What I love most about Bob Goff is that he can be anyone’s friend. He never meets a stranger and he certainly is intentional about showing grace and love no matter the person. Bob’s love for people often lands him in situations where he gets to show the love of Jesus in unusual and memorable ways…including this story of a backyard marriage proposal for a stranger. It is a joy to welcome Bob to the farm’s front porch today…
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
Our backyard in San Diego spreads right down the to the water, and Sweet Maria and I like to sit on our back porch.
We meet a lot of new friends out there, and we’ll never forget Ryan.
He was strolling down the dirt path by the water when he suddenly stopped and started waving.
“Hi, I’m Ryan and I’m in love,” he said.
“That’s great, Ryan!” I shot back.
Then he continued: “I came here because I was wondering if I could ask my girlfriend to marry me in your backyard.”
We shouted “Yes!” immediately. Ryan went big with his plans: he had twenty friends cook dinner for them, then they danced in our backyard and he took her out on our boat to pop the big question.
The night ended better than a fireworks show, with water cannons from a Coast Guard boat spraying the stars like they were on fire.
I think about Ryan all the time, his fearlessness to be bold and his willingness to put extravagant love on display.
He ran the risk of her saying no or getting embarrassed in front of all his friends. Yet he pushed through the fear that he might look silly with the better chance that he’d get the girl.
He did all this because his feelings for his beloved were greater than his fear of what others might think if it didn’t go as planned.
When God said perfect love casts out fear, He knew what He was talking about.
He knew the other thing bigger than fear was love for other people.
He knows love is powerful enough to pull us outside our heads long enough to take risk for other people.
Love is worth the risk because love always wins.
When looking at those dreams and goals that you’ve been putting off because of fear remember where your help comes from.
Jesus came to us, lived with us, walked with us, so that He could intercede at the hand of the Father for us.
When fear drives our decisions we are letting it get in the way of the relationship that the God intends for us.
His plan is for us is to live in His love.
Let’s let perfect love be more powerful than fear.
Let’s let the love God has for us fuel our love for people. The next verse in 1 John states that we love because He first loves us.
Fixing our eyes on God, living in the love He has for us, is a fool-proof way to love your neighbor better.
That’s all God wants.
He wants us to know we are His beloved and to love people better because of it.
What risks will you take for someone today to love them more?
Bob Goff is a New York Times best-selling author with his first two books Love Does and Everybody, Always. Now Bob is back with a year-long devotional made up of his distinctive, entertaining, deceptively profound reflections on what it means to live every day in light of the grace of God.
Built on Bob’s trademark storytelling and unique way of helping us to see things in a new way, Live in Grace, Walk in Love takes us through an entire calendar year of meditations on how we can step out in love and confidence in every aspect of our lives. More than a tweet, less than a blog post, these devotional readings — accompanied by Scripture — will inspire and galvanize you live a more liberated, love- and life-giving existence than you ever thought possible.
[ Our humble thanks to Thomas Nelson for their partnership in today’s devotion ]