“Don’t be afraid, Abram. I’m your shield. Your reward will be grand!” (Genesis 15:1)
Dana and I laid in bed talking during the wee hours of morning about loving someone who doesn't love you back. Her words, "love without expectations" keep running through my mind and are becoming etched within my heart.
"Love without expectations".
God whispered to me as I was falling asleep, "This obedience includes "bad" expectations too".
Such is the way that Christ loved and continues to love. He reacts to all actions with kindness. He loves unconditionally regardless of the conditions - regardless of if His love is reciprocated or rejected.
He loves without expectations.
"The angel of God said, “Go back to your mistress. Put up with her abuse.” He continued, “I’m going to give you a big family, children past counting.
for God heard you, God answered you.
He’ll be a bucking bronco of a man,
a real fighter, fighting and being fought,
Always stirring up trouble,
always at odds with his family.”
I pray that I may have the attitude Hagar has here. Yes, God said He would take care of her - but it sounds like a curse and still she praised God! Without expectations! Her focus never left His face - "He saw me; and then I saw Him!". (16:12-13)
But look at the first word out of her mouth - "Yes!".
She was an abused woman, running away from a situation that God was telling her to go right back into. He told her the child she carried would be a son, to name him Ishmael, but the life of her son would consist of fighting and being at odds. What mother would want that for her child?
Yet, she still is thankful that God saw her.
When God tells me, "put up with her abuse", I then strive to walk away from the sin of pride, self righteousness, anger, bitterness, defensiveness and react as Christ. It breaks my heart that I allowed my "self" to dictate how I "loved" many times. That I didn't see past myself and failed to see it as the greatest opportunity to shower His love. That I didn't love without expectations. It isn't that I treated others badly, just withheld. I wasn't me. The me He created me to be. I fell back upon my old self defense strategies instead of using His spiritual battle plan. My soul feels sick that I screwed up so many opportunities.
How thankful I am that He is bigger than my mistakes. That He allows us numerous "second chances" as long as we have repenting hearts. That He is preparing me for the next opportunity. I love knowing that I am forgiven and He knows my hearts desire is for unity. He is showing me that not only must - must - I love as He does for Him. I also must - must - love like this because it is what is best for my growth in Him. In His growing in others.
In loving God, how then am I able to be so selfish and not love without expectations?
To transform takes focusing on His face. Utilizing the wisdom I have/will receive from His Word. Obeying the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Living and loving as Christ did and does. Living and loving without fear. Having faith that He is my shield to protect my heart and that my "grand reward" isn't about material stuff or the relationship between people and me - but Him and me. The hope and joy I receive knowing that He knows the desires of my heart are in align with what He wants. Even when I fail I am striving to become more like Him..
To love without expectations.