On Labour Day weekend, we went for a two-and-a-half-hour ride on our quads (four-wheeled all-terrain vehicles) — and what a ride it was!
Donning jackets, wind pants, gloves, boots, and helmets, we mounted our quads and away we went. My son-in-law always leads, I follow, and my daughter brings up the rear with the two girls. They knew where we were going, but I did not. I just made sure that I kept up the pace and followed the leader. Perhaps, if I had known about the trail that we were embarking upon, I might have chosen to stay home and read a good book instead. But I did not, so off I went.
Due to huge amounts of rain, the trails were muddy and filled with deep puddles. But I was dressed for it, so I kept going. It was after we had to cross a river, however, that things got really interesting. We began to climb. The trail was rock-strewn, and water was running freely. Some of the ruts took strength to maneuver without getting sucked into them. Still, we kept going. The trail wound round and up, narrowed and widened, until, finally, we left behind the worst of the obstacles and came out onto clearer ground. What a view! It went on for miles in every direction and was painted in reds, golds, yellows, and even magenta where the last of the fireweed still bloomed. The arduous climb had been well worth it, just to experience such a breathtaking sight.
This trip up the mountain brought to mind the climb or journey that is sometimes involved in getting to know certain people. Some people, we take to automatically. Others, we do not. Often, we decide to walk away or give up trying to understand them or to really get to know them, which can mean missing out on the best that they have to offer. In walking away or giving up, it can be easy to think evil or bad thoughts about them, to make ourselves feel better. It’s not our fault that they are so difficult — it’s their own fault. I tried; I really did. Yet, this is what the Lord tells us through Paul:
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:6-8a NIV)
Love does not give up easily. It is willing to struggle against the rocks and the mud, the ruts and the difficulties that are so easily strewn across the road to friendship with others. Love always protects our minds from thinking the worst of others by encouraging us to think the best of them, even if we really have to search to find it. It always trusts that God is at work in those peoples’ lives, seeking to encourage and to grow them. It always hopes that something will change or be seen differently to allow us deeper understanding of the ones whom we are striving to know. And love always perseveres — for the view at the end of the trail can be truly awesome, well worth the journey, if we do not grow weary and give up.
Do you have someone in your life today with whom you are struggling? If so, don’t give up. Remember the wisdom of the Lord through the words of Paul, and simply resolve to keep up the pace behind Jesus, the leader of the journey up the mountain of love. After all, He knows where He is going.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails. Encourage and strengthen our hearts to follow Your example toward us when it comes to loving, accepting, and getting to know others whom You place across the pathways of our lives. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2021, by Lynne Phipps <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission