When I was much younger I had 2 experiences at Church retreats that impacted me greatly and helped me, at that time to really understand that I had a Heavenly Father and the He loved me a lot. I knew I was not just created to serve but that I was called to live as a son in my Father's love. I do not know about you, but I often find that these God moments in my life lose their effect on me over time if I do not spend time meditating on what God is showing me and pursuing it. This experience was one of those things. As I got busy I began to look at myself as a servant primarily. I began to lose the sense of security that came from knowing my place in my Father's heart.
The last few weeks have been a refresher crash course and it has come unexpectedly and in a very unusual way. It began when my Church was here and intensified with the college group that is here right now. While my Church was here we spent most days working but one day there was only a couple of projects for me and I was finished with them quickly. After the projects I got to spend a lot of times with the kids from the school and that had come to the clinic. I really enjoyed getting to hang out with them and just play with them. The day did not really impact me at the time because it is a fairly normal occurrence. I get to play with the kids at Membrillal a lot.
This last week was where I really began to see what God was trying to show me. We went to Zapote to paint the first floor of the school. It is a pretty big task to non painters but it was a very needed task. It gets painted almost every year but because of the humidity and the always present volcanic dust in the air it looks dirty within a few months. This was a job that needed to be done and I was excited to see the transformation that fresh paint brings. I was ready to throw myself into this work and get it done.
One thing that I know is that when I go to the schools I will hear my name countless times during the day. This week was like that. Everywhere I went the kids, especially the younger ones called me. When I stopped, they climbed on me. I could not forget that I was at a school because I was surrounded by children calling me from inside their classrooms, at lunch, out on the playground and everywhere I went. They all wanted hang from my arms or arm wrestle me. At times I was arm wrestling one on each arm and at others I had one hanging from each bicep. I was feeling a little bit guilty. They were supposed to be focused on school and I was supposed to be working. My desire to play often won out and the kids got my attention.
You may be thinking that was irresponsible and you might be right but God began to show me His heart in this. He loves when we (I) come to Him just to be in His presence, to say look at me to ask Him "do you notice me"? He wants us to ask if we matter because He loves revealing Himself and His love to us. As I realized how attention starved may of these kids are I realized I to feel attention starved. I was feeling like maybe I did not matter to God. I began to see that as I love being with the kids and crave that time just to focus on them and tell them that they matter enough to interrupt my work God feels that way about me. I matter and He loves to be interrupted by me as I just stop and call out to Him. He wants to show us love and affirmation. He wants to reveal His love when we are not expecting it and He gladly sets us at the center of His attention when we come to Him. He loves to be a good dad to His kids.
This lesson was intensified when I ran into one of the local town drunks. He frequently tells me loudly that he loves me as he is asking for food or money. I will often buy him food or water because he is poisoning his system with rubbing alcohol. I never give him money because it will just go to more alcohol. I will talk with him and pray for him because he usually asks but my attitude towards him is often not good. I want to shake him and make him quit destroying his life. God reminded me that this man to was created in His image, was created to reflect an aspect of God to the world and he has a Father that is just waiting for him to surrender and call out to Him. Father wants this man to know His love and have a testimony of sonship to share with the world. I was wrong and I needed to let God love this man through me the same way that He loves the kids.
I am learning that God wants to reveal His love to me. He wants to show me His heart for me in new and extravagant ways. He wants me to walk in security as His son. The way that he is doing it is by putting me in positions to be a living demonstration of His love to others. As I allow myself to be used in this way in other people's lives, He intensifies my understanding of His love for me. I am not a servant but a son. I choose to serve and in that I learn more what it means to be loved. I pray that God gives me the strength for this work for many more years because I sense that there are many layers to His love that I have not begun to explore and many people that I still need to encounter to have a better understanding of this incredible love He offers.
Many of you struggle with knowing that you are loved. You serve but feel like nothing more than a slave. You feel used and abused by those that you care for. Give it up. Ask God to show you that every work you are called to is secondary to the people that you encounter while doing it. Every accomplishment is nothing if it does not build relationships with people and help you see God's love more clearly. We exist and are called for one reason. To receive our Father's love and give it to all that we encounter. If we do this, we have succeeded in all God has for us.