Love Is…

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Whenever I hear the word “love,” I think about people rather than about
heart-shaped boxes of chocolate candy or long-stemmed red roses or diamond
rings or other such things.
For example, I think about the stranger who, in response to a smile and a
“How are you tonight?” from me, stopped at my desk to chat.
Within minutes he was telling me about how his wife had become ill only days
after they’d gotten married. He told me how she suffered as the disease
ravaged her body during the next thirty-nine years, yet he made no mention
of the heartaches and hardships he had endured.
The tears in his eyes and the sadness in his voice revealed his love for her
and the grief he was experiencing over having lost her. Obviously, the
gentle man had been devoted to his wife, and even more so as her strength
slipped away. That’s why I think of him whenever I hear the word “love.”
Others come to mind, also. For instance, I think of the woman who wanted to
do something kind for her friend who lived hours away in a nursing home. So,
for years, she paid someone to do her friend’s laundry.
I think of couples I interviewed several months ago. Not only had they
provided foster care for many children throughout the years, but they had
also adopted two special needs children and were lovingly caring for them,
even though doing so meant they had to give up much that other couples
demand: relaxation, hobbies, time to themselves, and so forth.
Of course, I think of those who have befriended me in countless ways,
especially during my times of need. So many people have voluntarily given
time and skills and resources in order to meet my needs rather than their own.
As I think of such persons, I recall a truth Elisabeth Elliot often states:
“Love is a laid down life.” By that she means that love, real love, is
proven, not by the mere giving of chocolates or roses or diamonds, but by
the doing of whatever meets the needs of the one for whom love is professed.

Such love isn’t dependent on feelings or circumstances, for they can and do
change from moment to moment. But true love endures, no matter what. It says
to another, “I desire your highest good and will do all I can to secure it
for you.”
A love that goes the distance for others is also “patient [and] kind. It
does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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 Corinthians 13:4-7, New
International Version).
Isn’t that the kind of love each of us wants? Well, the good news is: we
have it! The Bible says, “But God demonstrates [proves, shows] his own love
for [you and me] in this: While [you and I] were still sinners, Christ died
for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV). All you and I have to do is to receive His
love–and start enjoying it! And once that happens, we’ll want to love
others in the way we are loved.
┬ęCopyright 2004 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill. To comment, send e-mail tojjgask@charter.net
.

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