I lost a friend today. And the thing I remember most about her is how she loved.
She had a great sense of humor, and sometimes caught me off guard with things she said. I think it’s because when I saw her, I first saw her kindness and joy at life. But she was as “real” as they come about life. Sassy and fun!
But this woman could love! She loved God first. Her relationship with Him was real, active and strong. She spent time in the word. She served at church. She was faithful in the way she talked about God and put Him first in everything she did.
She loved her hubby, even though (in his own words) he was not always easy to love. She stood by him and prayed for him while he spent years resisting God, and rejoiced with him when he finally let the walls down and let the Father in.
And of course, she loved her (grown) children and doted lovingly on her grandchildren. In every conversation we had about her family, she spoke of her love for them and her pride over their life.
She loved me too. And I felt it every single time I was with her. Every time. Her sweet smile and inquiring questions about my personal life showed me her love.
The recurring theme here is love. My friend knew the love of God and she shared His love faithfully with pretty much everyone she came into contact with. She was not selfish. She was thoughtful and giving. She embodied the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13:13. “Three things will last forever- faith, hope and love- but the greatest of these is love. “ So why is love the greatest?
Scripture tells us that if we have the faith of a mustard seed that we can move mountains. We also read that without faith, it is not possible to please God. And we learn that our salvation itself comes through faith in God. I think is fair to say that, largely, faith is a word used to describe our relationship with God.
God’s word talks a lot about hope. It reminds us to hold onto hope. It tells us that our strength is renewed when we hope in the Lord. We also read that God desires to give us a hope and a future, and that we have hope in His unfailing love. Our real hope is Jesus, and the promises that He made, and will fulfill in the next life. Hope is a promise of something better. Hope is another word used to describe our relationship with God.
Then there’s love. We are told to love each other as Christ loves us. That all our great faith means nothing if we don’t have love. We see where we are to be devoted to one another in love. And again we read that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. Much of scripture that addresses love, speaks of how we are to show it to each other as human beings. Over and over in scripture we see examples of Jesus loving people. Examples He gave for us to follow. Out of His love for mankind He healed the sick. Because of His love He fed those that were hungry. His compassion and love caused Him to teach them about the kingdom of God. Love drove Him to cast out demons and to pray to the Father on our behalf. But most importantly, it was His deep love for humanity that led Him to the cross where He gave His life as a ransome for us. He gave His life, in love, so that no one would have to spend eternity without Him. Love is about others. Love is the actions we use to reflect our faith and hope in God. Loving others gives us a voice to talk about the faith and hope we have in Him. Love is most often a word used to describe our relationship with people, reflecting our relationship with God.
Faith, hope and love are all connected. We can’t truly have one without the others. But the greatest of these is love, because faith and hope are useless without love. Love was the force that compelled Jesus in everything He did, even the hard things. Loving people is loving God.
1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
I will miss my friend. I can still recall the last time I saw her. I can see her warm smile, feel her strong embrace, and remember her sweet love. I think she’d be pleased to know that the love she recieved from the Lord, that which she spent so much of her life passing on to others, is the primary characteristic about her that shined.
I desire to make a lot of things true about me in this life. There are many things that I would want people to remember and to say about me when I’m gone.
- She was a faithful believer in Jesus
- She was fun to be with
- She was devoted to her husband
- She adored her family
- She was encouraging
- She was genuine about her faith
But I hope that the driving force behind all of those things is the quality that shines. Let it be love. Let my love for God be the voice that speaks the loudest, and gives me the opportunity to share my faith and hope.
Maybe that’s your desire too. Let it be love that lasts.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12❤