From Susan Hillis:
Last night Jesus gave me a present. For me it was a HUGE present! Our son who just graduated from high school, Vasya (shown here in his graduation gown with his cross country team buddies), along with one of his good friends (who we LOVE by the way!) went with us to Passion City Church. The message was about John 15, and focused on how MUCH Jesus loves us! Jesus says, "Just as (much as ) the Father has loved me, I have loved you (that much)!" Then Jesus says, "Remain in my love." Re - main....meaning....'re', that is, 'again,' make it the 'main' thing in your life, over and over and over again, to stay right there in Jesus' love for you! Then Louie Giglio went on to give some examples of how 're' - 'main' - ing in Jesus' love affects us in our simple daily lives. He shared, "We get stuck in traffic, for example, and instead of saying, 'oh I had a horrible day; I was stuck in traffic for an hour and then had to take a detour and then got stopped by a cop, and then finally made it to the gas station,' we may, instead, say, 'This was my day: I got stuck in traffic and hour and then had to take a detour and then got stopped by a cop and when I got to the gas station there was this woman there at the pump, so clearly struggling, and I got to go over and ask her if I could help her in some way. I ended up praying for her, and probably tonight she is sitting somewhere saying, 'even though I had a hard day I know Jesus loves me cause this fella I don't even know came over and prayed for me at the gas station. Or it may be you get to pay for someone you don't know or help them in some other way.' Then he went on to say it is exactly this kind of love, the love of God the Father for His son Jesus, that Jesus gives us to pass along to others in our day along the way.
So we are driving home and stop for supper at Steak-n-Shake, then go up to pay our bill. The cashier, flustered, says, "there is some problem; this is crazy; it has never happened before; your bill isn't in the system. Let me get the manager." As we wait, I say to Vasya and his friend, "I bet someone paid for us." The manager comes over and unlocks the system, only to discover that a visa card had already paid for our bill. Vasya at once knew who it was: "It was that old man with the white shirt and tie who came over and told us he and his wife had just been to a funeral!" All 3 of us knew he was right! So we began to talk about HOW AMAZING it was that just what we had heard, was exactly what had just happened to us. Someone we had never seen before and will likely never see again had passed along Jesus love to us! Then I proceed to explain to the cashier and manager, "Let me tell you what this is about! We were just at church and hearing about the chances we have to pass Jesus' love along to people we don't even know, by things like stopping to pray for them or to even pay for their supper, and this is just what happened to us!" The cashier, looking at me, said something like, "That had to be God cause people just don't pay for other peoples' dinner!"
Then we are driving home and there is a horrible 3 lane dead-still traffic jam on Highway 78 for at least 20 minutes, and we start giggling, "Oh, my goodness, we have BOTH the help from the stranger and the traffic jam!" I begin to wonder, "Lord, is there something we should be talking about?" And I sense the answer is, "Yes, talk about what I have done for you and for your family, and offer to let Vasya's friend read the book about it." We had a wonderful conversation and Vasya's friend said one of the nicest things to me that anyone has ever said, "When I met you I knew you loved God. I want to have what you have.....and just think, by your adopting Vasya (with the idea from John 15 of 'bearing fruit' by loving others), that love has extended so much more to affect so many people, like me for example."
So, why am I writing about something so personal? Because I want you to know, dear friend and fellow-traveller--
nothing you do for the Lord is ever done in vain!
You may not hear a 'thank you' or even see the evidence of how the Lord is extending His love through you, but with time it will come, and your heart will melt with gratitude! Wait for it in peace and hope. It is oh, so worth the wait! It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite quotes by Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, who went expecting to evangelize the masses and instead, spent her life loving orphaned children. She writes about her service and those of the other caretakers this way,
"the women were learning that if the Lord of Glory took a towel and knelt on the floor to wash the dusty feet of His disciples, then no work, even the relentless and often messy routine of caring for squalling babies, is demeaning. To offer it up to the Lord of Glory transforms it into a holy task."(Elizabeth Elliott, quoting Amy Carmichael in 'A Chance to Die,' p. 182).
So let me close with one of my favorite pictures (below) that illustrates what it means to 're-main' in Jesus, for Jesus to be the main thing in your life -- not your parenting, or your children's pain, or your financial problems, or your infertility, or your relational struggles, or your own doubts about your worth, or your schedule, or your plans, or your past, or your failures, or your successes, or your service. It is a picture I took one week ago in Mexico while on vacation with Vasya and his friend Andrei Templeton (above), to celebrate his graduation from high school!
Yes, Lord, we thank you that You, Jesus, are the source of love's living water, like the underground river, unseen here but oh so present to the tips of the roots here in this picture. And we want our lives to shout out the glory of Isaiah 37:31, "take root downward and bear fruit upward!" May that eternal fruit of Jesus love, just bursting out above the surface of our lives, cause our children and many others to say, "I want what she has." It was, in fact, this life with God that I saw in others that first drew me to our Lord. It is, still, His life in me that will draw others to Him. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Susan will be sharing more about the truths God has shown her, and is still showing her, at HOPE AT HOME 2012. REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW-- click on the link to find out more details and to register.
You can find us on Facebook-- it's a great place for daily encouragement and Hope at Home news.