I know the story of man who had been in prison for many years for a crime he did not commit. As the years passed, someone noted that he did not appear to be bitter about his predicament. He answered that even though what he was living through was entirely unfair, he knew he was loved; therefore, he could survive. The love of and belief in his innocence by his wife and children was enough to get him through each day.
I know the story of a child who was abused by her own father. One day she ended up in the hospital because he had beaten her nearly to death when she fought back against his sexual advances. Today she runs an organization in her community, set up to help and offer a way out to anyone in an abusive relationship. When asked how she got through her ordeal with such resolve to help others, she answered, “I was loved.” A school teacher was always there for her. She came to her in the hospital, offered her a place in her own home when she was released, and encouraged her forward in pursuing her education.
I know the story of a man who died on a cross, enduring all the sins of the entire world although He was innocent. Today He lives on in the hearts of all who will receive Him. How could He love those who nailed him to a cross? How can He keep loving today all those who continually speak terribly about Him, mocking His love and His life, rejecting everything about His gift of eternity to be with Him in a world where hate does not exist? His answer is because He is loved by His Father. His Father loved Him and the whole world with everyone in it. Therefore, He, too, can love. He is the epitome of love.
Love overcomes anything. Love strengthens the human resolve to press on in the most impossible of circumstances. Love gives hope where it appears no hope can be found. Love is never-ending. Everyone of us needs to be loved and to love another. Love is the most basic of all our emotional needs. Without love we would be utterly lost. There is nothing more valuable to aspire to than to being a vessel of love.
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” I Corinthians 16:13-14