July 9, 2018
LEARNING TO SPEAK LOVE
My wife Maria and I have a little dog named Angie. I have spoken about Angie many times to many people. She is the most tangible example that I personally possess and can use to teach people about the healing qualities that LOVE has. We got Angie when she was 3 years old. Actually, we rescued Angie, and in the process, in an odd sort of way, she also rescued us. She was scared to death of everything, including me, when we first got her! She did not respond
(at least not right away) to the love we showed her, or the words of love we spoke constantly into her. But 7 years later, if you were to visit our home (be sure you bring a treat for Angie if you do), you would see that Angie has been transformed into the sweetest little dog with the fastest wagging tail, and most welcoming, and loving doggie attitude you will ever come across. It took time. It took effort. It took a willing patience. But in the end, LOVE transformed her. It can transform all of us, sometimes with just a few words.
On day 6 of my recent El Salvador mission trip I have been writing to you about for the past few weeks, I had the privilege to give a man, who works as a local ambulance driver and medic, a large cache of medical supplies I had collected for the trip. I also gave him one of my old firefighter “T” shirts at the same time. When I had finished unloading the 2 back packs I brought of supplies and medical equipment (much of which he had never seen before and had no idea how to use), he just wept and held me close.
Through our interpreter, this man explained that the governmental district in which he works is very poor. They have very few supplies, little training, and no supplied uniforms. They just wait to be called on their personal cell phones and then they rush to wherever there is a medical emergency. When I asked him how he could do his job with no supplies, he stated that all they can really do is to get the injured person into their small van with no stretcher or backboard. He advised me that just he and another “medic,” would simply load the person into the van the best they could and then they would race to the nearest medical facility, which is over 40 miles away! Lots of folks did not endure or survive the loading process, or the journey.
This man made me smile as he pulled on the “T” shirt I had brought for him and placed the new stethoscope, which was part of the supplies, around his neck. He was so proud, humble, and grateful all at once. He said that many people might be saved in his community now that they had some supplies that they could use to assist those they are called to help. When he asked why I had brought all these supplies and had given them to him, I simply said that it was because “I wanted to help,” and because “I loved him.” He just stared at me through watery eyes and smiled a very small smile.
The next day at the church that we would be ministering to the local community through, this same man came up to me and did something extraordinary. This man who spoke NO English the day before, or any days before, came right up to me, hugged me firmly, and said in perfect English, “I love you.” It was my turn to have watery eyes. Then one of our interpreters came up to me, just in time to slow the monsoon rains that were threatening to start pouring out of my eyes, and explained to me that this gentle man had been practicing to say those words to me all night. He had told the interpreter that he wanted to, “tell me that he loved me in words (English) that I would understand.” He had learned the importance of SPEAKING LOVE into someone else. I was floored that this man had worked so hard to give me this gift of love in a way that I could understand and appreciate it. Amazing! Humbling!! Undeserved!!!
In a way, that is exactly what God does for each of us. He takes the time, He makes the effort, and He has the patience to keep loving us until the day we clearly hear Him say to us, I LOVE YOU! I have been a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for many years, but I will never get over my astonishment that the greatest lesson I can teach and the most important point of the Gospel that I can learn is that GOD LOVES ME! He LOVES all of us. Even YOU! Yeah YOU! God is working diligently every day to tell you in a way that you can hear and clearly understand that HE LOVES YOU! I HOPE you will hear Him say those words to you today and every day. I believe that if you will hear those words and believe in the One who is speaking them to you, that you WILL be transformed! I pray you will.