We are Called to Love
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
It’s monsoon season, which means daily afternoon and evening rain showers. But the other morning we woke to discover the overnight rains had left a dusting of snow on the higher mountain peaks, a reminder that no matter what is going on in the world, the seasons will continue to march forward.
As someone who moved to Summit County because I love our long, snowy winters, this first sign of snow was welcome, and as I look out the window of my new home, I find myself checking the aspen trees in the yard to see if any golden leaves are visible yet.
On the other hand, if you feel as if it was just yesterday that you got your boat onto the lake, or rode your mountain bike down a trail, you might be shaking your fist at the mountaintop and wondering if a move to a lower elevation is in order.
Either way, the seasons will march on without regard to our opinion.
Which is what I thought about as I watched the news and heard the far-off drumbeats of war, saw an iceberg the size of Rhode Island slide into the ocean, and heard about shooting deaths in Chicago. Closer to home, I was dismayed to find that despite our prosperous and generous community, some Summit County residents still go to bed hungry.
When we read these headlines it’s easy to feel helpless, to feel as if we are as incapable of changing them as we are to hold back the coming winter. But turning our back on the world and our community is not the answer, either. When everything looks desperate and despairing, we long for stability and hope.
I believe this is when we most need God. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come! And let him who hears say, ‘Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.’” (Revelations 22:17)
Our spirit longs to be filled with a love that heals hatred, that quenches those who are spiritually and physically thirsty. This is the moment we are called to God to be comforted and replenished by a love greater than any we’ve experienced.
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37)
We do not live with a distant god who leaves us to fend for ourselves. Rather, God loved us so dearly that when we were lost he sent his son to show us we are loved and called to love one another. As he healed us, he asked us to heal our neighbors who are poor, elderly, or suffering. We are asked to love them despite their infirmities because God loves us, despite ours. Because we will all be at least one of these someday, and when we are, Jesus assures us he will never turn us away.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)
When I am anxious, I remind myself that God is the Alpha and Omega, ‘was, is, and ever will be’, always present, always with us. We can call on God and be assured that we will receive his love and compassion.
“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” (2 Chronicles 20:17)
At the end of his ministry, Jesus commanded his disciples to share the “Good News” to every corner of the globe. That command is as vital today as it was then. When events of the world leave us fearful, let’s turn to God whose love is steadfast. And when our spirits are replenished, let’s turn to our community and share God’s love. Because of Christ’s loving example, we know what difference one person can make.