Love in Hard Places
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34
“I’m teaching you how to love in the midst of pain,” the Lord spoke to my heart just days after I learned one of my dearest friends aimed a gun at her chest and killed herself. I had been taking my hurt and anger out on the dogs, and the Lord was letting me know love doesn’t get a vacation.
The Lord had been teaching me over the years how to love in the midst of stress, turmoil, and brokenness. Love, love, love. No matter what. That’s what God’s love does, doesn’t it? He loves at all times. He was using life’s challenges to teach me that if I truly want to be conformed to Christ’s image, I need to learn how to love at all times – even in hard places.
In all His life on earth as a man, Jesus never took a break from loving others – not from the moment He was born until He died an indescribably painful death on the cross. He didn’t stop loving because He was tired, homeless, lashed out at, ridiculed, rejected, attacked, scorned, hungry, tempted, over-worked, thirsty, constantly sought after, in constant demand, abandoned by those closest to Him, etc. We can’t fathom the torment and grief He endured on the cross as He was temporarily separated from God the Father, bearing the punishment for all of humanity’s sins in a matter of hours. Still He loved. Our hard places cannot even compare with what He endured as He spent His entire life and death for all this world. He sought nothing for Himself; He gave every breath of His life for you and me. On the cross, He loved and forgave. With utter perfection, He loved.
We can’t possibly love perfectly like Jesus, but we can aim in that direction. How? Through faith in Christ, with the power of God’s Spirit, and the teaching and strength of His Word, we can learn to love as He did and still does – even in hard places. Jesus’ command to love one another comes with no exceptions for hard places. We are simply called to LOVE.
Seek to love like He does – at all times, even in hard places.