How long has it been since you spent more than 2 months with just one person? I’m talking day and night, 24/7!
Well, my wife Anne and I took a once-in-a-lifetime trip several summers ago. Just the two of us on winding roads to a mountainous 5,006-mile trek from Vancouver, Canada, to the literal end of the road in Homer, Alaska, and back.
I was looking forward to a relaxed, casual approach to everything. I LOVE long quiet times alone when I wake up and draw near to God through devotionals, Bible reading and just thinking and praying. I decided I would read the New Testament again, slowly and thoroughly, a relaxed absorption of it all.
How wonderful, I thought. I’ll have plenty of time, no rush, just slow and easy. I can’t wait! We rented a 36-foot motor home in western Canada and off we went.
I learned many things on this trip — especially these five: I’m impatient. I’m intolerant. I’m rude. And sometimes, I’m even mean!
And so is my wife!
The days were packed with so many decisions: when to leave, when to stop, where to park, how private, and on and on, every single day! Not at all how I had imagined.
Fast forward to the last 2 weeks. I was still in the last part of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament. I had blown it! What with the long days, early dawns (at 4 a.m. or so), and a casual procrastinating, relaxed approach to time, I just didn’t get it done.
For some reason, I thought, What is the one most important thing God desires of and for me?
When lawyers asked Jesus, “What is the most important commandment?,” he answered, “You are to love your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and likened unto that, love your neighbor as yourself.”
I had already failed to love my neighbor for the past 67 days! It was a difficult adjustment to spend 24/7 confined in a motor home with Anne, and I had responded with impatience, intolerance, rudeness, anger and arrogance. As I reflected on each day, God showed me my true, unloving behavior.
Here’s the even greater shock. This was the first time I realized that this behavior convicted me of failing in my love for God.
I had never equated my behavior toward others as lack of love for God. I’ve always known acting with arrogance and rudeness is sin. This was the first I thought of it as the sin of not loving God. I felt like God was saying to me, “Norm, love is the New Testament!”
Since then, I’ve began my morning prayers by remembering the past 24 hours and confessing my failures to Him, one by one.
Then I ask God to give me the same items on the list: the patience of Christ, the kindness of Christ, not to be selfish or jealous, or resentful or rude, on and on. You know what? He’s doing it! He’s helping me love more and better.
I started that trip through the mountains with high hopes of studying God’s Word. And when I slipped up, God still reached out to catch me and show me what LOVE truly is.
Isn’t that just like Him?
Real love comes from God and is given freely to those who enter into a personal, one-on-one relationship with Him. If you want to know more about a relationship with God, email our Chaplain Henry Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit iamsecond.com or thoughts-about-god.com.