My daughter Christi called recently at 5:30 in the morning (there’s a seven hour time difference between us). She said that her five-year old, Micah, had broken his arm– badly. They were transferring him by ambulance to a hospital in Fort Worth and she wanted us to pray.
And 5,000 miles away, I hurt.
A few days later, after a successful operation to install some pins in the broken arm we received a couple of photos. One was titled “sad” and there was the little guy, his arm deformed and discolored, obviously in pain.
The next one was call “happy” and there you see him grinning from ear to ear out from under his little Beatles’ haircut—operation successful, feeling good, the center of attention the way things are supposed to be.
Obviously the second picture was 100 times better. The first one? Well, that’s what happens when you try to stand on your rocking horse and jump off. Maybe you ought to listen to mom once in a while!
Of course grandpa’s heart swells with joy and thankfulness at pictures like the “happy” one—and tears in two at the “sad” one.
One of the scary things about loving is that you’re so vulnerable. If you love without limits and suddenly the object of that love is hurt or taken away, there’s a direct line to your heart that’s also touched.
It’s a tsunami that crashes towards you, and it’s impossible to duck. When the object of our love suffers, we suffer, but we may as well get used to it, because that’s part of the price for loving.
Love comes out of its hiding place and announces, “For the wonderful rewards of loving, I’ll take the hurts that invariably come with it.”
And even if the object of your love is taken away, the advantages rest. Memories, but more than memories, populate our heart. More than memories, because it seems to me that the link that we have with the person we love, leaves something of that person in us. I am what God made me but I’m also the sum of those He put in my life or those I let into my life.
If I had a different mother or father I would be different genetically, but also different in the essence of who I am. Good or bad, mama and daddy left something of themselves in us. If it was bad, it doesn’t have to destroy because we can be healed of those hurts and God can use them to heal others.
When we let God redeem those areas where those we’ve loved have hurt us, these places become strengths and we grow stronger, more able to help others who’ve hurt in the same way.
God risked a lot to love us in His Son Jesus. Think how many times He hurt because He’s exposed Himself to pain by loving someone. So many have rejected that love—thrown it back into His face.
But He takes the chance because the rewards are so great when we return His love. Dare I say that He lives for that? We’re the apple of His eye; His greatest joy; the inspiration of His songs.
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.
“But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.” (1 John 3:1-3, The Message)
Maybe you’ve been hurt, then withdrawn into a shell, afraid to fully love because loving is such an exposed place. The rewards are worth it. “But I might get hurt …!” No, let me correct you. You will get hurt sooner or later, it’s just that the rewards of love are so powerful—more than that—they’re so necessary, that’s it’s worth it.
Christi called again the other day. Micah went back for his two-week check-up and the arm is healing so well that on the x-ray it doesn’t even look like it’s been broken. She’s having a problem getting him to settle down because running, jumping, (and scaring mama and daddy) is in his system.
What’s a parent to do? Hang on and pray. After all Christi, you remember that time when you were three and you jumped off a rock into water over your head …?
“This is a destiny that makes us brothers; none goes his way alone: all that we send into the lives of others, comes back into our own.” Edwin Markham