My year here is almost over. In four weeks I will be leaving Liberia. Strange. Changes are never comfortable.
One of the reasons adequate pain control is so important in children is that they cannot distinguish between pain and anxiety. If the experience even a small amount of pain, this can blend with anxiety and explode into a ball of screams and cries. You cannot reason with children; and they don't know if something hurts or if they are just scared. It's not pleasant scenario for any party involved. Once a child reaches this threshold it takes a large amount of medication to bring their perceived pain under control.
As I think about leaving the ship, about plans for the future, I realize how important it is to fully trust God. I think about the babies I love holding on the ward. I always watch in amazement when they fall asleep on my chest. They are so relaxed, so dependent, so at ease. Their closeness causes you to naturally begin to study them. Their softly set eyes. There tiny pores. There delicate lips.
It's a beautiful picture of how we ought to be with God. Resting on Him in full dependence. Our souls totally dependent upon His ability to uphold us.
And I think of how fully He know us. He counts the hairs on our heads. He tenderly collects our tears. He has created and formed our inmost being.
I think of how precious we are to Him; we are His children. And He loves us perfectly.
1 John 4:18 says
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Pain in life is inevitable. The world is a fallen place. If you live and breath you will at some point experience it. The future will in no doubt hold it in some degree, which can trigger an onslaught of irrational fears.
When I experience even a small amount of pain my anxiety and fears are escalated, and like an unreasoning child, the pain I think I am feeling is inflated to an unrealistic level. My fears can make a paper cut on a finger feel like an amputation of my arm.
This is not the fruit of walking in God's love. His love drives out fear.
I think this is because His love is completely unselfish and quite different from the love we are use to giving and receiving. It is not a love that feeds it's own needs or protects itself, it's a vulnerable extravagant love that actively looks to better someone else at it's own expense.
2 Corinthians 12:15
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you the less I be loved.
To be perfected in God's love is to be freed from the bondage of self. Of self reliance, self protection, self indulgence, self needs, self wants, self desires. Instead, it looks to better someone else. And because at this point the giver of love is not looking for anything in return, they have nothing to lose and therefore no need for fear. They have been perfected in love.
I pray that before I die I might learn in some small manner this kind of love. To give fully of oneself with no expectations. And no fears.
It's a very freeing thought.