Love Suffers

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. . ." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

I read this passage from 1 Corinthians recently and it just hit me. . . you know, the 'ton of bricks.' I had read those words often and never had it really sunk in that love suffers.   I know, I'm 58 years old.  I've been a Christian for many years, read my Bible and studied.  But it seems there is always something new, something fresh in God's word that I understand on a deeper level as I continue to strive to live the Christian life.  New understanding comes with diligent attendance to the Word.

So, the question is:  Am I willing to suffer for love?  Because that is a part of my marriage, my relationships with family and fellowship in the church.  It's not all fun and games, 'happily-ever-after' kind of love.  It's a love that endures hard times, bears up under sorrows, patiently waits on others.  Love demands that I be committed to the best in my love. . . not just through the hearts and flowers of life (and fruitcakes) but in the times of struggle, doubt, fear and hurts of this earthly life.

I must make this journey with my eyes on my heavenly home, not forgetting that others need to hear Jesus in my words, need to see Him in my actions, need to know that it isn't just a way to make this life better (it does!)  But even when life stinks. . . doesn't go according to plan, is heavy, difficult and filled with despair, there is love. . . the long suffering kind of love that God has for us. 

If I truly want to love like Jesus, I have to be willing to suffer.  It's part of the life I chose the day I was baptized.  It's part of the life I choose each day since.  My heart is heavy with suffering, not because I despair of God's faithfulness, but because my heart chooses to love like Jesus, not counting my own life as anything, but wanting others to know the precious love of Jesus.  It's why I don't stop loving.  I just understand it better today than yesterday.  I don't fight against it, I accept it with open arms.

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him."  1 Peter 3:18-22

all scripture is New King James Version

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