I sat in my car praying before going into the hospital for a visit. On the radio was a message about love. Not romantic love where you buy a box of chocolates. Not tough love where you detach and put up boundaries. Not neighborly love where you love the way you love yourself. But a love where someone doesn’t deserve it or can’t return it. The Bible calls this, “Love suffers long” (1 Corinthians 13:4) It means…
LOVE: This “love” I have for you is an attachment because we’re attached via blood, covenant, or conviction. So I can’t act like I don’t see you, hear you or know you. The attachment comes with no abandonment.
SUFFERS: This “suffering” I have for you is joining you where you are no matter where it is. In my suffering, I become blind, deaf, mute to what you’ve done or are doing, and my heart is for you. My mind and feelings struggle, but my heart’s still in it.
LONG: This “long” for you means I can’t put a timer on it. I have to take off my watch and surrender it to God’s Will. If I have to love you for a considerable amount of space it means I won’t be far away. If I have to love you for a considerable amount of time it means I’m not the timekeeper.
And before I grumble, “I don’t want to,” I gotta know God suffers long for me every day. He picked me, He suffered for me, and He’ll love me from “in the beginning” to never-ending. God IS love and love does when love isn’t deserved. God knows that WITH Him, this love IS possible. You can’t love that person who doesn’t deserve it, but if you make yourself available to God, He can *through* you. For my hospital visit, God did this through me, for someone who couldn’t return it (or frankly, deserve it). Listen, I ain’t all that. I’m moody, hypocritical and insecure. But I avail myself to God (who is 100% undamaged love), get out of the way, and let His love suffer long through me.