I’ve been serving in ministry now for nearly ten years. One of the biggest surprises of these ten years has been watching love in action. We see love in action all the time. I’ve seen love in action in orphanages while fitting orphans to wear new shoes. I’ve seen love in action in homeless shelters while serving a meal to men who had no home. I’ve seen love in action in the church when someone’s home burned to the ground and the church rallied to provide for the needs of that family. And while I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to witness and participate in so many different “love stories” the times that have meant the most to me have been watching love played out in some of the most difficult situations.
Back when I was in college, I worked at a company that delivered home medical equipment. There was a man I worked with, named Andrew, who was a few years older than me. He was happily married and they were expecting their first children—they were having twins. As she progressed through her pregnancy, however, it became quite clear that everything was not okay. She had to be put on bed-rest for the last trimester of her pregnancy. When the time came for the children to be born, the doctors warned that they might not make it. They survived birth, only to leave this earth less than 48 hours after they arrived. It is fair to call this a tragedy—an unanswerable question outside the mind of a Sovereign God. But somehow, Andrew managed to stand up in the pulpit of his church, standing over the two small caskets of his babies, and speak of love. He spoke of his love for his babies, he spoke of his love for his wife, and he spoke of his love for his Savior. Love bears all things.
I’ve seen love played out in families who have lost everything. I used to go to church with a family that struggled after the husband’s on the job injury. His company was liable, but his worker’s compensation settlement was tied up in some legal snafu. The wife’s salary was insufficient to pay the bills and put food on the table—much less the mounting doctor’s bills. I remember watching people at church quietly and anonymously be used in answer to their prayers. I remember one particular day that this family’s washing machine broke and it was going to cost $300 to fix it. Without saying a word, a dear friend pulled out her checkbook and wrote a check and paid to have the washing machine repaired. Though they struggled, they never did without and their love for one another grew stronger through it all. Together, they trusted God for every need. Love believes all things, hopes all things.
I’ve seen husbands and wives sit patiently at the bedside of spouses whose minds have been ravaged by the scourge of Alzheimer’s Disease. I remember visiting a nursing home and seeing a husband who couldn’t even remember the name of his wife. Many times he would violently reject her demonstrations of affection. There were times when she would offer to feed him and he would slap the spoon out her hand. Yet day in and day out she would come to the nursing home. She would go to his room. And often times against his will, she would show him love. Love endures all things.
It is good to remember that this is how God loves you. He loves us with a love that is far different from the fleeting emotion our culture has defined as love. He loves us with a love that is deeper than our trials. He loves us with a love that remains even after we reject the One who gave his life for us. God’s love is enduring—shouldn’t ours be also?
MP3 of the sermon, “Love is Enduring,” can be downloaded by clicking here.