Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mid-Week Message - The Sacrifice of Love

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

What did you think that love was when you were a child?  What I knew of love was what I saw on television, heard about in music, and witnessed between my parents.  In short, I had no idea what it truly was, I only knew the image that was portrayed to me and it seemed to include holding hands, singing mushy songs to each other, arguing but always making up and living happily ever after.  I had no idea that true love is so much more than those things or how difficult it can be to stand by the same person through the harsh times in life.  

I loved the story of Cinderella.  She was the girl that no one liked.  She was bullied.  She was sad.  But a miracle occurred and her fairy godmother came to her rescue and transformed her into a beautiful woman which led to her meeting the prince and falling in love.  When all that she thought made her beautiful disappeared, the prince sought her out and she was transformed once again.  Then came the happily ever after part.  My husband found out about how much I enjoyed that tale, and on the first Valentine's Day of our marriage, gave me a glass slipper of my very own.  

Of course, now as an adult, I know that love is far more than I had ever thought.  The story of Cinderella is very entertaining and romantic but it falls very short of depicting real life.  The real "happily ever after" includes supporting one another through hard times like the loss of a job or a serious illness.  It endures times of loss, disagreeable temperaments, errant children and the occasional questioning of the future together.  Love means giving up personal choices and desires in order to do the best thing for everyone involved.  

The best example of perfect love that we will ever have is Jesus.  He left his heavenly throne and took up residence in a feeding trough.  He spent His life walking among people who would reject Him even as He was trying to save them.  He allowed Himself to be cruelly tortured and made the ultimate sacrifice by giving His life upon a cross, held there not by nails, but by love.  Love for you.  Love for me.  And when we opened our hearts to accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we were transformed forever.  No longer does he see us in our filthy dirty rags, but in pure white, cleansed by the blood He personally shed.  

The initial butterfly stomach of "falling in love", like all other feelings, comes and goes.  True love is a decision.  This week, when you find it difficult to continue on, remember that there is One that will never find it too hard to stand by you and His love is unwavering.  God bless you.

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