Isaiah 26:3 keeps coming up this week. After listening to an audiotape yesterday, I have been challenged to think of the conditional way in which I trust and love not just God, but others as well.
In the English language we have compacted so much into the word love that it's nearly got very little meaning left. We love pizza and milkshakes. We love blue skies and thunderstorms. We love flowers. We love this city or that. We love a certain brand of clothing. We love our cars. We love our family and our animals. And we use the same word to express the love we feel for each other that we use to describe our affection for pepperoni? Does that make sense to anyone?
However we express love, the real thing that I've been pondering is do I love. Period. Or is my love dependent on an if, then phrase. Do I trust. Period. Or is my trust conditional?
It's easy to trust God and others when everything is smooth sailing. But do I trust people, when they make a decision contrary to the one I want them to make? Do I trust God even when my life takes a downward turn? Is my trust dependent on an if/then? If I get the job, then I will trust you God. If I get what I want, then I will trust you. When I get what I want, then I will believe that you want the best for me.
But life doesn't work that way, does it? As children our parents didn't let us eat an entire basket of Easter candy, not because they didn't love us, but because they did. Like our parents, God doesn't give us everything we ask for. He knows that what we want isn't always what's best for us. But we are called to trust. Period.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Not trust if you feel like it. Not trust when everything is good. Just trust.
The same can be said of love. We are told that love is not selfish. If love is not selfish, then we are to love. Period. Love even when we don't feel like it. The Bible does not say, love when it benefits you. Love when you are loved in return. The Bible says to love others.
It is not easy when we have been hurt or when life takes us in a new direction. It is not easy to trust or to love. But sometimes we have to make a decision with our minds even when our hearts don't feel like following. Decide to trust. Decide to love.
Isn't that what this happiness challenge has been all about? Making the choice.