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Tired Love

I read a story about a four-year old boy who was waiting with his mother in the doctor's office. They were discussing the kinds of great, earth-shaking issues that concern a four-year-old in a doctor's office. Issues such as, "What am I doing here?" and " Where's the doctor?" and "Why isn't God married?" and "Why doesn't the doctor get sick?" — things like that. Finally the little boy asked the ultimate question: "Why doesn't God ever just get tired and stop?" His mother thought for several moments. Then she said, "God is love, and love never gets tired." I think I know what that mom meant, and I would do nothing to undermine her effort to help her little boy understand how hard love will work and how far it will go. The beautiful and immortal words of 1St Corinthians 13 describe a kind of love modern America as a culture has lost touch with — "Love suffers long and is kind .... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fail? (verses 4, 7-8a). But as I reflect on all that the Bible tells us about love, I think we are well within the mark to say that while true love will never quit, it does at times grow tired. Very tired. In a section of Scripture discussing the titanic difference love and hatred have on life and relationships between people, the apostle John wrote these arresting words sixty years after he witnessed Jesus suffering on the cross – By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16). Dig into the context and background from which John originally penned these words and you find that some in John's day were as confused about the true nature of love as many are today. Some, apparently in close proximity to and maybe even in the church, were not loving the brethren, and John equates that with hating. We don't have space to examine all that is behind John's statements, but I can't help but wonder if the reason some in John's day were no longer loving was because they just found it too tiring to continue? Life in the church or marriage or other human relationships can wear you out, especially when you love enough to hang in there and suffer long. Selfish love often quits long before it suffers or gets very tired.

Years ago Brother John Gipson wrote a church bulletin article (origin unknown) entitled, "When Love Gets Tired." He began by quoting Ephesians 5:1-2 where Christians are called to "follow (imitate) God And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." Gipson then wrote words that continue to challenge me: ". . .love is sometimes more troublesome and worrisome than wonderful, and loving others as Christ has loved us often involves the doing of some things that we really do not want to do. . . There are many things that we do not enjoy doing that must be done in the name of love: helping with the dishes, folding the laundry, disciplining the kids, and paying the bills. And even when the tasks are a lot more serious – involving real courage and sacrifice — the truth remains the same. The ultimate example was set for us 2,000 years ago. His anguished prayer in Gethsemane makes it clear that Jesus didn't love dying. But He definitely died loving." Jesus was tired by the time He died, but He loved us till His dying breath. Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ