Editor's note: Join disciples around the world in January as we devote ourselves to prayer and action. Each day, Disciples Today will publish a devotional from 31 Days of Prayer by Daniel Berk. Follow along on Facebook with your comments and prayer requests. We look forward to an amazing year as we seek God together!
Psalm 86:5-7 (NIV)
You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.
This week has been a learning experience for me. I've had conversations that have uncovered more parts of my character, revealed to me more areas in which I need to grow, and helped me to further understand God's forgiveness and his incredible plan of reconciliation for those who love him.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Have you ever been afraid of someone finding out your real heart? The part that only you know, the part that has been formed and shaped since the moment you were conceived, and since before the creation of time. Have you ever thought: "If he/she/they knew my real heart, there is no way they could possibly love me"? I have thought that way before.
I grew up with a broken perception of the world around me. Now, many years later, there are parts of my heart exposed that open my own eyes to the difficulties in accepting unwarranted love. As I continue to grow closer to God and allow him to love me, my vulnerability with him and with those close to me in my life grows. Like C.S. Lewis says: "To love is to be vulnerable."
To add to his sentiment: to receive love is to be vulnerable.
v.5. David says that the Lord is good and forgiving. How amazing is it to have a Lord who forgives us of our iniquities? This is so powerful and yet so easy to look past. God's love is abundant to all who call on him. This is the part of David's prayer that hits me today deeply. God loves us, and God is vulnerable with us. God let us see the weakest and most vulnerable parts of his soul in Gethsemane, and on the cross. Even now, he is so vulnerable that he has infused his own Spirit into us so that we can both know him and be completely – literally – unified with him. This unwarranted love is what should drive us to be vulnerable as well.
v.6. Hear my prayer and listen to my cry for mercy. To cry is to be vulnerable. If you're a man and you cry, you're allowing yourself to be seen in a vulnerable light. If you're a woman and you cry, you're allowing yourself to be seen in a vulnerable light. God cried. Do you cry out in prayer? There may not be tears (though often there can and might be), but crying out in prayer is becoming completely vulnerable before God about the deepest crevices of your heart and character. This is important.
v.7. God answers those who call in distress. When we are joyful and glad, God hears us. When we are distressed or sad or down or scared or doubtful, God hears us. Cry out to God and be heard. Be vulnerable before the throne of the Almighty and love him. Allow God to love you today. If you aren't being vulnerable, then you aren't allowing God to love you.
Reflect on the verses above. Are you allowing God to love you? The easiest answer to this is a resounding, "Yes!" However, receiving love takes just as much vulnerability as it does to love someone else. If you aren't being vulnerable, then you aren't letting God love you. Talk to God today about your fears and about your vulnerability. Ask him to show you how you can further open up to him and to others in your life so that you can become a vulnerable person, one who can love and one who can be loved.
"To love is to be vulnerable."
To receive love is to be vulnerable.