Self-preservation, hate, anger, malice, envy - these grow alongside my real desire to love, to worship God, to communicate his kindness and compassion.
An enemy did this... (Matthew 13:28)But Jesus died, and I will have Him. How can His love not overcome hate? How can He who bled to death and rose again fail to heal me?
Fight hate and spite and awful self in me, O God! Overcome all in me that refuses love. Deliver me from the body of this death!
Jesus told the story of the sower who went out to plant. Across the fields he went, scattering his precious seed. Some fell on stony ground, and some on thorny ground, and some on hard ground, and some in prepared ground. Like that sower, I have gone out, scattering what is precious mine into dark earth. I know, as he must have known, the falling and the loss and the seeming waste among rocks and thorns and trodden ground. Did he feel, as I do, his helplessness to make a single seed grow? Did he go out the next day and look for shoots, and wonder foolishly, as I do, whether he would see the harvest?
Father, I want to trust what You are doing. I want to learn from You how to give up myself without just giving up. You know how I am trying to hold nothing back, and yet when there is a chance to live with open hands, I am all snatching and grabbing and fearful hanging-on. I confess that I can't love the way You ask me to. I don't know what to do, and even when I do, I don't have the power to do it and mean it. I know You hate fake.
God, You can transform me! Look at my emptiness and fill me with Jesus-love. It is so exhausting to give everything I've got and keep coming up with the same not-enough. Give me courage to go forward - to keep on dropping my precious seeds into the dark, like Jesus' sower. Let me have long patience for your fruit, patience to wait for You to work in ways that I cannot. Teach me to love past hurt. Remind me who You are, and that You love me, and that I am Yours, and You mine.
Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it... (James 5:7)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)