Saturday, September 27, 2014

Nothing Is More Important Than Relationships

I want to share another portion of a book I've read entitled "The Relationship Principles of Jesus" by Tom Holladay, I hope with the excerpt from the first chapter you'll be able to grab some insights to realize or ponder, and think of love and inspiration and blessing, and even miracles...

"Relationships are painful. Relationships are wonderful. We all live in the drama that plays out between two truths. 

I think of Neal and Robin when I think of the drama of relationships. Married for only a few years, their life together had started strong. And then, with a suddenness that tore their world apart, Robin suffered a brain hemorrhage. As I sat with Neal in the waiting room on the night it happened, we heard the doctor seak in hushed tones about high-risk surgery and low odds of success. Even if Robin were to survive the surgery, she would likely be in semiconcious state for the rest of her life. Neal's immediate response was simple faith and sacrificial love. He believed that God had a plan even in this dire circumstance, and Neal was committed to love Robin, no matter what it would take.

Robin survived the surgery, and Neal kept his commitment to love. Day after day, he sat with Robin and spoke to her and nurtured her. Little by little, he loved her to unexpected restoration. Robin learned to speak haltingly and began to be able to use her hands and arms again. She has even taken a few victorious steps on her own. Almost every weekend at church, there they are - Neal, a shining example of overcoming love, and Robin, a powerful example of overwhelming courage and faith. Robin sometimes wonders just what she can accomplish for God in a wheelchair. The truth is, she speaks a life-changing sermon on the power of love by her mere presence. Those who have been involved in Robin's care see her life as a miracle. The greatest miracle, they say, isn't the healing (they've seen bodies healed before) but in the love. This is the love of a couple who made the choice to continue to love, even in the most crushing of circumstances - Neal having chosen to practice sacrificial love in a marriage that wasn't close to what he and Robin had dreamed it would be, and Robin having chosen to accept and return Neal's love rather than allowing her own hurt to push him away.

Relationships are filled with both wonder and pain. When I think of the pain of relationships, literally hundreds of pictures flood into my mind from my thirty years as a pastor:

-a couple on the verge of a divorce neither one wants yet both are choosing.
-parents who can't get through to their child, no matter how much time, money , and heartache they invest
-a son whose dad has treated him with cruel contempt of abuse
-a friend whose feeling of betrayal is so deep that she never wants to trust anyone again

When I consider the wonder of relationships, I am equally overwhelmed:

-a marriage no one thought could be restored - but it was 
-friendships in a small group that have become the bedrock of life
-a family that would surely fall apart when the pressure of an illness hit - and yet they all came together in the most amazing way

When Jesus came to this earth, he demonstrated that he understands both the wonder and pain of your relationships. He experienced them both. He came to begin a new relationship with you - a relationship that will strengthen all your relationships. Jesus came to show you how to enjoy a new way of relating to God and to others.


I will continue to share some portions of the book while I learn from my readings. If you want to keep learning with me, subscribe to this blog. 

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