Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Love Is a Battlefield

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I know how God’s heart breaks now.
I know the fault lines and the wrinkled scars, I know where the flesh is still tender.
I know the jagged points, and the parts that wear a weary smile. And the parts that are blackened with pain like the charred remains of a grass-thatched home.
And I know the angry parts too.
The ones that are bruised crimson and blue with injustice. I know how He takes them all into His heart and holds them there. I know how He cried when I cried when we lost the babies, or had to give back our children, or were persecuted for wanting to help.
How it hurts Him when those we try to love are indifferent.
And I know He holds the joy there too. The future joy, the rains yet to come, the time when heaven will touch earth again and give birth to the dreams we carried through muddy fields and drought.
The scars. I feel them all. I trace the ridges on His heart like a lover’s bullet wound, or the corner of my husband’s dimpled mouth. Beautiful to me. We huddle close through the pain.
He is near to me there, whispering grace in the stillness. He tells Bible stories to bolster my faith.
Be strong, my love, be strong.
His greatest gift wasn’t the cross.
It was the way He took it all—all the abandoned children, all the hardened hearts, all the back handed slaps, and the babies who died too early. All our coldness and our pride and the ways we yearned to do it all ourselves.
He took it all and He still gave—His love, His body, a battlefield of sacrifice.
If it didn’t cost, everything, then it wouldn’t have been love.
The love that greets the widows every morning with a smile, and holds the children close even while they cry, and fixes the husband’s dinner before he gets home. The love that refuses to give up even when they run away, or offer coldness, or are ungrateful of the price that’s paid.
The love that says, I will stay and I will stand though persecuted and criticized for this one radical belief: that this war will not be fought with swords, but with love.
And a measure of faith.
He promised. He promised me. This year, a recovery of what’s been lost. And I will not let the pregnant dreams, or the veiled threats, the rising costs, or the broken women still learning to live as daughters, break my backboned hope. David with his 400 men, taking back what’s been stolen.
They can take. But they cannot beat the love out of me. And we do not shrink back.
We gather the cool, hard stones in the early darkness.
This is my home now too. Gulu, a city of let blood.
We’ve made a pact together like sisters clapsing hands in the woods.
I will die loving the people of this place.
I dream a picture of what will be.
I see their toothy grins handing me crayola drawings. “Mommy, you first see.”
My little emissaries of light.
Yes, I see my loves. I see.

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