I think God is trying to teach me a little something about love these days. I heard it preached about from my favorite preacher at Soma this week. It keeps popping up in my morning Scripture reading and devotion time. And I have been reading all about it in blogs and facebook posts…
Love. What is it?
And can I love God, my husband, my kids and ice cream and coffee all with the same kind of love??? I don’t think so… Therefore, I am going to try to take a slow look at the love that God calls me to have over the next few weeks and months.
God has written down what LOVE IS in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. And if this is what God says love is, then this is how I need to be loving people in my life.
Today, lets start with patient. Love is patient. If love is patient, what is patient?
A definition I found: bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.
So if this mom is gonna be patient I need to bear annoyances and delays with calm and without complaint or anger. OUCH!!! That one hurts, especially this week because I know that I have not been very patient, though I have had plenty of opportunities. With tying shoes, learning the “Jones family house rules”, waiting for meal time, waiting on sleepy, fussy children to finally go to sleep, waiting to see my little boy who mommy misses very much, waiting to spend a little time with a friend, waiting on my husband to return from camp, waiting on a case plan, waiting on things in my life to go back to “normal” so that I can feel sane again… all of these little annoyances and delays I must bear with a calm spirit and no complaint. Seriously, God? Are you sure this is love???
Pair “love is patient” with what I have been reading in 1 Peter all about suffering. (Sidenote: I realize fully that what I am experiencing this week– adjusting to life with our new foster kids, trying to help them be ok where they are right now and how much they miss their mom, missing my husband and son, and all the other little bumps life is throwing at me right now– is not truly “suffering” like I know some are suffering. But I think God sees my current suffering and gives me permission to apply these verse to my current circumstance.) I have been reading things like:
1 Peter 1:6-9 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. To me these verses bring comfort, that yes, I am suffering, even though it may seem small to others, it is big to me right now. But there is a purpose in my suffering– to prove my faith genuine, to bring me joy and to bring about the salvation of others.
1 Peter 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. When I am going through rough waters, I need to be like Jesus and entrust myself to God who judges justly.
1 Peter 3:15-17 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. These verses remind me that sometimes it is God’s will for us children to suffer. And I was reminded earlier this week in another study by Beth Moore, that He only allows us to go through suffering that is necessary for OUR journey. And no matter what, He will be there with me through it all.
1 Peter 4:1-2 (AMP) So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God], This verse reminds me that it is better to be patient with the suffering than to not please God, which is our ultimate purpose.
1Peter 4:19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. Another reminder to commit myself to God in the face of any suffering.
So if love is patient, honestly, this week I have not been very loving. I have not endured without complaint. But I am committing myself to a change of course– working on my love toward others, to being more patient and to not complaining. And that goes for my husband, my children, my friends and even those who could be considered my “enemies”. God wants me to love and God wants me to be patient in suffering, no matter how big or how small.