Summary: Love, God, Faithfulness, Fear vs. Assurance
Love Like You Mean It – Love That Lasts
1 John 4:16-18 (pg. 857) February 28, 2016
I have a joke I share with my mom almost every single week as she goes to the beauty parlor to get her hair “did.”
She says they’re going to give her a “permanent” and I laugh and say...“it only lasts a week...shouldn’t they call it a “temporary?”
Permanent is a pretty heavy duty word. It means something is intended to last for an indefinite period of time...It comes from the Latin word “permanens – to stay to the end.”
There are very few relationships that “stay to the end.” Many have learned that truth the hard way.
Author Keith Miller tells of an outgoing 40 year old woman who was part of a sharing group he had. Here is her story:
"When I was a tiny little girl, my parents died and I was put in an orphanage. I was not pretty at all and no one seemed to want me. But I longed to be adopted and loved by a family as far back as I can remember. I thought about it day and night, but everything I did seemed to go wrong. I must have tried too hard to please the people who came to look me over and what I did was to drive them away. "But then one day the head of the orphanage told me that a family was coming to take me home with them.
I was so excited that I jumped up and down and cried like a little baby. The matron reminded me that I was on trial and this might not be a permanent arrangement, but I just knew that somehow it would work out. "So I went with this family and started to school. I was the happiest little girl you can imagine, and life began to open up for me just a little. But then one day a few months later, I skipped home from school and ran into the front door of the big old house we lived in. No one was at home, but in the middle of the front hall was my battered suitcase with my little coat thrown across it. As I stood there it suddenly dawned on me what it meant---I didn’t belong there anymore."
Miller reports that when the woman stopped speaking there was hardly a dry eye in the group. But then she cleared her throat and said almost matter-of-factly, "This happened to me seven times before I was 13 years old. But wait, don’t feel too badly. It was experiences like these that ultimately brought me to God---and there I found what I had always longed for---a place, a sense of belonging, a forever family."
What message do we have for those who have felt as though they don’t belong...for those who have felt like they didn’t have a place?
What do we offer those who have only experienced “temporary” love...if you can even call it that.
“We live in a world of “battered suitcases” left in the hallway with our coats thrown across them!”
It’s no wonder John the Apostle says “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us...God is love” because:
I. GOD IS THE ONLY SOLUTIONS TO THE PERMANENT LOVE WE LONG FOR
Gary Chapman wrote a great book called the 5 love languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts.
He says, “inside every one of us is a love tank waiting to be filled...It is a primary human emotion I need to feel loved...
Something in our nature cries out to be loved by another. Isolation is devastating to the human psyche. That is why solitary confinement is considered the cruelest of punishments. At the heart of humankind’s existence is the desire to be intimate and be loved by another. Marriage is designed to meet that need for intimacy and love. That is why the ancient biblical writings spoke of the husband and wife becoming “one flesh.” That did not mean that individuals would lose their identity: it meant that they would enter into each other’s lives in a deep and intimate way.
But if love is important, it is also elusive. I have listened to many married couples share their secret pain. Some came to me because the inner ache had become unbearable. Others came because they realized that their behavior patterns or the misbehavior of their spouse was destroying the marriage. Some came simply to inform me that they no longer wanted to be married. Their dreams of “living happily ever after” had been dashed against the hard walls of reality. Again and again I have heard the words “our love is gone, our relationship is dead. We used to feel close, but not now. We no longer enjoy being with each other. We don’t meet each other’s needs.” Their stories bear testimony that adults as well as children have “love tanks.”