I was going to start this blog by quoting 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. You know, the “love scripture”. But, then I figured that your eyes would probably glaze over, your mind shut down, and you’d quickly move on to something more interesting.
Because, we’ve all seen and heard those verses hundreds of times. They are read at weddings, funerals, Valentine’s Day, and any other time someone needs to be reminded of what real love looks like. We’ve heard the words so many times that even though many of us can recite them by heart, the meaning sometimes gets blurred in our minds.
So, on Valentine’s Day when the verse kept showing up on my feed, my first thought was an eye roll and a “Yeah, yeah, yeah, love is patient, love is kind, blah, blah, blah”.
But, as usually happens with scripture, the words began to sink into my brain before I could scroll past them. And, as I read them for the umpteenth time, I felt a voice say, “But, is this how you treat Me?”
That stopped me in my tracks.
Now, if anyone were to ask me, “Do you love God?” My answer would be swift and sure: “Yes, of course I love God, I love him so much and with all of my heart.” But, when questioned by God himself; “Do you love me as I have defined love?” I was suddenly convicted that I had fallen short in a big way.
I’ve shared with you all how bitter I’ve become about being chronically ill. Being sick every second of every day is an exhausting physical and emotional marathon and it has changed me. So, when I reread 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and applied the words to my relationship with God, I felt horrible!
Love is patient, love is kind. Nope. My patience is gone. I’ve been ill for over a decade and in my mind that is quite long enough. My prayers have turned to: “Come on, hurry up and fix this NOW!”
And, am I kind? Not really. I’ve turned into a bit of a brat actually, treating God like he owes me some healing and has let me down.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Oh, do I envy! I think I’m okay on the boasting and pride thing (what do I have to boast about?). But, the envy? I look at how God has blessed other people with good health and I am so jealous.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. I dishonor God on a daily basis. I question his motives, I question his love, I question whether he cares about me at all. And, I am totally self-seeking. I don’t care whether God has a plan for my illness. I don’t care whether he is using it for good. I want what I want and I want it now! And, I am angry, so angry. God is not playing fair and I am so mad at him. And, I do keep a record of wrongs. I file away every new symptom, every time I miss an event because I am ill and everything I can no longer do.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. I don’t delight in evil. At least I don’t think I do. But, do I rejoice in the truth? The truth is that I am ill and I certainly do not rejoice in that.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Do I protect God? No, because I aim my own wrath at him. Do I trust Him? No, I keep barking orders at him about what I want. Do I hope? No. My hope lasted for a short time and when I didn’t get the answers I hoped for, I threw hope away. Do I persevere? Physically, yes. My life has become a perseverance test. But, do I persevere in faith, hope and trust? No, I do not.
Applying 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to my relationship with God (the most important love relationship that exists) was an eye-opening experience. We are so quick to apply this verse to human love but rarely think of it in terms of our treatment of our Loving Father.
There are countless things that keep us from loving God using the definition he has set up for us. And, your reasons are probably different than mine are. But, maybe if we all periodically use 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 as a check-up on how we are treating not only the people in our lives but God himself, our faith and our relationship with our Father would grow in amazing new ways.