Do You Love Her?

I was just talking with my friend Dave Weigel (pastor of Living Waters, Elk River, MN) at the Global Legacy meetings in Rochester, MN. We decided that when it is all said and done it is about the presence and love of God. Which reminded me of Rev. 2:4. Love…”first love” passion for Him and His presence is the priority. Which reminded me of a testimony shared with Trish and me by our “spiritual ……daughter” Jade Dols, who recently sent off to Thailand to join the battle against human trafficking. The testimony is as follows:

Do you love her?

            When I found out that I was accepted into Iris Ministries School of Missions, I was very excited.  As you may know, Iris Ministries in Mozambique experiences the manifest love and power of God like very few places on the earth.  Here the blind see, deaf hear, lame walk, and the dead are raised on a regular basis.  Miracles and transformation are normal.

            I was very excited to go.  “Yes!” I thought, “Finally I will see the love and power of Jesus poured out like in biblical days.  I will be able to bring back the faith and anointing and we will experience revival in Minnesota!  I can take these testimonies around the world.  It will be so good to have the faith for the miraculous everywhere I go!”

            A week or two after arriving and starting school, they started sending teams into the “bush-bush” for evangelism.  I had heard countless stories of how Iris sends teams into these remote groups of people, and entire villages come to Christ along with healings, signs, and wonders.  The whole 9 yards.  “Finally!”  I thought to myself.  “I have been waiting so long.  This is going to be amazing!  I am ready.  In fact, I am more than ready.”

            The big night had finally come.  They played the Jesus film aaaand…..not much happened.  It was chaotic; I didn’t see anyone get saved.  No blind eyes opened or deaf ears heard.  No lame people walked or dead were raised.  I think some headaches went away, but it was hard to tell.  “That’s weird.”  I said to myself, “Um…Lord, this wasn’t anything like the books or stories I’ve heard.  I don’t quite understand what’s going on….”

            I had big hopes for the second day, sure that the Lord would show up and pour out His love and power on these poor village people.  We went on “house visits” to pray for the sick.  This consisted of a group of us going from mud hut to mud hut, asking what’s wrong, praying, seeing nothing happen, praying again, still seeing nothing happen, trying to encourage the person, and moving onto the next home.

            In one of the last homes that we visited, there was an elderly woman sitting on a rope bed.  The mud hut was very dark and musty.  There were no lights and the dust made it hard to breath.  The whole right side of her body was paralyzed, so she couldn’t move very well.  For this reason she had lost almost all muscle tone and was reduced to skin and bones.  I could tell that she had been sitting on that rope bed in the dark for years.  Her situation seemed hopeless, but I knew that God could change it.  We prayed and prayed, and then prayed some more.  But nothing happened.  By this time I was discouraged and confused.  “God, I don’t understand!  Why aren’t you healing her?  Isn’t this what You do here?  Isn’t this normal life here?  What happened to the amazing bush-bush testimonies that I’ve heard about?!  Why isn’t anything happening!?”

His response came…

 “Why do you care?” He said.  “Do you actually love her?”

……..I was stunned.  I had no response.

“You know that I do, but do YOU?  You know that I came to give my life for her, but would YOU?  You know that I came to serve her, but would YOU?  Do you actually love her Jade?!  Do you actually love her?!  Or do you just want a cool testimony; a story to tell when you go back home?”

My heart stopped because I knew what my answer should be, and that’s not what it was.

“What’s her name?”

“I don’t know Lord…”

“What’s her name Jade?!  What’s her name?”

“I don’t know,” I cried, “I don’t know.  I’m sorry Lord.  I’m so sorry.  I don’t actually love her.  I thought that I did but I don’t.  I honestly don’t.  And that’s not okay.”

The Lord wasn’t finished…

“Jade,” He said, “unless you actually love someone as I do and unless you are willing to sacrifice and serve them as I would, you SHUT YOUR MOUTH and you DO NOT DARE speak of my love for them.  You are misrepresenting Me and I will not tolerate it.”

“Yes sir, I understand,” was my only response.

Then His tone changed.

“Honey,” He said, “the reason that Iris experiences these miracles is because they DO true love.  They stop for the one in front of them and love them.  They serve and sacrifice.  You need to learn that.  Love comes first, and everything else will follow.  But you need to learn to love first.  You can’t possibly love the multitudes until you learn to love the person in front of you.”