“The Way You Love Me” – Anthony Evans (Bridge)
I’ve been helping two of my dear friends through a cross-cultural relationship crisis. It appears they have misunderstandings more often than they’d like, and my being bi-cultural as an Asian American somehow helps me see a bit more clearly into the space between them so I can try to help them see the other person’s point of view. Well, I’d been advising my gf not to force herself to do anything she’d regret later just because she hated being in conflict and feared losing him. At the same time, I’d been strongly exhorting her bf (who was very hurt, confused, and offended by the recent turn of events) to do his best to wait for her to finish finals and gather her thoughts so they could try communicating and resolving it with their whole selves present, especially if he had truly committed to loving her – I mean, if a guy believes a girl’s really the one, what is a few days, or even weeks?
Ah, but the heart…the heart beats at us so urgently and pitifully, demanding that we fulfill all of its desires…
I don’t look down on this, as I’m one who wears mine on my sleeve and I pay a LOT of attention to it, almost as a mother watches her child. However, I’ve been led astray more than once by following the directions it tries to set for me, so I proceed cautiously, even fearfully, when I give in to its longings. I know that my heart thinks not of the whole of me and gives no regard for the rest of my life, except for the immediate moment and its favorite attachments. Again, no condemnation – only understanding. At the same time, the heart is the channel through which the Lord places desires in us, and as the Word says – from its overflow, our mouths speak. I finding more and more that sometimes, but not all the time, my heart just knows what is best for me…it’s an unchangeable fact my heart is an integral part of me that I cannot separate myself from without doing incredible damage to the whole of me. (Extreme and sustained compartmentalizing = harmful). So, I am learning to submit it (as Hannah in Scriptures submitted her precious first son Samuel to the service of the Lord) to God so that He might take it and refine it in His courts, according to His ways; the operative word is “learning.”
– Anthony Evans (Bridge)
Anyhow, I got a voice message from my gf this afternoon and it was obvious that she wasn’t able to focus on her papers because she was so torn up about what had happened. Well, right when I called her back to see if she was okay, the doorbell rang. I looked through the peephole and lo and behold, just like in a Korean drama, her bf was standing right there. What a coincidence…
It was clear what my options were and what might have been the “wisest” course of action, but trusting my gut and the fact that divine intervention was a good possibility, I opened the door and handed him the phone. She immediately started crying loud enough that I could hear as I stood by him, and I ushered him into my living room. A few minutes later, he was off to see her, in my car =P Turns out that they were able to reconcile the immediate issue of having hurt each other (one of those temporary break-ups that are not really about breaking up so much as breaking down during a really bad fight – I’d spent more than 4 hours on the phone Monday night trying to help them each see that). Well, she reflected back to me later that they weren’t “out of the woods” yet – but I joked, “Mm-hmm, but at least the wolves aren’t running after you anymore.” (It’d be interesting to unpack what the “wolves” might represent, eh?)
Was it God who orchestrated her bf to stand outside my door right when I called her back?
Did I do the right thing to hand the phone over to him without asking her if she wanted to talk to him?
(Should I have stopped to pray and ask God first?)
If it was divine intervention, does that mean God wants them to be together?
Could it be that it was just a coincidence and we just acted according to what felt and seemed most appropriate and compassionate at the time?
If it was indeed a coincidence God chose to use or a divine intervention that He orchestrated to happen, what does that mean?
(Does it always have to mean something or point to anything other than the fact that He loves us? Can we ever fully know? Consider Isaiah 55:8-9.)
Will it work out for them, having cried, apologized, and held each other lovingly after a very painful encounter?
Or sometimes, do things just happen, and in our humanity with its desires, frailties, and penchants for what gives us most life and pain (love and drama), do we respond and in essence allow our hearts to help shape our destinies, for better or for worse?
I don’t know.
But this is my faith –
I trust the Word which says that the Lord is good, He loves His children, He has good plans for us, and if our hearts are (continually) submitted to His hands (and if we are obedient to Him as much as His grace allows) then (we have positioned ourselves to experience and know that) He is faithful to deliver us from evil, free us from our bondage(s), prosper us in our doings for His glory, and fulfill the desires of our hearts…
– Anthony Evans (Bridge)
I am blessed to walk in a faith that has over time been built up and strengthened by both positive experiences of fulfilled promises and painful experiences of confusion and frustration that have been comforted, if not resolved. Sometimes we just don’t have all the answers we want, and I’ve found that rather than answers, most of the time what I want is Someone or someone to just love me and be with me through it all. If I am fully loved, there is nothing (except perhaps the separation from that love) that I cannot bear.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,’
declares the LORD.
‘As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.'”
“Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.”
“You will again obey the LORD and follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then the LORD your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The LORD will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the LORD your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 30:8-10)
“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD,
‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.'”
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
And finally, one of my favorite promises in the Bible:
“Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this.”