“Love never fails” 1 Cor 13:8
Taking a midweek afternoon off turned into a delightful break from the normal pressure of daily duties. The sun filtered gently through the leaves of the tree under which I was sitting, forming delicate shadows that danced like carefree nymphs on the pages of my opened book.
Except for our dog, Katie, I was all alone. A subdued quiet engulfed the entire neighborhood. After lying in the sun for a while, Katie turned playful. Actually, crazy. She began to run around the yard from corner to corner to corner as fast as she could.
“Katie! What in the world are you doing?”
That only egged her on. She began to crisscross the yard at full gallop. Then she started reversing direction at the midpoint and backtracking, again, at full steam. Next she picked up her favorite ball with her teeth, tossed it herself, and then ran to fetch it.
This was all too much for me. I burst out laughing. Then something strange happened. A tidal wave of feelings welled up from the depths, which words could not express. An incredible sense of love and joy overpowered me.
How could I ever live without Katie? I wondered. I simply cannot imagine what it would be like for her not to be around. I wondered how heavy the silence would have been that day without Katie in my life. I wondered how carefree the shadows could have danced on my book were I alone.
Yet life with Katie involved travails and disappointments. As with every puppy – and she’d become a large dog – we had endured the digging, bills, chewed furniture, shed hair, etc. Our relationship with Katie required perseverance.
To persevere means, “to remain constant in the face of discouragement or opposition.”
My mind turned to other relationships, especially mine with Patsy. In spite of the differences and misunderstandings that come with marriage, I couldn’t help but reflect on the myriad ways she blesses me. How great the travails and disappointments I’d brought to her kind, gentle soul. How many times had she overlooked my weaknesses? Served without seeking recognition? Forgiven? Yes, she had persevered with me. Love always perseveres.
The natural tendency is to think only how we have persevered. Consider also, however, how your mate has persevered. Weaklings are we all. We disappoint each other. We let each other down. The Fall has infected us all, producing the putrid odor of smugness. We tend to remember all the good we do to our mate and all the bad they do to us. Likewise, we tend not to remember the bad we do to them nor the good they do to us.
Yes, we have persevered. But our mates have persevered, too, though differently. Every person’s discouragement visits him or her in a different way. Let us each choose never to knowingly discourage each other. Instead, let us persevere. It is the loving thing to do.
When we consider the incomprehensible grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in persevering with us, can we offer anything less to the mate He entrusted to our care?