[Love] “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:….”1 Corinthians 13:7-8a
Pastor Stephen Davey said, “I remember having lunch with one of my students at Shepherds Seminary and being challenged by his testimony.
He told me that his thirteen-year-old son had been born with severe brain defects. As a result, the boy was unable to swallow, was mentally retarded, paralyzed, and needed round-the-clock care in their home.
This seminarian’s depth of character was remarkable to me. Despite this time-consuming and restricting weight of responsibility, he said that God had been so faithful to his family. He didn’t complain or show any signs of bitterness. He even remarked at one point, “I know there are a lot of people out there who suffer more than we do . . . and our son is such a joy to us.”
That’s the kind of love Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians 13:7. That’s the kind of love that isn’t just willing to endure all things . . . it wants to.
In Kent Hughes’ book Disciplines of a Godly Man, he tells the story of his friend Robertson McQuilkin, the former president of Columbia International University.
When Dr. McQuilkin’s wife Muriel was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he decided to resign from his office in order to give her the care that was required 24/7. He wrote these inspiring words in his resignation letter to the university:
My dear wife Muriel has been in failing mental health for about eight years. So far I have been able to care for both her ever-growing needs and my leadership responsibilities at Columbia. Recently it has become apparent that Muriel is contented most of the time she is with me and almost none of the time I am away from her. It is not just “discontent.” She is filled with fear—even terror—that she has lost me and always goes in search of me when I leave home. It is clear that she needs me now, full-time. This decision was made, in a way, forty-two years ago when I promised to care for her “in sickness and in health . . . ’til death do us part.” So, as I have already told the students and faculty, as a man of my word, I will do it. She has cared for me fully all these years; if I cared for her for the next forty years I would not be out of debt. Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But there is more; I love Muriel. She is a delight to me . . . I do not have to care for her . . . I get to.
This is the endurance of true love.
Imagine what kind of difference it would make in your life today if you loved people—and the Lord—with this same attitude.
Instead of living with a mindset of having to demonstrate love, we would adopt the spirit of getting to show our love!
When the Apostle John told us that God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, he revealed that God had this very mindset toward us. God’s love wasn’t stoic or grim.
He didn’t have to save us . . . He wanted to.
Will you love Christ today with that same attitude? The attitude that says, “I don’t have to love Jesus . . . I get to.” Take some time right now to evaluate your love for Christ and then pray for grace to love Him more. As the old Puritans prayed, “Lord, give me a longing to long for You . . . give me a love to love You.”