Three years ago, while I was recovering from my brain decompression and fusion at a friend’s beautiful lake house, I had the blessing of entertaining angels. In May, 2010, a girl across the world reached out to our family. She became one of the most faithful to love and pray for us on this journey. We became friends in a way that I never thought possible without meeting face to face. She and her mum traveled here from Australia to get her settled so she could begin her call to seminary. That snowy January night we shared a meal together. After dinner we moved to the living room and sat across from one another in front of the crackling fire. The fellowship was sweet. I found myself bearing my heart to them with an ease I rarely feel because of my pride. We wept. They prayed with me. They asked things of God for me that I have never really been brave enough to ask for myself. The time slipped away, and it was very late when we headed to our beds. I loved having a place for them to stay. My particular gift of overnight hospitality had been buried because of circumstances, and it meant so much to be able to offer them such a pleasant place to sleep even though it wasn’t my own home. In the morning dear Bethany came down and gave me a gift. It was a little blue hardback book. I gasped when I saw the two gold letters imprinted on the binding.
When I was a little girl I found my mother’s copy of this book by Amy Carmichael. I didn’t know much about Calvary love then, but I was drawn to the simple paragraphs and the pressing of the heart. I was drawn to the white space left on each page as if to say,
YOU CAN ONLY ABSORB THIS TODAY.
LIVE THIS BEFORE YOU MOVE ON.”
In the short time we had together Bethany reminded me how powerful words are, and how my words here on the screen had changed her. It was God once again speaking to me about how this journey is definitely not just about us. He is working in ways we may never know until eternity. He was asking me to keep telling the truth and pointing to Him. He was asking me to suffer awhile longer because He suffered for me.
I keep the beautiful vintage copy of Amy’s book on my prayer bench. I return to it over and over again.
She writes this in the opening of her soul searching book:
There are times when something comes into our lives which is charged with love in such a way that it seems to open the Eternal to us for a moment, or at least some of the Eternal Things, and the greatest of these is love.
It may be a small and intimate touch upon us or our affairs, light as the touch of the dawn wind on the leaves of the tree, something not to be captured and told to another in words. But we know that it is our Lord. And then perhaps the room where we are, with its furniture and books and flowers, seems less “present” than His Presence, and the heart is drawn into that sweetness of which the old hymn sings.
The love of Jesus, what it is – None but His loved ones know.
Or it is the dear human love about us that bathes us as in summer seas and rests us through and through. Can we ever cease to wonder at the love of our companions? And then suddenly we recognize our Lord in them. It is His love that they lavish on us. O Love of God made manifest in Thy lovers, we worship Thee.
Or (not often, perhaps, for dimness seems to be more wholesome for us here, but sometimes, because our Lord is very merciful) it is given to us to look up through the blue air and see the love of God. And yet, after all, how little we see! “That ye may be able to comprehend what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge” – the words are too great for us. What do we comprehend, what do we know? Confounded and abased, we enter into the Rock and hide us in the dust before the glory of the Majesty of love – the love whose symbol is the Cross.
And a question pierces then: What do I know of Calvary love?
The entire month of February I will be posting If questions from this powerful little book. I invite to you follow along this journey. I pray you will be drawn to Calvary love.
I am giving away a copy of this book every Sunday this month. To enter please share one of the daily “If” posts on social media (facebook or twitter) and comment here on the blog post you share. Let’s meet at the foot of the cross together.
Photography by Cindee Snider Re. Used with permission.