October 7, 2020
Are You a Fish Out of Water?
We are all made in God’s image. So it’s no real surprise that our core identities and issues are similar no matter where we live. My mission trips to Kenya, Uganda and Iraq, and my experience working with thousands of patients from many socio-economic arenas dramatically re-enforce this one phenomenon. Most of humanity’s misery stems from the pain of feeling unloved, unwanted, or unimportant. As a result, we develop many dysfunctional activities based on what is available to soothe our unhappiness.
In order to get love or feel love vicariously, we pursue quick love to escape or numb the hurt. We seek out substitutes for the love we don’t feel. We overly “love” ourselves (pride) or other things (sports, work, sex, food, shopping, insert your vice). In the midst of our storms, we tend to feel that somehow, others have withheld love and that we have been forsaken. This is exactly what Satan, the Great Deceiver, wants us to think and feel.
This was quite prevalent in my most recent mission trip to Uganda. But it’s true everywhere. And the feeling of abandonment is often worse than the storm itself. To us, love is like water to a fish. We need it to surround us … to navigate life … to feed us. In fact, we need it to breathe. Most importantly, we need it to LIVE! Have you ever seen a fish out of water … floundering, flapping, and struggling? Isn’t that how we often feel emotionally, psychologically, and especially spiritually? God is love. To receive that love we need a relationship with Him. And for that relationship to work, we have to receive His perfect and unconditional love and not walk away or look in other ineffective places.
When you feel unloved or abandoned, turn to God’s Holy Scripture. For me, today’s Scripture reading is the most comforting promise in the Bible. It assures us that we will never be alone or unloved, “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.” Which do you believe: Satan’s lies or God’s promises … your own insecure flesh or the great instruction book of life? What is influencing you: the message of our fallen world or the power of Jesus’ death on the cross for you? Invite Him into your heart to reveal the truth of His love.
Today, be aware of God’s love for you by imagining the love in the best fairy tale you can remember. (Guys, you can do this, too.) Whether you are struggling or doing well, remember that fairy tale, and look around to see and feel God’s love for YOU! Also, tell someone who is close to you that you love him or her … and that God does even more. Whether you realize, feel, and see God’s love then express it to others or you ignore God’s love and instead seek impostors is your decision, so choose well!
Dear Father God, I come to You today with such a thankful heart. I am thankful for Your love, and for Your promise that nothing can separate me from Your love. I pray, Lord, that You let this divine assurance trickle through my mind, body and spirit … right into my heart and soul. In this action-addicted world, it is increasingly difficult to find time alone with You. But when I do, I feel Your love. Help me bring that awareness to those that I love … and even to strangers, so that all know they are loved. In the name of love personified, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
…which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:20-21
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. Psalm 63:3