Dear Lord, please help me to always be mindful of your unceasing love for me, and to use it as an example for how to love the people in my life.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
It’s hard not to immediately think of marriage when reading the words above. I have entered into marriage twice. Both times I was hopeful that it would be a marriage filled with love. Both times I found myself disappointed because both times everything felt the opposite of what Paul was talking about in his letter to the Corinthians. My first marriage sadly ended in divorce after about five years. My second marriage, though rocky initially, has blossomed into something more wonderful than I could have ever imagined. What changed? I finally got to know Jesus and accepted him as my lord and savior.
Our family attended a Christian summer camp and everything changed. I had spent my life hanging on to the idea that I could be good enough to get into Heaven. And what’s more, that it was up to me to make that happen. Through a combination of powerful teaching and the confessing of sins that had been weighing our marriage down, I came to realize the powerful, infinite love of Jesus. All I had to do for eternal life was to accept his sacrifice for me, nothing more, nothing less.
God waited patiently for me to accept his son Jesus for nearly forty years. That may be like a blink of an eye for God compared to eternity, but for life on earth it feels like a long time. Knowing Jesus has enabled me to know love. Knowing love saved my second marriage. If it can be good here in this broken world, I can only imagine how great it will be spending forever and ever in Heaven with God.
Though it seems like it should be easy to love the people closest to us, sometimes they’re the hardest people to love. When we are close to people, they can hurt us, either on purpose or by accident. If you’re having trouble loving because you feel hurt remember this: Whether we mean to or not, we sin against God regularly. Despite that, he continues to love us without ceasing. He has infinite grace for us. If he can have infinite grace for us, surely we can find room for a little love and grace that shows itself, in patience, for those around us.
God of the waiting,
teach us to embody patience,
never rushing into action without your signal.
You have created a world steeped in patience;
nature follows its rhythms without haste.
May we learn from this design,
stopping to pause and wonder and praise.
When our hearts are weary from waiting,
remind us that we do not wait alone for Christ dwells in us.