The knock comes at my door just as I lie down to steal a Sunday afternoon nap. My spirit restless, my body tired I rise to greet the need that waits. From the insistent, decided rapping I know someone is bringing me urgent news of some sort needing immediate attention. Funny how you can tell all that by a knock.
Unpaved roads have many bumps and twists. Each one a lesson in its own way. All reminding me LOVE costs something.
I open the door to a furrowed brow carrying news one of my beautiful flowers had taken her things and ran. A thousand emotions flood my soul. When? Where? Why? I walk with fast strides to the center of compound through the middle of an afternoon soccer game, sun hot on my shoulders, in search of answers.
This flower, so dear to my heart, has really begun to bloom of late. What caused her to withdraw her roots, fold her petals and run from pain? I get one side of a story I know is woefully lacking in detail. Nonchalant attitudes. Oh it is just her. She grew annoyed. We will look for her later. It all pricks at my already hurting heart.
Steadying my gaze on the One who has chased many many more runaway children than I, I meter my response. These are the older brothers every bit as lost, but inside the house. I hurt for them too. Shame weighs down gazes so heavy they would not look me in the face.
Could this be a fraction of what Papa God feels? My heart aching I dial every number I can think of to call in reinforcements. We pray. We wait. Night is coming. FAST. Light is pouring out over the horizon, darkness filling the void.
Then another crisis. Another much more tender flower runs in the opposite direction. She does not get far before we bring her home, anger seething, pain boiling in her heart. We pray for peace, I hold her stiff until she softens and settles. I breathe silent prayers and prepare to ride into the sunset in search our flower still lost. Just as I am to set out on the back of a motorbike into the night, a call comes from one of our team.
“We have her. We prayed. God led us right to her.”
Tears run hot as gratitude splashes from my eyes. His love is SO supernatural.
Now I wait their return. Not in my house. At the gate. I will run to meet this one. I will run to wrap up her pain, her anger, her fear in my arms. Redemption, our aptly named small silver 4×4, comes bouncing in our entrance.
A wilted flower shuffles out the rear door into my embrace. The tears flow. And they flow and they flow and they flow. I talk truth soft and straight. I am too relieved at her being safely home to be anything but grateful. Slowly, over cups of tea punctuated by sobs, the story spills, the pain with it.
How small things grow big when the sun sets on anger and offense. Love covers a multitude, but fear and pain expose every raw nerve ending still needing healing.
Reluctantly forgiveness is offered to ones who spoke thoughtless words, made immature decisions that wounded so deep. We would meet tomorrow to solve the problem together. Healthy families do that. They love through problems, not run from their pain.
The weekend spills me out into this new week, into a Monday Valentines day where we meet to talk about the gritty part of love. The love that is not hearts and candies, but hard choices, forgiveness and grace. Our time together goes well. I will write about that another day.
But now I am reminded of the price of Love. What it costs me is a pittance compared to what it cost my Papa to bring me home when I had folded my petals and was running into the night.
I am reminded of a Love SO big it laid down its life.
It seems fitting that in the wee hours of Valentines day our first baby lamb is born. Just to remind us of another Lamb Whose Life is the ultimate love letter from heaven. He came to bring all the running ones home.
So this Valentine’s Day, even if a little late thanks to our internet speeds, we want to bring our greetings to you and pray that you find rest in the arms of One Who IS Love itself.
From our hearts to yours…