Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
“Love” makes us act in ways we have never before contemplated. Bob McDill wrote and Alan Jackson recorded a song entitled “Must Be Love” nearly two decades ago. Its premise was about all the unexplainable feelings we experience during the course of what must be love. He sang, “First I get cold and hot, think I’m on fire, but I’m not.” He goes on, “I fall like a sparrow and fly like a dove.” All of these emotions could not be explained by his normal experiences during a relationship. Thus, it must be love. As we all can attest, we must be willing to suffer for the things we love. Picking out the perfect Valentine’s Day card in a crowded pharmacy full of flu A victims is my “Must Be Love” exhibit D.
When someone asks us whether we enjoy golf, inevitably we have to snicker before answering. “Enjoy” is an awkward word to fully describe our engagement to the game of golf. It can be often relaxing, sometimes exhilarating, but always frustrating. Golf is such a paradoxical form of supposed recreation. Balls never go where or how we intend for them to fly. A golfer at all skill levels goes through much more pains than jubilation while playing this game. However, it is during those few fleeting moments when we see a ball fly perfectly on its intended path that keeps up coming back. The rest of the time, it is hardly described as “enjoyable.” Yet, we continue to engage in the activity.
The Puritan preacher Thomas Edison wrote that, “Love has a strange quality, it is the least suffering grace, and yet it is the most suffering grace.” Consider Christ. It was His great love for us that led to His suffering on a cross. It costed Him everything, but yet He counted it in the least because of the enormity of His love.
We cannot fully fathom the sacrifice that Christ made for the redemption of our sins. It was and still is an epic love. So much, Edison wrote that love is the “most abiding grace.” If you think about it, one day we will no longer need faith because heaven will be a reality and seen in all its splendor. Further, both patience and repentance will no longer be required. It is love, however, which will fostered and heightened when we see and can fully worship our Savior. It is then, we will truly see the enormity of His love.
These truths should excite the believer. We see much of the realized fervor in the writings of Paul. His love for Christ graduated to a level not fully comprehended by most in his day or our day for that matter. Paul was certainly affected by the people around him crying and mourning his soon departure. However, his accepted level of conscious suffering graduated just as his love for Christ had. Paul was willing not only to be bound by the chains, but he came to the acceptance that death would be the result of his ministry. He realized that love was the both most suffering grace and the least suffering grace. Let us strive to love Christ to this degree. Great suffering is attached to a great love, but so are great blessings and great rewards. “It’ll be worth it after all.”