Love is such a tricky thing. Something we all say we want, struggle to feel we deserve at times, and then feel as though we are drained with none left to give.
My kids say they “love” ice cream, even though it is quickly gone, leaving more to be instantly desired. My husband and I claim to “love” each other while passing the time doing menial tasks such as paying bills, washing dishes or filling the car up with gas. The “love” I have for my children often ends up making them cry when I serve up correcting discipline some days as well as gooey chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven.
Conflicting. Paradoxical. Wondrously glorious and achingly painful at the same time. This is the nature of not only weak human love, but also the love of our sweet Savior.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God,” 1 John 4:7.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ lay down His life for us,” 1 John 3:16.
We can hardly wrap our minds around the type of love that not only created the entire universe, but also sacrificed Himself out of love for that creation, and continues to love us in our persistent forgetfulness and rebellion.
“The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell; it goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell…Oh love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure the saints’ and angels’ song.” Frederick M. Lehman -1917.
Have you taken time today to thank Him for that love? The love that reached out to you in utter darkness and illuminated not only your need for a Savior, but provided one as well? The love that lives within you if you know Him, breaking the bonds of sin and enabling victorious living each day you are given? Praise the Lord with great thanksgiving!
The love of God is truly an astonishing thing, but then what do we do with it? How do we extend what we have received to the cranky next door neighbor or to the screaming baby at 2am?
Love might be many things, but it is rarely convenient. We might even be able to argue that a convenient love, one that comes at no personal cost or even a slight disturbance of our ease is not really love at all.
- “Love your enemies, do good to them,” Luke 6:35.
- “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love,” Ephesians 4:2.
- “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins,” 1 Peter 4:8.
Showing love to a mother-in-law who demands you spend the Holidays at her house each year with a huge helping of guilt. Exhibiting love to the boss who continually demeans and overlooks you. Caring for a family member who is in the hospital. Offering love to the feverish child puking on your bed, the friend who hurt your feelings, the husband who is late for dinner again and forgot to pick up the medicine to help the sick kid. This is no fluffy, violin stringed love, it is honestly a real pain sometimes, but it is what Christ calls us to through His power.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15
Even as I write this, I have been “inconveniently loved” by my 4 year old daughter who wants nothing more than to be glued to my side 24 hours a day. (Accompanied by her blankie, bunny and backpack filled with treasures!) I need God’s help to patiently receive it as love, and then to kindly offer the time and attention her young heart craves.
Let’s face it, true love requires something of us…but it isn’t anything we haven’t first been given from our graciously good Heavenly Father.
“If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:3-7
** I realize it is slightly after Thanksgiving 😉 but if you are interested, you can check out the article I wrote for the Homeschooling Today Magazine blog entitled Can We Really Force Our Kids to Give Thanks? HERE. And the reviews of the books I read this month are up HERE.