downloadA life given over as an act of worship to God is by nature empowered and seasoned with His love.  When that love flows out to other people magnificent things happen and God’s power is unleashed. I saw evidence of this last week.

John and Jodi have been friends of ours for many years.  When Jodi’s father was diagnosed with stage-four cancer a few months ago, the family rallied around him and spent days and nights by his side. For many weeks, the family suspended their “lives-as-usual” routines and devoted themselves to their father’s care and comfort.

Having been through the end of life journeys with my parents and oldest sister, I will attest that hospice care is both heartwarming and heart wrenching.  There is no easy road map to navigating the twists and turns of end-of-life care. Sleep-deprived nights, the grieving process, mental tensions, and more can cause people to hit the wall emotionally and physically as they care for their loved one.

After weeks of days and nights caring for their father, Jodi’s family hit that wall. On a particularly difficult and stressful day, they debated placing their father in a hospice care facility.  The tension of raw emotions and physical exhaustion began coming to the surface as they wrestled with this agonizing decision.

Then an amazing thing happened.

John stepped up.

Jodi’s husband, our friend John, beckoned his wife to the kitchen and told her “I’m going to stay here with him. I will take care of him, so he doesn’t have to move”.

And he did. He made arrangements to take a short-term leave from his work to care for his father-in-law —day and night—so that his wife and her family could spend quality time with him in his final days on earth.

Over the next ten days John helped his father-in-law get in and out of bed, take showers, go to the bathroom, and be comfortable. John slept in a chair in his father-in-law’s room so he could be available to help him at any hour. John’s extravagant gift of love allowed his father-in-law to stay at home all the way to the end of his journey last week.

I asked John what motivated him to take on that daunting task.  He told me the love that his father-in-law showed him over a lifetime compelled him to step up.

When we have truly experienced the love of God in our hearts and lives, it compels us to act.

I’m reminded that Jesus, just a few hours before his death on a cross, was led by His love to stooped down to wash the cruddy, smelly feet of the apostles as they entered the room for what we now know as the Last Supper. He said,

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26)

Less than a day later, Jesus’ love for us compelled him to go to the cross on our behalf.  Even now Jesus— the Son of God— intensely loves us and wants to fill us with His divine presence and perfect love.

Love is much more than mere feelings or emotions. Jesus showed us that real love is confirmed and displayed by the life-giving words, actions, and lives that flow from God’s love that we have personally tasted and experienced.

A life given to God as an act of worship must be filled with and characterized by His love, a love that compels us to step up for other people when God asks us—no matter the cost.

God bless you!