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Higher Love

I’ve written on the topic of “love” a number of times (see Pursuing Love,” “Love Never Fails,” “Sacrificial Love,” “Love is a Beautiful Thing,” “The Love We Take,” “What the World Needs Now,” and What We Need,” to name a few), but the topic never gets old, and there are so many facets to love: physical, emotional, altruistic, sacrificial. However, today’s emphasis in on love and timing–God’s timing.

Let me start right off with a devotion I read this morning by Dr. Charles Swindoll titled, “Timing,” to get us thinking along the lines of love as it relates to God’s timing:

Timing

Psalm 31:14-15

In September, Terry Shafer was strolling the shops in Moline, Illinois. She knew exactly what she wanted to get her husband, David, for Christmas. A little shop on Fifth attracted her attention, so she popped inside. Her eyes darted toward the corner display. “That’s it!” she smiled as she nodded with pleasure. “How much?” she asked the shopkeeper.

“Only $127.50.”

Her smile faded into disappointment as she realized David’s salary as a policeman couldn’t stand such a jolt. Yet she hated to give up without a try, so she applied a little womanly persistence. “Uh, what about putting this aside for me? Maybe I could pay a little each week, then pick it up a few days before Christmas?”

“No,” the merchant said, “I won’t do that.” Then he smiled. “I’ll gift wrap it right now. You can take it with you and pay me later,” he said. Terry was elated.

Then came Saturday, October 1. Patrolman David Shafer, working the night shift, got a call in his squad car. A drugstore robbery was in progress. David reacted instantly, arriving on the scene just in time to see the suspect speeding away. With siren screaming and lights flashing, he followed in hot pursuit. Three blocks later the getaway vehicle suddenly pulled over and stopped. The driver didn’t move. David carefully approached the suspect with his weapon drawn. In a split second, the door flew open as the thief produced a .45-caliber pistol and fired at David’s abdomen.

At seven o’clock in the morning a patrolman came to the door of the Shafer home. Calmly and with great care, he told Terry what had happened.

Stunned, Terry thought how glad she was that she had not waited until Christmas to give her husband his present. How grateful she was that the shopkeeper had been willing to let her pay for it later. Otherwise, Dave would have surely died. Instead, he was now in the hospital–not with a gunshot wound, but with only a bad bruise. You see, David was wearing the gift of life Terry could not wait to give–his brand new bulletproof vest.

Within the movement of events is the Designer, who plans and arranges the times and the seasons, including the minutest detail of life. You question that? Many do.

But unless I miss my guess, David and Terry Shafer don’t. It’s funny . . . people who survive a calamity don’t have much struggle with sovereignty.

Behind the maze is the Master.

Source: Day by Day by Dr. Charles Swindoll, p. 254
Word Publishing, Thomas Nelson, 2000

As Dr. Swindoll wrote, “Within the movement of events is the Designer, who plans and arranges the times and the seasons, including the minutest detail of life. You question that? Many do.” Many people just shake their heads and say, “Coincidence,” and scoff at the idea that God, if they believe in Him, would care about such minute details in our lives. I’ve even had conversations with Christians who scoff at such an idea; however, Jesus said, “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12:7). Personally, I think it’s a control issue. We want control and when something happens (good, bad, or indifferent) that we can’t explain, we chalk it up to “coincidence.”

Read the story again. Not many merchants would actually let someone walk out the door with a piece of merchandise that costs $127.50 and, while smiling, say, “take it with you and pay me later.” And there’s nothing in the story to indicate that the merchant knew Terry Shafer before she walked into the store. Also, this was a Christmas gift that Terry was buying for her husband, David, most likely with no intent of giving it to him early (which, in fact, she did). And this exchange happened sometime in September and David Shafer was shot on October 1st (while wearing the “Christmas gift” the merchant allowed Terry to take home right then even though she could not pay for it at that time). And that “Christmas gift” saved David’s life–on October 1st.

Coincidence?

I John 4:15-16 states, “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” Therefore, if we are Christian and acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, He not only lives in us by way of the Holy Spirit, but we rely on God’s love. And, if we rely on God’s love, nothing that happens to us is by “coincidence.” So why do we question His ability to control the circumstances in our lives right down to the minutest details? Nothing happens by chance. Nothing . . .

For example, it is not “by chance” that I have been unemployed for the past three and a half years (even though it has been frustrating beyond belief at times). And it was not “by chance” that I accepted that job in Houston in the first place that has left me unemployed all of this time. I believe with all of my heart that it is part of the tapestry God has woven into my life for His purpose, not mine. Can I explain it? Absolutely not, but it’s not for me to explain or even try to understand. He will unfold His purpose in His time.

Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” If we truly trust in Him, and not in ourselves or our own understanding in any situation we find ourselves in and truly acknowledge Him in all that is happening to us, He has promised to make our paths straight. It may take a lot more time and a series of events leading down that path before He shows us the end result (as has been the case in my unemployment situation), or it could be a series of events that happen suddenly (as in the story above). In any case, God is in control . . . and we are not. And nothing happens by chance.

God’s love is far beyond anything we can comprehend, even to the point of sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on our behalf (see John 3:16-18). With a Father like that, how can anything that happens to us be “by chance”?

It can’t, and it’s not . . . .

I’m reminded of a song by Steve Winwood titled, “Higher Love,” (YouTube Video below). Here are the words to that song:

Higher Love

Songwriters: Will Jennings, Steve Winwood

Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is wasted time
Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine
Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind, we try to see
Falling behind in what could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?

Worlds are turning and we’re just hanging on
Facing our fear and standing out there alone
A yearning, and it’s real to me
There must be someone who’s feeling for me

Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind, we try to see
Falling behind in what could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
I could rise above on a higher love

I will wait for it
I’m not too late for it
Until then, I’ll sing my song
To cheer the night along
Bring it…

I could light the night up with my soul on fire
I could make the sun shine from pure desire
Let me feel that love come over me
Let me feel how strong it could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com]

“But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hands . . .”
~Psalm 31:14-15

YouTube Video: “Higher Love” (1986) by Steve Winwood:

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