|A rainbow over a valley on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai, Hawaii.|
What makes the world go 'round? Or, maybe a better question is: what makes it worth the world going 'round?
Not to be cliche or to boast or gush too much in "marriage" or what has recently happened in our lives . . . because I do NOT think "marriage" is ultimate or should be our priority in pursuit. But, the past few months have been full of Love. So much Love. And I don't only mean mine and Jeff's for one another, which is an unimaginable blessing. But we have been humbled by an outpouring of love and blessings by so many others; it has been overwhelming. And I don't only mean only during the last few months. This time has reminded us of the cloud of witnesses we have had surrounding us from birth. We have had so many wonderful people placed so beautifully and instrumentally in our lives, we cannot be but thankful and full of joy as we are forced to our knees in humble thanks. Love! Love from family, friends over many years and only a few years. Most of all, we are humbled as we see this is all from Above and not of our own deserving or merit. We have been given all of you, and we are so humbled. We are thankful for your encouragement, support, admonishing words, correction and warnings, and your commitment to continue to be Love to us.
Even as we see relationships change form or seem more distant and the phone calls fewer and further in-between, the affect they have had on our lives are ever-so-real in making us what we are today and as we remember the times of proximity. It is Love!
As I was running errands today, catching up on what has piled up as we were gone, I was reminded as I reflected on the outpouring of Love throughout my life: "THIS is what makes life worth it: loving God and loving others." We were made for this . . . Love. As we see hatred rampant and read the headlines about a father killing his children, wars escalating and people killing their own people, threats of nuclear war and wondering when we will all kill each other or when will we see that nuclear flash and kiss this world goodbye, I am reminded of Love and the Hope we have in Love.
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4.7-11
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and rhis love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4.7-21
28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
As I reflect upon the outpourings of love experienced during this time and all the rest of my life as I look back, I am convinced it is this the Lord intended for His children. God is Love and as we love one another, we shine His light in this o' so desparingly dark world. He first Loved us so we could Love others. And when we Love each other as we should, and as I have witnessed in my life, in those moments "[we] are not far from the kingdom of God."
So, thank you, thank you, thank you. We are humbled and inspired. May we Love you as you Love us. Praise God for you all and may we live lives worthy of your and His Love! Amen!