Agape

Agape. No, not əˈɡāp, as in your mouth is open wide. Agape…agápē….a specific form of the word “love” in greek. In my previous post I talked about being loved and loving wildly. Today I want to write about agape love. In case you’ve never learned this, the greek language actually had many words to describe love but there were four main words for love. One of those words is agape. Agape is a form of love that is universal, unconditional, unwavering, and is considered the highest form of love. It is not to be confused with phileo love, which is brotherly love. Agape is the love that God has for us and that we are called to have for God and for each other. Jesus commanded this in Luke 10:27

Luke-10_27

In my previous post, I shared that I have made the desire to be healed of this cancer an idol, without even realizing it. I have been so hoping that healing would happen swiftly but I have forgotten (perhaps too conveniently) that God’s timing is perfect and He may allow healing to take a long time. It took years for this cancer to grow to the size and amount that it did; healing may not happen immediately. Healing may not even completely happen this side of Heaven. I have such peace that healing will happen but boy did I hope it would happen ASAP!

Today, our guest speaker at church spoke on the story of Joseph, beginning in Genesis 37. Joseph was the favorite son. Ever heard of Joseph and the multi-colored coat? That’d be him! His father did not hide the fact that he was the favorite. In fact, that coat displayed the favoritism for the world to see. To add insult to injury, Joseph interpreted is own wild dreams in which it was suggested that all his brothers would bow down to him. This infuriated his brothers and they devised a plan, threw him into an empty well to die, but in a twist of events ordained by God, they sold him into slavery and told his father he’d been killed by a wild animal. Joseph was maliciously betrayed by his own brothers…his own flesh and blood. Joseph was then sold to Potipher, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. Joseph was blessed in all he did and he became the superintendent of Potipher’s house, second only to Potipher himself. However, Potipher’s wife tried to seduce Joseph but when he refused and tried to run away (aka do the right thing), she grabbed his coat, screamed wildly and accused Joseph of attempted rape. Joseph was thrown into prison. Aren’t you glad we have a judicial system in our country (however broken it may be)? Again, Joseph was betrayed and unjustly punished. While in prison, Joseph again was put in a position of authority above the other prisoners. During this time, Pharoh’s chief baker and chief cup-bearer were thrown into prison as well. One night, both men had strange dreams that Joseph interpreted. He told the cup-bearer that in three days he would be re-instated and the baker that in three day he would be hanged. Joseph’s interpretations came to pass and he asked the cup-bearer to remember him. Wouldn’t you know it? The cup-bearer forgot about him for TWO YEARS until Pharaoh himself began having dreams that no one else could interpret. THEN the cup-bearer remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about him. Pharaoh sent for Joseph and told him of the dreams. Joseph explained that the dreams represented 7 years of extreme abundance in the land of Egypt followed by 7 years of extreme drought and famine. Pharaoh asked what should be done and Joseph suggested that in the 7 years of abundance, everyone fill the storehouses and make sure that they would have enough to get them through the following 7 years of famine. Because of his ability to interpret these dreams and give such sound advice, Pharaoh made Joseph the Vizier of Egypt, second in command to Pharaoh. The story continues with the entire country being saved from starvation due to Joseph and his brothers being reunited with him during the famine….hint, they bowed down to him when they came to request grain for their starving family…does the bowing down part sound familiar???

So what is the take-away from this story? How did it resonate today? Well for me personally, it was a reminder that in the midst of some really hard times in my life, God can and will use it for good. God may be able to do more good with a slower healing process than he could if I was healed today. Maybe there are more people he wants me to come in contact with during this journey. Regardless, I have faith and peace that no matter how long the healing, God is in control and he will continue to work for my good. I won’t allow myself to become disheartened when things don’t happen in my timing.

The other way this biography resonated with me is that our entire service was done by team leaders and angels from Camp Agape. If you have never heard of Camp Agape, I HIGHLY encourage you to check it out. This is a 4 day camp that happens every Labor day weekend where about 150 “angels”- children of incarcerated parents- come and are involved in awesome activities that boost their self-esteem and they are loved unconditionally by the leaders (many of whom are former camp “angels” or incarcerated parents). Some of these children, leaders, and former incarcerated parents shared their testimonies today about how Camp Agape showed them the unconditional love of their Heavenly Father, filled a void, and turned their lives around. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was moved to tears multiple times. In a world where we are bombarded with news of hate, division, greed, and discontent, it was such a joy to hear of lives changed for the better, for eternity. We got to see how our giving makes a difference and hear stories of love, hope, and peace. These are children who have been betrayed repeatedly by those who they should be able to trust the most, their very own parents. Can you even begin to imagine their heartache? Their distrust, fears, abandonment and anger? How they acted out of self-preservation so they wouldn’t be hurt again? And then to hear how this camp, and now the church they have that meets weekly, has given these children (and often the parents) a new hope and future….oh what joy! To see Jesus’ command to Love thy neighbor as thyself in action is refreshing and inspirative!!!  How I desire to make a difference in the lives of others like Camp Agape does! How I hope and pray that I AGAPE others! Regardless of your views on God, I think we can ALL agree that this world needs more Agape! Check out Camp Agape’s video and may you be blessed this week!!! How will you share Agape this week?

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