Crazy Love

Time after time again I’ve been reminded of Jesus’ crazy love for me and you. He’s shown it to me in the smallest moments and in the moments where my heart has been broken into a million pieces. He’s shown it to me in situations I don’t understand and in situations that I thrive in. I’ve seen that there is truly no limit to His love.

Seeing children as young as six years old carrying their baby siblings for hours reminds me of the love of our Father. They often look exhausted and worn out, but they never complain. They love their little sibling so much that they would bear pain for them, that they would go until they can’t anymore, that they would hold them instead of play soccer with their friends. This is a pure example of Jesus’ love for us. He loves us so much that he bore the pain of the cross for us and he still carries our pain and struggles for us. He loves us eternally and unconditionally, even when it may hurt a little. He loves us so much that he made the ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross for us, to give us abundant life.

This week the Lord completely wrecked my heart. Three months ago, when I prayed that He would break my heart for what breaks His, I didn’t quite realize what that would entail. I didn’t realize that it would mean holding children who are nearly lifeless and haven’t eaten in days. I didn’t realize it would mean standing up for the kids who are overlooked, forgotten, and taken advantage of. I didn’t realize that it would bring me to tears and drop me to my knees. I didn’t realize how much love I would pour out and how much love would be poured into me by our Father. I’m going to be honest, some days I wish I wouldn’t of prayed that prayer. But then I think about how big our God is, and that’s why I’m going to keep telling him to break my heart for what breaks His. I know that He’s bigger than the brokenness and I want to show people that. I want my heart to be broken because then I will be bold.

Zambian children think it’s okay to fight, because that’s what they’ve been raised in. Seeing the kids who won’t fight back – the kids who are hurt and taken advantage of, that’s what lights a fire in my soul. That’s what breaks my heart. This week I broke because of seeing this. I broke because I couldn’t take seeing the innocent kids get picked on and beat and be curled up in tears on the dirty floor. I broke because I didn’t understand what was being said to them and I couldn’t stop it or stand up for them as much as I wished I could. But the story doesn’t end there.

Today at school over half of my class was sent home because they hadn’t paid the 10 kwacha (83 cent) fee to go to school. 83 cents. That broke my heart, but Jesus turned that broken situation into something beautiful. I went outside to get a little break from the stuffy, dusty classroom and a few of the boys ended up joining me. Let’s just put it nicely and say I wasn’t thrilled about it. They were the boys who I had seen punch my sweet buddies Steven and James. They were the boys who didn’t back down from a fight. They were the boys who made my heart break. But, Jesus told me to love them. He told me that they needed to be shown love more than anybody in that moment. He created so many opportunities for me to show these kids love and teach them about Him. So, let me tell you the story of Jesus’ crazy love.

There was a cross outside and Joseph, the boy who I had seen throw the most punches, acted like Jesus on the cross. That was an open door to conversation, so I asked Him and the other boys around what they knew about Jesus and if they knew why Jesus died on the cross. After not much of a response, I was able to tell them the story of Jesus. The story of a man who died to save us, a man who will never stop loving us. And I looked each of them in the eye and assured them that they are loved and that nothing will change that. They were starting to get wound up, but we still had some time left, so I quickly went to the library to find a story to read them. On the way, I was praying I could find a story about Jesus’ love or even just about Jesus. And sure enough, the first book I see in the library is a children’s book titled “God Gave Us Love.” I had no idea what this book is about, but clearly it was straight from the Lord, so I read it to them. This book couldn’t of been more perfect for that moment. The book talked about how Jesus will always love us, no matter what. It explained that sometimes it’s hard to love the people around us, but that’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to love the people around us, even when it’s hard and even when we want to fight. Because that’s what Jesus does for us every single day.

Throughout the rest of class I was able to call the kids by name, look them in the eyes, and assure them that they are loved. I saw the joy on their faces, I saw the love they were showing each other, and I was in awe of Jesus’ crazy love that he poured over me and some of my first grade kids in that moment.

As I was walking out of class at the end of the day, one of the kids nearly tackled me with a hug. That kid was Joseph – the one who it was hard for me to show love to at first. The one who just needed to be loved so that he could show love.

Jesus’ crazy love amazes me more and more everyday. Today I got to see a broken situation turn into something beautiful. I got to see kids who want to fight turn into kids who long to love and be loved.

My prayer is that these kids remember that no matter what happens to them, Jesus loves them. My prayer is that next time they want to fight, they would remember that Jesus says to love.

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