigger and aren’t so cute anymore.
Josh sent me a text message over the weekend with this picture on it. (See photo on the left.) I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw it! I knew that Josh was okay now and that his fascination with his chicks were under control – from now on he’ll have scrambled eggs for breakfast again.
Aldo and Chans are also doing well. I decided to take some more time off this year, so I am looking forward to spending some good family time with my husband and kids this weekend – just enjoying each other.