The Strongest Force

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
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.
Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

“The sweet cigar-smell came into the room with Father.  And of course he did not say the false, idle words.
“’Corrie,’ he began instead, ‘do you know what hurts so very much?  It’s love.  Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain.
“’There are two thing we can do when this happens.  We can kill the love so that it stops hurting.  But then of course part of us dies, too.  Or, Corrie, we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel. …
“I did not know, as I listened to Father’s footsteps winding back down the stairs, that he had given me more than the key to this hard moment.  I did not know that he had put into my hands the secret that would open far darker rooms than this – places where there was not, on a human level, anything to love at all.
“… And so, that very hour, lying there on my bed, I whispered the enormous prayer:
“’Lord, I give to You the way I feel about Karel, my thoughts about our future – oh, You know!  Everything!  Give me Your way of seeing Karel instead.  Help me to love him that way.  That much.”

  • Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

Corrie had fallen in love with Karel, young love, unknowing of the events to come.  The hiding place was for those who the Nazi occupation forces were after.  When discovered, they all went to the concentration camps, but Corrie Ten Boom survived.

In a different part of the Netherlands, an old man in a wheelchair hid downed pilots in his root cellar.  Since he was old and unable to walk, the Nazi occupation forces never checked, not even when the old man’s teen-aged son spat on a Nazi staff car.  If the occupation forces had only known, my wife would not have been born.

When people try to silence us, we do not feel so loving.

When we explain how God loves other people and the other people respond in anger, we do not feel so loving.

When people speak of how unloving God is, it is hard to show love as we show how they have not understood who God is.

But, when you have a child that misbehaves, and as you say not to do something, they look you right in the eye and do it anyway…  That is when the “love is patient” line seems to leave the building, just for a moment.  And the result might not be “kind” for the next few moments.

But you never stop loving.

When those folks shouted at you because they had never experienced a loving God, you loved them enough to try to show that love – or they never would have shouted.

When someone silenced you, or tried to, when you were spreading the Gospel, you loved those who heard the words, even the one trying to snuff out the message of God’s love.

I am among the worst to watch when in such frustrating situations.  I seem to take it personally.  I wish I had a father like Corrie Ten Boom who could calmly explain such things and that they were really lashing out at what they thought God was rather than lashing out at me personally.

Yes, Love, the love from God, is the strongest force in the world, even when all around us, people are preaching hatred.

“Love conquers all.”

Virgil

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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