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home : religion : religion January 19, 2019

12/23/2018 12:05:00 AM
God's Love Rises Above
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

John 3:16-17
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For people of faith at Christmas, we celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus and how God’s love was poured into the world through Him. It was love for the creation that led God to reveal Himself in human form to walk with us so we could know His character and His nature. Jesus was Love incarnate, the kind of love that rises above the carnal and takes us into the Divine.

Recently I learned that the ocean floor has mountain ranges as big as the ones on dry land, and if we could drain the water way we would see rocky peaks as high as Mt. Everest and ranges as large as the Rocky Mountains. The ocean floor is the last great unexplored wilderness on earth, and scientists are now beginning to map these mountain ranges using sonar technology. As boats and ships travel the surface of the ocean, they are able to float over these jagged peaks. They are unseen because the ocean covers them and we are able to rise above.

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As I day dreamed thinking about such things, I saw that our souls are like the ocean in that we too have mountain ranges in us. Just like the ones on dry land, our inner mountain ranges were created by the volcanic eruptions in our lives that caused us pain and leave behind ridges of anger, bitterness, sorrow, and resentment created by our own sin and the sins of others. These jagged peaks can create barriers between us and others in our lives. We try to hide them but sometimes these inner mountain jut out for all to see. We can trip and fall into a spiritual valley when we remember how our inner mountains were created and who was involved.

At Christmas many families have annual gatherings that challenge our ability to love because our inner mountains remind us of the journey of pain in our family relationships. We need some way to deal with those who have hurt us or who have hurt each other when we sit together by the Christmas tree or at the holiday dinner table. Our human love can be like a shallow stream where even small boulders can topple a canoe. Without God’s love, Christmas is just another secular holiday and can be one of the most stressful times of year when people are thrown together and reminded of their inner mountains.

1 Peter 4:8
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

When Jesus Christ was born, God poured an ocean of love into humanity through Him. This unconditional love is what we need to fill us up and cover our inner mountains just like the ocean does for the mountain ranges on the floor of the sea. When we are filled with God’s love, we can rise above the mountain tops of painful memories and even current struggles that act like active volcanoes in our lives. The inner mountains are still there but through the love of Christ, God has made a way for us to rise above them together.

Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church

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