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What is the dream of your heart? When life gets difficult what is the one cry that remains strongest in your heart? The answers to these questions tell a lot about a person. They also speak of where you’re going in the grace of God.

I know a group of men. Older men (45-65), flawed humans like the rest of us, yes, but men whose heart cry is to love God and to love others into loving Him too. By love I don’t mean be nice to people, go to church on a Sunday and read their bible a bit. I mean a cry of love that causes them to lay down their lives in the pursuit of God and people. I mean a cry of longing for a community of ones who know true love. They’ve been searching the bible for truth. They’ve been longing and searching and inviting others to do it with them. They’ve been giving up their time and their money and their strength to see others grow and benefit. They’ve been making decisions for their families that go against our culture and cost a hit to their reputations in pursuit of this dream that will not be silenced. I know they’ve stumbled. I know they’ve made mistakes.  I know they’ve wanted to give up many times. But the cry of their hearts has stayed the same.

So the weeks have turned to months and the months to years and years to decades yet the cry has remained. And now, finally, the harvest is beginning to appear in the fields of their labour. At this point, truth be told, it takes a prophetic spirit to see it …but… it’s there… and it’s growing…fast. What it looks like is this: a harvest of peace and righteousness in the hearts of younger men that will touch first the future wives and children of these young ones and translate to a move of holiness and love, a testimony of the beauty of Jesus in this nation like nothing ever seen before. I prophesy it!

For decades it hasn’t been glorious. For decades it has been lonely. For decades it has often felt like the dream of their hearts was dead. But it was Jesus who said that unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it will bear no fruit (John 12:24). And it’s Jesus who has seen that often weak flame of love in these men’s hearts and proclaimed, “That desire, though it may be weak, though it may have failed at times, is the massive assurance mixed in my grace of the inheritance I have for you!” Success is not a big job or a large income or a good reputation. Success is found in knowing love and love looks like sacrifice and service and faithfulness for decades in the place where few ever recognize it.

Donald Miller writes, “Where there are strong men in my family there is life.” (To own a Dragon: Reflections on growing up without a father)  This is not to ignore the heroic contribution and significance of women but to highlight that men are called to bring life to those around them by the cry in their hearts to love. This post is for those men who have loved so well in secret. The cry in my heart is that I would find the strength to follow in your footsteps.

Joel Ratcliffe

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