The Bounty Of Love
I recently listened to my husband speak about love never-ending. He was speaking at his father's funeral only a week ago. Since the beginning of the year, we have lost my grandfather, nearly lost my father, and lost my father-in-law. A lot has been spoken about love. All the things that needed to be said had been said and it all centered around love; how much love had been given by these people and how much we loved each one. Love has been so bountiful. Yet, love comes with a bounty.
I have only begun in the last five-ish years to understand that love does cost an enormous bounty. It costs so much because true love is everlasting. According to Dictionary.com, "everlasting" is defined as "lasting forever; lasting or continuing for an indefinitely long time; incessant; constantly recurring: wearisome; tedious." In other words, it does not end. My love for each of the three people I mentioned, whether here or passed on, will never end even when I am passed on. It will continue forever. So will my love for my husband and my children. However, it will come at a cost.
“Not until recently have I opened myself to the true possibilities of love for others, from others, and for myself. Understanding that love IS everlasting. It will always be there as it has always been there.”
Even though my point of this post is that love is an enormous bounty (a large gift; a large treasure; extreme value) and it also costs us an enormous bounty (premium or amount paid), I find it very interesting that at the end of the definition of "everlasting" was "wearisome; tedious". This means that it IS work to love. And, it IS work TO BE loved. For me, I can love well most of the time. But, I am horrible at allowing myself to be loved. This would mean being vulnerable, opening myself up to the possibility (100%) of being hurt, betrayed, and / or abandoned. Why would I ever want to do that? I'm not even good at this with my husband or kids. How could it extend to anyone else?
For the "Why?" and "How?" questions, I must turn to the example that Jesus lead by. He knew that His love is an everlasting love but that it would cost him everything. That cost is usually defined by the ultimate price of his life. But that wasn't the ultimate price. Being separated from the relationship he had with his Father was the ultimate sacrifice. That is true love. The Father's love is eternal. So it was for His Son. And it was through this love and the power of the Holy Spirit that raised Christ from dead on the third day. His love IS life.
Since it's Valentine's Day, this post is appropriate. My husband may not have an ounce of romance in his body, but he has an enormous amount of love for me. He has cared for me over the years so selflessly and with tender compassion. He has loved me through times of me testing his love, distrusting his love, and questioning his love all to find that I was only doing these things to myself and not him. For him, there have been no tests, no distrust, or questions because he has just loved. It is me that has tested my love for myself, distrusted the love for myself, and questioned the love for myself. I have not known the true love of the Lord. Not until recently have I opened myself to the true possibilities of love for others, from others, and for myself. Understanding that love IS everlasting. It will always be there as it has always been there.
Jeremiah 31:3 says, "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself." His love is active and ongoing. It is full and precious and overflowing. But, it is also at a cost. We must open ourselves to the possibilities of being hurt, betrayed, and abandoned. There is a cost to that vulnerability. But, it is not a cost that is more than the reward. It is not a cost that hasn't already been paid. No matter how much we will test, distrust, or question His love for us, it is everlasting. Love is unending. He is the bounty of love.
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