The Transforming Power of Love - Serenity in Suffering

There is no more powerful force than that of love. Love holds the power to transform everything it touches. The transforming power of love heals the deepest wounds and softens the harshest scars. Transfused into any situation, love alters outcomes and has changed the course of history. We observe change in hard hearts and hopeless situations when touched by the hand of love.

Perhaps you remember a time when you experienced the transforming touch of love? You may even remember a time when you offered that transforming touch. In both instances there is a joy that no words adequately describe. The joy of giving love that seeks no return, nor fosters any conditions. And the joy of receiving that same love, when you feel most unworthy, unseen and unheard. Love not only transforms the person and the situation, it transforms the heart.

lives transformed

Sometimes we end up in situations out of our control, helpless to change the situation or stop things from spinning out of control. We learn to cope, become hopeless or when possible, leave the situation totally.

Transformed to Transform

That’s exactly what a friend of mine did as a child. He grew up in Uganda, Africa in a poor home. Often neglected, under fed and abused regularly by his father. He heard words like, “you’re worthless”, “no one wants you” and “no one loves you”. Filled with hatred he ran away from his home when he was 8 years old and lived on the streets for two years.

One day, a Christian couple found him and spoke kindly to him. They took him into their home, fed him, loved him, taught him and told him about Jesus. He lived with them until he was in his twenties, when they helped him come to the United States. Long story short, he was educated and now has his own renovation business. Today, he’s a single foster Dad, who has hosted many children over the past 10 years in his home. He founded a non-profit that helps foster children know they are seen, heard and loved. Recently, he adopted a young teenage boy, formerly in the foster system all his life and finally abandoned by the most recent foster family. He knows first hand the transforming power of love and lives to offer it to children in need.

Transformed to Heal

As a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), I encounter the darker side of life. Children and parents, prisoners of bad choices, bad environments and hopelessness. As a CASA, I primarily advocate for children who end up in the foster system largely through neglect, but also abuse. In the majority of cases, parents are in and out of prison, drug rehab and homelessness. Though given many resources and opportunities, parents seldom improve their situations enough for reunification as a family. Often after about two years of working on a court issued plan for reunification, the parents fail to meet the requirements. Resulting in termination of their parental rights.

An event on a particular case of mine headed in that direction, showed me the transforming power of love. Neither parent in my case made any progress on their “plan”, and mom was incarcerated for the third time on multiple drug charges. I wrote her off, as she already lost her parental rights for a previous child and showed no behavior change. But as I sat in a ZOOM meeting with her, I saw something I never saw before from her. She began telling her story, and the pain pouring forth from her heart to mine shattered every prejudice I held. This was no pity party or manipulative effort. Right there in the prison, with her guard standing by, for the first time the raw emotion of her own inner prison found release.

The pain I heard that day pierced my heart and opened my eyes to a reality I had not considered. I began advocating for resources for her and holding off on the petition for termination of her parental rights. Releasing her story, freed her to receive the love and kindness she needed to heal. Time will tell the full result, but I already see a changed life.

the transforming love of god

The stories above indeed reveal the transforming power of love; the love of individuals choosing love over hatred or prejudice. But a greater love than what we offer others exists. In fact, it is that greater love enabling and filling us, subsequently spilling over we actually witness. The transforming power of God’s love knows no equal. Even the love we see in stories like those I shared, though astounding, is imperfect. As image bearers, we share the capacity for agape love, which originates with God and these stories illustrate the demonstration of it. But, “we love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

The love of God is unsurpassed in its transformation power. No individual is beyond the reach of God’s love, nor will He deny love to anyone. Jesus says in John 6:37, He will never, ever cast anyone out who comes to Him. The offer of God’s transforming love remains open to all of us, both before and after salvation. Many of us understand God’s love drawing us to Him for the transforming work of salvation. But that same love calls us to Him for forgiveness, healing and reconciliation. God uses the transforming power of love to conform us to the image of Christ.

the transforming power of love

As we conform to the image of Christ, we show forth more of God’s love to those around us. Godly, transforming love is expressed to others in how we live, not what we say. That’s why Jesus gave the greatest commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The second completing God’s view of love, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. (Matthew 22:37-40)

As we head into the month of February, known for Valentine’s Day and heart health, what better month for focusing on the transforming power of love? More specifically, the transforming power of God’s love. I have designed a 28 day devotional guide exploring the transforming love of God for the month of February. Containing Bible verses, reflections and journal prompts, it will guide you to a deeper understanding of the love God has for you and others. Designed with a fresh approach to familiar verses, each day offers you a new encounter with the Lover of your soul. Sign up below for your FREE copy today!

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