“As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35, NIV2)
The moment I received the personal call from our family doctor, I knew my wife was in trouble. She was at the doctor’s office at that very moment, for a follow-up visit after a biopsy that had been done the previous week. Why would our doctor be inviting me to join them in her private office if everything was okay?
While driving to the doctor’s office, my thoughts were focused on my wife. I was sure that the biopsy had shown the presence of cancer. Why else would I have been invited for a “friendly chat” in the doctor’s office? I felt completely helpless, and I couldn’t stop the panic from rising. After all, we were talking about my beloved wife here!
But something happened during that 20 minute drive, for when I arrived at the doctor’s office, I was filled with total peace. Why the change? My best Friend showed up during the drive, and we had a tender conversation. His peace replaced all the worrisome thoughts that had been trying to overtake my soul. I knew in my heart that His strength was enough to sustain us both.
Even my wife was amazed at how calm I was, but why did I need to worry? It was all in God’s hands anyway!
God’s promise come through: “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6, NIV2)
We were scheduled to leave for Europe in just three days, and together we made the decision to go ahead with the trip. Nonetheless, I was uneasy with the decision. Was it the right one? Wouldn’t it have been better for my wife to take care of that dreadful disease immediately, rather than to be off gallivanting in the old country?
At such moments, God was the One who assured me that “All would be well”!
And sure enough, it was only a little more than a week after we returned from Europe that my wife had her surgery. It was faster than anyone would have suspected. And then it was time for recuperation, and that would take weeks, if not months. I was so glad that I had another four weeks off for the summer so that I could be there for her and help out with the chores. In fact, those four weeks became the highlight of my summer, even more so than our wonderful trip to Europe.
During those days it was primarily just the two of us. My oldest son was working, and my youngest was away on a missions’ trip, and as we spent time, just the two of us, alone with God, we grew even closer than ever.
When it was time for me to go back to work, a place where I spend most of my enthusiasm and energy, I felt like my thoughts were completely elsewhere. I couldn’t wait to get back home to be there for my wife. Although I still tried to do my best at work, my heart wasn’t in it. It’s then and there that I realized that everything in life is secondary when it is compared to genuine love, the same love that God bestowed on us. We were meant to love, just like Jesus did. Not to simply satisfy ourselves, but to fulfill the needs of others! And their biggest need overall is to be loved unconditionally!
I view work quite differently now. It’s not just a way to earn a living, it’s especially an opportunity to reach out like Jesus did, and genuinely love those around us. Love is, after all, the only way to truly be fulfilled. Possessions, hard work, travelling, hobbies . . . These may captivate our attention for a little while, but all of these will eventually evaporate into nothingness. Do we still have the same interests we had thirty years ago? Probably not, but love will always be in demand, especially pure, unadulterated, genuine love. It is only by beginning to love as He does that we can truly be the best witnesses possible for the Most High.
“But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:5-6, NIV2)
Only when we realize our real purpose on earth will we be able to find complete fulfillment.
Oops! The phone is ringing. I better pick it up. It may be an opportunity to fully experience my Best Friend Jesus!
(To access the entire “The Question About Love” devotional series, please click here.)