Podo Helmer is a ex pirate grandfather to the Wingfeather children. He once hunted sea dragons. And the book series is about as wild and desperate as they come, with other worldly creatures and a vivid character depth for the reader to dive into. I read all of the books outloud to my children. After all Podo’s ‘pirate’ past is fully brought to light the passage reads like this:
The Wing feathers traveled east to the Green Hollows, where many years before a rowdy pirate was tamed by the tender love of a woman named Wendolyn Igiby. Podo was often seen on the deck of the ship late at night while most of the crew slept. He gazed at the star-bright heavens and breathed deep the salty air, for he knew the night held a special beauty when one was far from land. He carried his leg bone wherever he went, and it brought him great pleasure to bang it on the mast to signal mealtimes. He moved through the days in peace and wonder, for his whole story had been told for the first time, and he found that he was still loved.
1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
There is a foundational truth to why this phrase is in the chapter defining love. Love is connected to being fully known. Now everything is dim, blurred like your smudged mirror. Things are out of proper focus. It’s not the whole of life what you see in our INSTA-stories, or on Tick-Toc. The same is with love. The culture has overtly defined love in a placid “YOU DO YOU’ term, losing its complexity and depth. LOVE SUFFERS LONG.
Exercise to Ground you in the love of God:
1. Become aware of God’s presence and know He has a proud of you kind of love. He has an I won’t back down from life with you no matter the popularity or social hate towards your profession (Matthew and Zacheus the tax collectors). You can experience this love physically in your needs being met an I’ll buy you lunch ie the feeding of the 5,000. Experience the bold rescue and heroic love where God’s only son dies for you (really for the whole world) so you can live for eternity, GAH 😩 OH WHAT LOVE 🥺. This is sort of a saving Private Ryan military scene except the only son dies so everyone else can survive. All these descriptions are practical, and relatable. The idea of a rescue when desperately needed is a groundwire to the reality of love. Loved enough to be rescued. Esther forsakes a life of self-focused priorities to love in this greater way. She risks her life. Jesus didn’t feel like the cross on the night he was betrayed. Mocking, beating, enduring false accusation. He even said if there is any other way, FATHER, let’s take it. Ok that is my paraphrase but you get it. Esther had to pray and fast for 3 days before she had the courage to love in this radical way.
2. Review the day with and look for where you felt loved. Provided for, accepted, proud of, a physcial rescue.
3. Pay attention to your emotions not to be ruled by them but to acknowlege them. And now to align them with the truth of God’s unfailing steadfast love. When did you feel mercy? When have you felt forgiveness? To ground ourselves to this, think of the safest person in your life. The person who knows the most about you and still loves you. Your Husband? Your mom? Your grandma? Your dad? A close friend? My Grandma Phyllis is like this for me. I could tell her anything about me and I would hear the words, “I forgive you.” The gift of your whole story being known and now quite effectively you are still loved. Loved enough to be forgiven.
4. Look toward tomorrow with an expectation that God won’t change his mind about you. He died for past, present, and future mistakes. He knows our defeats and still associates himself with us.
Eleminate the opposition ie fake religion:
Religious people can often think they really know something. They believe they are definitively better. Identify when fake religion is rubbing off on you. Jesus says to be careful of it, the way yeast can work through flour. It starts with envy, which is often the sin of the religious. There is a temptation to envy those who God appears to be hearing, blessing, or using more than he is hearing, blessing, or using us. This attitude is a self interest or self focus rather than humility and contentment. Someone fully known and fully loved is already accepted. They often reflect with an attitude of I have what God wants me to have. I can’t be more loved by God than I am right now. Circumstances can’t strip this from me. Romans 8 is true and I believe it. And I’m here to be a champion of the love of GOD. I’m here and showing up known and accepted by God.
Frankly we are flat out cherished by God. The God of all power, the God of Creation is consistently faithfully available to us.(Jer. 33:3) And from this fuel source we can ask and rightly asses our response.
Are we faithful? Are we saying yes to what we are called to? It’s not really about us being BIG and GOOD, it’s about GOD in us who is big enough and good enough. His love is there in the places of our need with practicality and provision. Right there when we are out of it. Right there when we’ve done all we know, HE DOES THE MORE. Exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all we can ask for or imagine. And in this beyond life there is no room for of self-interest, it will put us on the wrong side of God’s activity. Consider the boy with the lunch, self-interest would have put him on the wrong side of an incredible provision miracle. He responded to Jesus with GOD-like actions. He gave. And what he gave became more. No one has envy this small lunch he gave when we was offering it. His 5 loaves and 2 fish provided it would never have been enough, for that many to be fed. To expect it as enough would be ridiculous. However God was the source and HE BLESSED IT, and in that there is real power. Jesus offered thanks to God and let the disciples distribute. AND IT WAS ENOUGH. And the miracle was astounding. But he didn’t have that knowledge ahead of time.
Consider how Peter, in John 21 failed his MESSIAH, fully and was returning to fishing. There for the first time he responds to Jesus with all he has to offer. Peter responded with “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He knew stuff before that, he knew Jesus was the Christ, and failed to stand by that knowledge. But on that shoreline he ate fish and just simply responded in love. His failure forgiven. His selection secure.
Consider the next verse:
1 Cor. 8:2 Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. 3 But whoever loves God is known by God.
Its not about knowledge. It’s about love. And my understanding of God’s love is uniquely tied to my understanding of God’s acceptance and forgiveness of everything I’ve ever done. I need to be faithful to confess, and GOD has decreed in his SON’s blood, HE is faithful to forgive. The highlight reel and the converse my personal disaster project I offer to God to deconstruct is all before HIM. He’ll have it all. Mountains and valleys. Highs and lows. Nothing can remove the love of Christ from me.
1If I speak in the tongues…
13:1 Or languages of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
It’s all noise.
2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
The nobel peace prize, PHD, or docturate and the I live by faith ALONE extremes out there. THE I DON’T even try and the I played hard at the game, gave my best in sweat and sacrifice discipline (just so I can boast) BOTH OF THESE have this is common ZERO is the final score. IT ADDS UP TO NOTHING. Those defeats are real and bitter if we don’t love. BUT when I show up in love there are great gains.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love doesn’t lie. Love is not ‘your truth’ is higher than God’s truth. Love rejoices in God’s truth. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and this LOVE of GOD is fully bodied and balanced by what is right.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
The amazing days have an expiration date. The outstanding intellect still dies in the end.
God offers completeness.
God offers face to face. A posture that says, to the LORD, know me.
9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.