Written by Mike Verkaik
Those who are loved by God, let his love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. (1 John 4:7- TPT)
Remember Huey Lewis? Or how about the movie Back to the Future? The song where the above title comes from has been stuck in my head for the last few weeks. Not because I heard it, watched the movie, or even have the desire to. It came to me on a prayer walk while I was reflecting on the conversations I had with Ted*.
A few weeks ago I received a phone call from Ted, a former resident at the motel where Oceans does ministry. Not recognizing the number, I let it go to voicemail. His message sounded something like this:
”Mike, I don’t know if you remember me, this is Ted. My family lived at the Motel where Oceans Ministries has a presence. We used to talk over lunch. I’m wondering if we could meet up sometime for lunch again? God has placed Christian evangelism on my heart and I have some questions I would like to ask you.”
Ted and his family landed at the motel in 2021 after the ramifications of Covid-19 left Ted unemployed and his family homeless. As Ted openly admits, this was one the darkest seasons of his life as he was angry, bitter, and struggling with his marriage and kids. In the midst of all those struggles he finds himself in a small motel room with his family, surrounded by other residents who are in similar situations and struggling with their own vices.
The strongest vice in Ted’s life was anger, and it was a physical altercation with the owner which led to his families abrupt departure from the motel.
As Ted and I ate lunch together he began his conversation with thanksgiving for the love of Christ he received from the volunteers during his stay at the motel. “Mike”, he said, “I want to thank all of you for loving my family so well while we were at the motel. It was the darkest season in my life, but now I believe God had to knock us down, so we could look up. I know in the midst of my pain and shame I was not able to express my thanks, but thank you for what you are doing. “
What soul refreshment it was to listen to Ted share his faith and the miracles Abba has done in his life over the last three years. He saw and experienced Jesus’ love for him through others, accepted the free gift of Christ’s love for himself, and is living for opportunities to show his gratitude with others who are struggling with similar situations.
What a beautiful example and reminder of the power of the love of Christ. A love that is planted in us as believers, birthed out of us as we live in obedience to His command to love one another, and bears fruit when others experience His love through us. It is the message Paul was communicating to the church at Corinth in 2 Corinthians 5:19:
And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God. In other words, it was through the Anointed One that God was shepherding the world, not even keeping records of their transgressions, and he has entrusted to us the ministry of opening the door of reconciliation to God. (TPT)
How is the power of love in your life? The ability to love others on our own is limited. It is based on how we feel about the other person and the way he or she treats us. If that was the benchmark for Ted to receive love during his stay at the motel, we would not be having this conversation. However, when we live into the grace and forgiveness of our Father’s love for us, we are able to look past grievances and receive the ability to love others the way Jesus loves us. It is a 1 Corinthians 13 love, and that love is contagious and powerful.
*Name has been changed