"And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:5 NIV)
Facing the things our Lord asks us to do can seem like facing a daunting giant. It may appear impossible and sometimes even frightening. Years ago in my sales career I had a co-worker who had set himself up as my enemy. He did horrible things; stealing from me and making up lies about me. Others began to believe his false accusations. He ridiculed my wife and children, and punched me in the nose and then ran! His taunting laughter was infuriating!
While praying, the Lord pointed out my hatred for this man. I knew God's laws and I was afraid to bring up the matter, because I knew what God's word says about how we are to treat even our enemies. But I felt the Spirit convicting me, and I sensed God speaking to my heart. One part of it went something like this:
"But Lord, do you know what He's done to me?"
"I know, just do it."
"Okay Lord, I don't feel it in my heart, but I will try.--I forgive him."
"Now love him."
"Love him?! How am I supposed to feel love for him?"
"I didn't say feel, I said do."
"I can't love him."
"I know, but I can."
"I will try Lord."
There was more, but the rest is a bit too personal. God forgave my hatred, bitterness and resentment toward that man.
Seeing my enemy several times a week at the office gave ample opportunity for me to treat him just as if I felt love for him. And that is exactly what I did. Though I could not feel it I treated him with love. Two months passed when I was again in the presence of my tormentor and something amazing happened. There, in my heart, was real love in full bloom for the man I had despised. I actually felt the love for him! God eventually used His love flowing through me to bring that former agitator to Christ and save him. The one I once hated so intensely is now a much loved Christian friend and brother.
God taught me that He may ask us to do what is impossible for us to do on our own. "But with God, all things are possible." Stepping out in faith and obedience allows us to tap into the limitless power of God, and to accomplish what may appear to be such an impossibility.
We praise you Heavenly Father, for we are constantly amazed at your awesome power and the mysterious ways you work. Please help us to be willing vessels to demonstrate your mighty love to a world that needs Jesus. May we remember that your power is exerted for us, through our faith in Jesus and our obedience to you and your word, Amen.