Love Hurts

"Love Suffers Long"

1 Corinthians 13:4

It was C.S. Lewis after the death of his wife exclaimed, “why love if it hurts so much?” The answer is painfully simple, because love suffers long. In 1 Corinthians 13, the great “Love Chapter” in the Bible states that the very first quality of agape love is suffering. The quality or depth of our love is directly proportionate to the suffering we are willing to endure. The greatest example of suffering love is found in John 3:16 where the God who created the heavens and the earth would offer up His only begotten Son to suffer and die for the sins of the world. Let’s suffice it to say none of us will ever be able to comprehend the depth of such love.

It's hard to imagine Jesus willingly going to the Cross to suffer and die in our place but He did. He did it for you, He did it for me, He did it for love! I recall reading a true story years ago of two eight year old boys who were brothers, twins, who displayed what it means for love to suffer. One of the brothers came down with an illness where he required a blood transfusion. The problem was he had a rare blood type. The good news was, his brother shared the same type. The boys mom and dad explained the best they could the need of their son who was ill and how his twin could help by donating his own blood to save the life of his brother. When the day came the brother donating blood took his place on a hospital table while the nurses ever so gently inserted the needle into the little boys arm.

So brave for being only eight, the little boy flinched when the needle broke his skin and as he laid there he watched the blood flow from his body into the bag that would be quickly transfused into his brother. As the bag was almost full the nurse noticed tears flowing freely down the boys face. The nurse wiped the tears and asked the boy why he was crying and his response was priceless. He said to the nurse, “when do I die?”

It was in that moment the nurse understood that this little boy thought he had made the ultimate decision to give his life to save his brothers. This brave little boy thought he was donating all his blood so his brother could live, and he willingly did it thinking he had to die to accomplish it. The love he had for his brother outweighed his own desire to live. This is love! This little eight year old exemplified what it means for love to suffer long.

Don’t forget the first characteristic of love in 1 Corinthians 13 is its willingness to suffer long which is to say, I will love you even if it kills me. It’s no wonder the love of Jesus has changed the world like no war could. In a world that seeks to eliminate its enemies Jesus said in Luke 6:35-36, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

I don’t know about you but when I think of my own sinful life I am so thankful to God today that His love suffers long. How about you?

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.”

Philippians 1:29


Michael Osthimer





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