“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Who has never heard this verse? Pretty much anyone (on this continent anyway) has heard this at a wedding, hanging in a plaque on a wall, on Pinterest… We see this verse consistently. Almost to the point of not even noticing or maybe even ignoring it. Especially anyone who has been jaded by “love”. Romantic or otherwise. But it is funny how a verse I know better than most, have memorized and was even read at my wedding can all of a sudden jump out and adopt a new meaning in my heart that I never even thought about. The theme of my study lately has been “Hearing from God”….not necessarily on purpose but it just sort of happened that way. As much as I may want or think I need to study something else, this is what I have no choice but to focus on as it is the theme of the newest sermon series at church and also of the book my bible study is doing right now. Apparently God wants to talk to me.
So, as I was opening my bible and notebook to surrender to this fact and go back through last Sunday’s sermon notes, I pulled out my bulletin and it had been shoved right into 1 Corinthians 13. Not noticing at first that my bible was just laying open to this page, I start journaling to God in my notebook about Jeremiah 33:2-3 (the scripture from the pastor’s sermon) “This is what the Lord says, He who made the Earth, The Lord who formed it and established it – The Lord is His name: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Now, I am not one to normally just let my bible fall open and try to find something there, I am usually pretty intentional and plan what I am going to read, but as I was writing my thankfulness to a God who speaks and for “teaching wisdom and understanding” I looked over at my bible laying open to the “Love Chapter”, I wonder what more God could possibly have to say to me in these few verses?? I know them, they are “written on the tablet of my heart”…. What is it??
I proceed to humor God (I firmly believe that he is humored by us pretty regularly) and begin to write out verses 4-8. Love is patient, kind, and so on… There I was looking at this verse on paper wondering “What now?” Then I pull up the thesaurus and start writing synonyms to all these words…
Love: is humble, polite, respectful, graceful, forgiving, calm, makes happy, soothes, is joyful, bears no malice, overlooks, liberates, stops blame, grants pardon, justifies, joys in authenticity, always defends, shields, takes under wing, is optimistic, always works hard, keeps on, is determined, holds fast, persists, pursues, stays the course. Never breaks down, never declines, never aborts, never backslides, never slips and never loses control.
As I finish this, still wondering the point, I looked at the bottom of my journal page and the there was 1 John 4:16. It took me three pages of synonyms to get me to this particular page, but there it was. The point.
God is love.
Love never fails.
God never fails.
God is humble, polite, respectful, graceful, forgiving, calm, makes happy, soothes, is joyful, bears no malice, overlooks, liberates, stops blame, grants pardon, justifies, joys in authenticity, always defends, shields, takes under wing, is optimistic, always works hard, keeps on, is determined, holds fast, persists, pursues, stays the course. Never breaks down, never declines, never aborts, never backslides, never slips or never loses control.
Thank you Father, for who you are. For love. For grace. For being more determined than I am…speaking over my noise and my plans. For drowning out my agenda. Thank you for loving me, for being love, for never failing. Jesus you are love, you are truth, you are the word of life. Thank you for giving us human beings the capacity to love and be loved. Let us not miss love in all its fullness. Let us know love that is humble, graceful, joyful, determined. Love that liberates, pardons, justifies. Thank you that you not only told us that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friend, but you did it. (John 15:13, John 3:16) Thank you for modeling true love for us. Let me follow your example.
Since apparently it is my “thing” to add a song…