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Love Does- Week 1
Scripture Reference: Matthew 1:18-23
- Jesus loves us by being with us
- Jesus asks us to the same
- Be fully present
- No matter what
- With us means
I’m With You
by Mark Freeman
“I’m With You.” Of all of the points made by the author in this LOVE DOES book, that is guiding our series, this one seems to resonate with me the most. This probably has a lot to do with the season of life that I find myself in, but I seem to have a new found appreciation for the power of simply being present.
I only have one sibling and he is six years older than I am. That really meant that as a kid I was basically an only child. We lived outside of town and I had plenty of room to run around and use my imagination, but rarely had friends over to the house and really didn’t have anyone living nearby to hang out with. I made this work for me and found a way to enjoy whatever adventure in the woods that I could create in my mind or spent my days shooting hoops in the driveway. I never really minded being alone and don’t remember ever feeling really lonely.
Since then I always seem to end up in employment or environments that require me to take a lot of personal initiative and that are really more individual than team in nature. I haven’t thought all that much about it until about two years ago when I had to look myself in the mirror one day and confess that I was lonely. Whatever line it is that you cross and realize that there is a problem in your world significant enough to admit, I had found it. It wasn’t that I was crazy sad or anything, I just knew that too much of the good and bad of my life was lived in seclusion. I had few to mourn with and even fewer to rejoice with. It wasn’t because their weren’t people around, or even that the people around didn’t like me, though I am well aware that some don’t. It was that I had failed to let anyone into my story enough to be aware of what was going on. This is when if dawned on me that companionship is more than just about increasing productivity!
I come from a mold that naturally attributes value to things that get the job done. Because of this, I think it has always been easier to justify my glaring inability to simply be with people, with my excuse that it wasn’t the fastest way to accomplish my goals. I had experienced enough truth in that philosophy to hinder me from seeing the other side of the equation. That old adage about life being more about the journey than the destination has always disturbed me, even though I know that it reeks of truth.
Early in the very first book of the Bible, during the creation story, God makes the observation that man being alone is not a good thing. We were created to live in connection to the people around us, but our independence and pride often keep us from the investment that it would require. I think we need each other much more than we would care to admit. Not that I need you to fill some deficit necessarily, I just need you to be present. Being present confirms that I am not alone and that the weight of my world is not going to crush me. We don’t have to say a word to scream the love we have for a friend. I think this is why it has to be LOVE DOES and not LOVE SAYS, because my loneliness doesn’t run from your words, but my loneliness cannot remain when you are with me.
Questions to Ponder
- What does it mean to you that Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us?
- Who are some people that have been with you?
- What keeps you from being a “with us” kind of person?