(This is a chapter from my book titled Sitting With Joyce. My dear friend of 30 years passed away last week and my heart has been swirling with hundreds of important moments with this amazing woman. Joyce did not know how to do small talk, she immediately looked you in the eye and went to big talk. I am a reserved and quiet person, so this was not my favorite thing about my friend. But she was a teacher in my life in so many ways, and I knew that she loved me, so I trusted her. She gave me SO MUCH. The following story was a huge lesson for me and I love that it blessed her too!)
THE FRONT OF THE large church sanctuary is crowded with people coming for prayer at the end of a beautiful service. The band plays softly. People are standing and worshiping along with the music. Many are kneeling as others pray for them.
I look around and wonder what I ought to do.
Should I go find someone to pray for?
As part of the large church staff, there is an understanding that we are there to minister to others whenever possible. But on this morning I do not really feel like moving from my seat on the front row next to my good friend, Joyce, another staff member who definitely lives up to the first three letters of her name.
Her eyes are closed and I can sense such a sweet peacefulness there that I wish we could just sit like this forever. Seriously. Stealing a glance at her, I see that tears are flowing silently down her cheeks.
I gently reach over and place my hand on her back. No words right now, not yet. I take a deep breath; the sweetness of God’s presence is so real that I smile at a memory. I am thinking of a message I heard recently about “being out of our minds in love with God.” It was based on
Ephesians 3:18,19, where the apostle Paul prays that we would “understand the love of Christ which passes understanding.”
..that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being grounded in love, may be able to comprehend…what is the width and length and depth and height…to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19 NKJV
It sounds more than a little bit contradictory, doesn’t it? This is why I am smiling as I ponder it. Ephesians is recording a prayer that we would be able to somehow grasp and understand the huge love of God. But right there in the same verse it states that this love is beyond our understanding! Hello?
The love of God is too big for our mind to comprehend. The only way to “get it” is to let go of the idea that our little minds can understand it. We can believe and know the love of God only by getting “out of our minds” and believing it. It is a spirit thing, not an intellectual thing, at times.
So, normally when I am in the situation of praying for someone, my mind is racing with inner questions. Should I pray aloud so they can hear me? What should I be praying about? Maybe I ought to ask them what their need is. What are You doing God? What do You want me to say to her?
But on this morning, sitting in the front row of a large church sanctuary, I relaxed and waited. I did not strive to figure out what God may be doing in Joyce or in me at that moment. I remembered the truth about being “out of my mind” and remained silent. I knew something was transferring from me to my friend and I just sat there with my hand on her back and enjoyed the peace of the moment.
Joyce and I probably sat like that for 10 or 15 minutes without a single word being spoken. I watched the people around us beginning to move about and do the normal after-church chatting and laughing. Lunch plans were being made, but I felt no desire to move out of our silent bubble of sweetness and rest. My eyes were open and I smiled at others, but did not want to talk to anyone just yet.
After about 15 minutes Joyce opened her eyes and looked at me. She softly spoke, “Sooz, really good stuff was happening in me and you did not even need to “go there” with me verbally at all. Your presence truly carried me into God’s presence. This atmosphere-changer thing is very real in you, Sooz.”
Her words brought tears to my eyes. Not only did my peaceful atmosphere affect my friend, but the words she spoke totally confirmed the silent prayer I had sent to God. I had asked Him if I needed to verbally pray for her and felt it was time to be quiet. I was blown away.
This is the power of His love. The love of God is an atmosphere changer. And we get to be the carriers of this amazing power. The power of His love can bring peace into a turbulent situation and rest to a struggling heart. When words will not do, a simple touch can make all the difference. It is beyond our understanding, this God-size love.
When Ephesians reminds us to seek to know the love of God, which is too much for us to understand, it is a call to get out of our minds. It is a challenge to those of us who tend to over-think and ultra-analyze our every waking moment. I do not have to feel peaceful in order to carry peace into a situation. My desire to have everything understood and figured out can hold me back from grasping His love because it is simply too big for me to comprehend.
If we wait until we can understand God’s love, we will never be able to truly enjoy it and rest in it. This book is all about God’s love for you and for me, but it is an inexhaustible subject—a limitless truth without boundaries or borders of any kind.
Sadly, many of us miss out on the fun of His love because we are using our heads to believe it. Remember the Ephesians passage?
His love will not fit in our heads.
It does not compute.
It makes no sense.
It is illogical.
We are to seek to know the love of God because He wants us to know Him better. His love is who He is. There is no separation between God and the love of God, it is not a part of Him, it IS Him.
God IS love.
God is in you, Dear One. You carry Him and so you are a carrier of His love. You are an atmosphere-changer. When you walk into a room, the love of God comes with you into that room.
Walk in that truth and watch the difference you can bring into a tough situation. Don’t worry about finding the perfect words to speak. Do not strive to be the all-knowing wise counselor everywhere you go.
The beauty of this truth is that you will bring peace into a room without even working at it. You are a carrier. His spirit in you will change the atmosphere of a situation when you rest in Him.
Just BE the love carrier that God has designed you to be. That will be more than enough.
Thank You, Father, for choosing to use me as Your love-carrier and peace-bringer. Even when I do not feel perfectly peaceful, I know that You are big enough to enter a room with me and make a difference for everyone within my circle of influence. I am overwhelmed that You would do this through little old me. Thank You, Father!