Love hopes all things… ~1 Corinthians 13:7 (b)
When I first chose this topic immediately my mind was racing to try and make it practical. We have been learning so much about love during this series and overall it has been truly wonderful! We have been able to take these specific attributes of love, unravel them and make them our own; us as authors to some extent, even more so. So far it has been a fantastic journey. (Please bear with me for all the Scripture references throughout this post; there are so many! All of them were so relevant and powerful; please take the time to read through them.)
the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
verb (used with object), hoped, hoping.
to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.
to believe, desire, or trust
How can love HOPE ALL things? How does that even make sense? In our world we are so used to having artificial love. Used to seeing friendships broken, used to seeing phoney relationships fall apart. It’s so sad, but somehow these ‘failing relationships’ have become the norm. Even sadder, sometimes we anticipate them falling apart.
As Christians, though, we are called to be different, to oppose the norm by living as Christ instructs us in His Word. As we have established already, love is the greatest of these. This love involves patience, longevity, kindness and hope. Now it is WAY easier to say that than to display or live it.
James 1:22- 25 (NKJV)
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
What would that imply practically? I would like to give my personal input at this point so that it can be illustrated in a very real way.
I have had this one friend for a long time. We were really close and saw each other often. In a certain sense we were best friends, but as life manages to do so often, several situations arose and we handled it wrongly. It really hurt both of us and somehow there has never been a complete restoration of our friendship ever since.
Now you might think it seems silly, or like something that is supposed to be easily resolved, I can tell you with a lot of raw honesty, it isn’t. If I may share with you, I have tried ‘fixing’ it for little more than a year now.
At first the reality stung so badly, the pain was agonizing. This was my best friend and now we can hardly even greet each other. Somehow it has become a war where there are no winners.
I told myself that I am giving up many times, but that was just my head deceiving my heart. Cause in this brokenness, God came to do something in my heart. . .
He changed the viewpoint and let me see glimpses of the truth of the situation. He allowed me to be strong in HIM and did not let myself get hurt constantly. Not to be in my flesh where everything seemed hopeless. Instead He put a hope in my heart, a hope that even though it still hurts often, there will be reconciliation. A hope that even though I have wanted to give up more than a 100 times, He is faithful even when I do not feel like being faithful to the calling of mending this. A hope that everything will be okay in my friend’s life and in mine, a hope that does not want to run and hide, but instead pursue healing. This hope can only be from Christ because when we get hurt, we want to hide, we want to protect our hearts from breaking again. We want to keep ourselves from falling. But our calling is to be His hands, His feet. And many times we have to situate ourselves where it hurts us deeply so that we can rely on Him fully. So that we can trust Him completely as we know that nothing will come of this if we try it on our own.
I have been given a hope that the truth will win out and that God’s love will overcome. I have been made strong in Him so that I can handle this hurt and face it daily, weekly, monthly until He has completely restored.
And if restoration would mean that we won’t be friends anymore, the hope that I have is that my friend will be well.
This hope in love can only come from the One who loves us perfectly! In this world loving can be really hard. Especially since we do not receive the love we give out, in return. That sure does hurt, the longing you might have to be loved the way you love, or just cared for the way you so intensely care. But we live in a selfish generation; a generation where someone is way more concerned about what goes on in their own lives than in any one else’s and many times even close friends and family do the same. And it hurts, because we are oh so human! But Christ has called us to love even though we aren’t being loved; to give love even when we will receive nothing in return.
I bet you know why…
1 John 4:7-11 (NKJV)
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
John 15:9-17 (NKJV)
“”“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.””
1 John 4:19 (NKJV)
“We love Him because He first loved us.”
None of this is easy, in fact it is SO hard. As I am typing this I am reflecting on a personal struggle that actually arose in me just this week… Loving is really hard, especially when it hurts deeply. We might be trembling in fear because we are scared that we might get hurt again, scared that the pain would suffocate us when we keep giving, giving, giving.
1 John 4:18 (a) (NKJV)
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out all fear.”
But God says we can be bold because He has given us His Spirit:
John 14: 26-17 (NKJV)
“ ‘But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ “
1 John 4: 13- 16 (NKJV)
“By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son as Saviour of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
So let us take courage when we face this enormous task, knowing that Christ is with us to strengthen and embolden us; to enable us to do what is impossible in worldly terms.
And may we look towards the perfect Promised Land of our eternal home in heaven with our Saviour, where loving will be easy. Where there will be no pain. No fear. Just perfect peace in Jesus forever!
John 14: 2-3 (NKJV)
“ “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” “