Solicitude Draws


The divine Teacher bears with the erring through all their perversity. His love does not grow cold; His efforts to win them do not cease. With outstretched arms He waits to welcome again and again the erring, the rebellious, and even the apostate. His heart is touched with the helplessness of the little child subject to rough usage. The cry of human suffering never reaches His ear in vain. Though all are precious in His sight, the rough, sullen, stubborn dispositions draw most heavily upon His sympathy and love; for He traces from cause to effect. The one who is most easily tempted, and is most inclined to err, is the special object of His solicitude.
Every parent and every teacher should cherish the attributes of Him who makes the cause of the afflicted, the suffering, and the tempted His own. He should be one who can have "compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity." Hebrews 5:2. Jesus treats us far better than we deserve; and as He has treated us, so we are to treat others. The course of no parent or teacher is justifiable if it is unlike that which under similar circumstances the Saviour would pursue. {Ed 294}

Solicitude is defined as an attitude expressing excessive attentiveness.

This quotation resonates strongly with me because for many years I was labelled as the boy who was generally sullen, stubborn and even rebellious. This label affected me all my life and has only recently come under suspicion due to insightful observations of individuals who know more about the affects of abuse. As I read and reread this statement it riveted my heart with hope as I saw more clearly how Jesus is so different than while growing up I imagined God to be like.

In my years of experience working with power tools I have come to know a bit about electricity and the importance of using the right size cables to operate various pieces of equipment. When an electrical tool is operated using an extension cord, it is important to know that the size of the cord determines how much power gets transferred to the equipment. If the wire size is too small, the appliance or tool will continue to make the same demand for power it requires even while the cord cannot provide it sufficiently. This demand in excess to capacity causes resistance in the extension cord creating heat in the cord that can result in damage or even catastrophic failure if not remedied. It can also cause damage to the motor of the appliance from not receiving sufficient power to supply its need.

For years now I have been discovering principles of truth found in areas of physical life, science and physics. Electricity reveals many important principles that illustrate spiritual realities and our need for love. What this quotation tells me is that there are some who are more deficient in love, causing them to be rather unloveable from other's perspective. Yet encountering them often exposes the fact that we don't yet have capacity to transfer enough power of love from God in real-time to them adequate to meet their need. If we attempt to try anyway, we can sometimes cause damage both to ourselves and in the other we are trying to help if we do not have our own capacity increased for better throughput of power to meet the real-time demands needed to service another person's heart.

Does this mean I should avoid getting involved? Not necessarily, though it may involve a preparation time if I am unfit to function as a useable extension cord between God's heart and another person. What it should do is alert me to the fact that I need to allow Jesus to increase my capacity to receive love myself in order that I may pass through more of the power of His love that ministers effectively to another.

It may be that I am only used to nice people and have seldom felt the need to make heavy draws on God's heart myself. As a result my capacity to receive and give love may be so limited as to make it difficult for God to use me in working with hearts of those with more damage than myself. Or it could mean that my own damage is triggered by seeing its reflection in others and I need to address the beam in my own eye before being ready to help someone else with more sympathy.

Coming into sympathy with Christ in His sufferings involves allowing His solicitude to affect my disposition towards others more than what I have been inclined to do in the past. I need a change of perspective about others, especially the difficult ones which often expose my own woundedness. Yet this is a divine opportunity provided to drive me to make heavier draws on God's grace and love for my own healing. Then as my own heart becomes more softened and sensitive, I am better prepared to cooperate with His work in passing along what I receive with more patience and kindness so that I may be more usable by God in a wider array of situations as He services others through me.

I have been learning some very important new truths recently that help to open this up to my understanding. In particular, I am learning I must become totally dependent on God for all my love needs and quit expecting anyone else to provide any love that can satisfy my own desperate longings. Initially this came as a surprise for me, yet it makes a lot of sense as God is the only Source of love that exists. That is why the first commandment is to have no other gods more important than Him, because He is the only one that has what I need to thrive and live.

The practical application I am starting to see from the things I am presently learning is that I need to take more seriously coming to God with far heavier demands for love than ever before. That will require a willingness to open up myself to receive His love, not just lean on Him to give it to me. There is no shortage of love on God's part but a limitation on my part due entirely to my resistance to believe the truth of His unconditional love and care for me. So the only way I can increase my capacity to love others is to renounce my life-long doubts and resistance to the truth about God as revealed in Jesus and practice making heavier power demands on God to know His love for myself.

At the same time I realize that the principles seen in how electricity operates through an extension cord apply equally in my situation needing to receive more love directly from God. The only way my capacity will increase is when I open myself up to give love to others as I receive it. If there is nothing hooked to the other end of an extension cord, no electricity can flow through the cable. Likewise, if I try to simply horde God's love for myself and resist sharing it in real-time to others, I will soon find that flow inhibited so long as there is no outlet. It is vital to understand that the principle demands an outlet in order to facilitate more inlet.

The healing part is that the same love that flows through a soul willing to be used by God to minister to others brings transformational healing in the one cooperating in this way, increasing their own capacity to receive. Unlike the static sizing of wires in a physical extension cord, our hearts are designed with infinite ability to expand capacity as we let go of our resistance to love. Thus surrender becomes a key elements in our own liberation as we are set free by allowing God to both heal our heart and also extend potential healing to other hearts.

Here is another quotation that closely parallels this principle of increasing capacity for love.

If you wish your heart to overflow with the love of God, cultivate grateful thanksgiving for the unspeakable privilege of knowing the truth. If you would lose sight of self by beholding Christ, you would be changed from glory to glory, from character to character, and would rejoice in His redeeming love. {6MR 85}

This parallels one of my favorite passages from Paul.

But whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18)

Paul uses the analogy of having a veil over one's eyes from clinging to doubts about God's graciousness, goodness and love. In my analogy the parallel would be resistance to current flow inhibiting the capacity to provide sufficient power to supply demand. In both cases what is needed is freedom from the inhibitions caused by lies about the passionate nature of God's heart towards each one of us. It is our resistance to believe and receive this love that lies at the core of all problems. The plan of salvation is all about bringing us into freedom from our own resistance so we may be restored to live in joy and freedom instead of fear and bondage.

So how can I erode and even eliminate my own resistance to believing and receiving the love that is always available from God? I make the choice to fill my imagination with praise, gratitude and express appreciation for God and choose to entertain thoughts of His love instead of dwelling on dark thoughts that only reinforce the lies that compose the veil over my heart. Focusing on God's goodness, love, generosity, kindness, vulnerability, humility, compassion and fairness conditions my heart to be reflect these things that bring true satisfaction and joy. By dwelling on God positively I can more efficiently increase my capacity for love, both in myself as well as passing more along to others. As I intentionally draw more from God and expect Him to fulfill my needs, relying on the faith of Jesus, my own faith is increased. As I intentionally choose to believe and embrace His love for me personally and frequently with the capacity I do have, my capacity can quickly increase and not only can I experience more peace and joy in drawing near to God but I can become a larger conduit of the same for others.

This is one of the primary reasons for gratitude and praise in our lives. Not to impress or leverage God but rather to unlock our own heart so we may receive more largely from God. The problem has never been with a lack of supply but always with the resistance of the human heart to believe and embrace. This is facilitated most effectively through thanksgiving and praise. Then as we choose to put aside all unbelief and to challenge the way we are used to thinking and the use of our imagination, we will cooperate with God to facilitate effective restoration of our heart to our original design for joy.

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