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 Cor. 13:4-7
Love Perseveres Through Roadblocks
Have you ever been in a hurry to get somewhere and been confronted by an unanticipated detour or roadblock?
How did you feel?
What did you do?
Did you give up, turn around and go home?
Or did you keep going?
How much did you struggle with the choice whether to turn around or keep going?
I think that part of our decision process depends on a few things:
1. How important is the destination?
2. How close are we to “making it” to where we are going?
If the destination isn’t that important, or if we really don’t want to go where we are headed (such as going to have a difficult personal conversation with someone or maybe headed to a job we hate) we are more likely to call, make an excuse and turn around. Some of us would even consider it some kind of “divine message” that we ran into obstacles. (Nothing like a divine excuse for avoiding that dental appointment!)
If we are “almost” to our destination, chances are we’ll keep going-however if we are close to home, the more likely we might be to turn around.
Assuming our destination is important and assuming we are close to the finish line we are probably going to solider on even if we are kicking, screaming, grumbling or complaining.
But if we fail to see the importance of the trip and feel far removed from the destination, the more likely we are to retreat back home.
When we’re told that love perseveres I can’t help but notice the word “severe” in persevere. The word doesn’t imply an easy journey at our leisure. It implies a long, hard, punishing endurance race which promises us ultimate victory.
I have a personal example here.
In the last weeks of my dad’s life he was in a hospice home. I spent a lot of time there-as much time as I could given geographical distance, a job and young child. I had returned home for about a week and had a plan to go back and “wait until the end” however long it took.
But he began slipping away faster than anticipated so I got a call saying I needed to “get there now.”
I was at least five hours away so I threw things in the car, told my boss, said goodbye to my family and started driving…well…more like “flying”…all the time praying “God please let me make it there in time” over and over and over and over. And I felt He heard me. It was like He was driving the car.
And then the wall of traffic hit.
From breaking the speed limit to a complete stop. Interstate parking lot. Nowhere to go. About 80 miles away from my dad.
Phone going off with the nurse updating me and asking for my location. “How close are you?”
I remember the bitter frustration and ANGER at God that I’d be brought this far-through years of walking though the valley- to miss it because of a traffic jam. Never mind if others had been injured in whatever caused the slowdown .
I kept inching forward through tears.
What choice was there?
It seemed like I was stuck there for an hour. At one point, the hospice nurse was going to dispatch the Highway Patrol to meet me and escort me in the emergency lane all the way there.
And all of a sudden things opened up and as soon as the wall of traffic was there it was gone and I was flying again-making it in time to be at his side with many hours to spare.
To this day I don’t know what caused that horrible delay.
The analysis of our life journey of faith is a bit more complex than a simple road trip with roadblocks and detours. It seems to mirror my drive to hospice more than a drive to Disneyland.
As we move through our relationships with our loved ones, we are often called upon to persevere.
When we persevere we are committed to finishing what we started, no matter what happens! We persist in spite of opposition, negativity, discouragement, attack or exhaustion.
Sometimes we don’t even know the importance of the journey we are on! God has shown us a path, but we don’t know why and aren’t quite sure what’s at the end of a particular road. And if we give in to external forces, we might end up stopping just short of a great victory.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
All the Best in 2013!