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. I Corinthians 13:4-8a
When I graduated from college, I worked on the staff of Campus Crusade for 2 years at the University of Texas and then I moved to Eastern Europe to travel in Communist countries as a missionary. I had the illusion that because I had a committed heart, I was mature.
But since the Lord is a good parent, and He wanted me to grow into the likeness of Christ, and he saw that I was quite young, immature, self-centered and full of pride, he knew I needed more practice and training to become more like Christ.
So he gave me a husband and children, so that I could really find out what sacrificial love was all about. It has not been easy to pull out the weeds of expectations; to fight the storms of giving up my rights; to endure the drought of feelings that did not always match up to what I thought a loving wife and mother should feel in a happy home. But, I kept holding on to Him, pondering His life and seeking to be loyal through faith in His reality and presence, even though I could not always see Him.
Now, though still growing, I have learned so much more about true love, self-sacrifice, commitment. long-suffering--and it has all made me love Him more because I see how much of my life has required that of Him--as I have tested Him, misbehaved, thrown tantrums, and pulled away at times. But still He loves me and still He sacrificed for us while we were yet sinners.
Love, like the beautiful rose garden at Glen Eyrie Castle above, must grow over years and years to become mature. It must be cultivated and watered and nurtured and protected and worked again.
Thank you, sweet Lord, that you showed me the way and went before me to model real love.
"Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down His life for His friends."
Love slowly dawns on my soul as I watch you throughout my life, and I am humbled and brought to worship of you, the great Lover.