Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails....” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
When my children were small I remember wishing that I could just place them in a glass dome so that nothing could ever harm them. But then I realized they would also miss all the joys of living. They would miss love.
I remember the first time I studied the Scripture passage about love in an easier to understand text. When I read it over, I thought, I have not loved anyone. I found out how self-serving I was. How sensitive I was. Keeping record of wrongs others had done to me. I had been loving out of my need, not as an overflow to others.
It hurts when you love and then others don’t love you back as you expect. A husband may not be as attentive as you think you need. A wife may be consumed with her children. Teenagers may be in rebellion. You may long for someone to be in your life to love you. You may have lost someone you loved dearly. Working through that sense of lost love is going to be extremely painful. Where do you run with that pain? Who but Christ can fill that void? But if the love you receive from someone has been lost, and without it you absolutely cannot function, then that relationship has been a god to you. Confess it to Christ and to someone else, and ask for a repentant heart. If God holds that place, run to Him.
When God’s love began to awaken my heart from its deep sleep of being stoic, in denial, and hardness, I began to experience what real love was all about. My grandchildren hugging me and saying they love me awakens my heart. I remember my elderly dad reaching for my hand, how that awakened love in me. When I know I am wrong and a friend listens and doesn’t preach but prays for me, it awakens my heart.
I am very fortunate to have prayer support, friends, and family who have been there through the years for me. In addition to that, in the last few years I have begun reuniting with family and friends I had not been close to for years. How my life has expanded with opening our hearts to each other! The richness and fullness they have brought to me was unexpected, but I am oh, so thankful for them all. They have loved me unconditionally, believed in me, mentored me, and even become my soul mates. I have been awakened to love.
We need the whole body of Christ and even unbelievers in our lives. To love us and to teach us to love. So that we may love them. Christ knows how much we want and need love. He loved us and wanted our love so much He was willing to die to get us. He knows how it feels to want to be loved. God put this love and need for love in our hearts. Only He can meet this need. No one person, no matter how wonderful that person is, will ever meet your need for love as completely as Christ. Without Him there will always be a void. It is the fullness of His love in our hearts which spills over to everyone in our lives. You will love with the same amazing love by which you are loved. You will enjoy and love people more than you can imagine. All kinds of people. Not just those like you.
Father, Son, Spirit, release Your love from our hearts so that we can love You and others with Your unfathomable love. May it take our breath away and dry our tears. We are fulfilled in You.