Many of us are familiar with the popular verses written about love in 1 Corinthians 13. We read that,
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends…
These verses are loaded with meaning, so much so that I’m stuck on the first three words, “Love is patient.” In the past, I thought about being patient for a period of time – a day, a week, or maybe a month? But the Lord showed me something last winter that I have been thinking about ever since.
I was worried about one of my children and how a decision might affect this child’s life. My mind was running to the future – months and years stretching out before us. I envisioned all of the painful possibilities and in my fear, I wanted to grab some false sense of control, and change this child right here and now.
Then I was struck by something. When God says, “Love is patient,” He is not talking about a short period of time, He may be speaking about years of patience. We tend to lock people in to the way we see them here and now, but God does not see them that way at all; He sees their entire life story stretching from beginning to end. He is writing our children’s stories with His mighty and gentle hand – they are not locked in to the present, but are always moving along the path of their lives.
What does this mean to me as a mother? Each of my children is on a journey. I need to be patient and lovingly allow the Lord to lead them, even when it is painfully slow or uncomfortable. While I must speak truth to them, after all, “love rejoices in the truth,” it is vital that I sit with them in their mess, right where they are, and let their story unfold.
We are mothers and fathers who know that, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
We must always trust that God loves our children far more than we do and while we would like to control their life stories, making them neat and tidy, we can’t deprive them of their own journey with God.
I am quite sure that when I was a teen, my parents feared I had ruined my life – and they were not alone. Looking back, we can now see that the trials in that season were part of my journey to becoming the woman and mother I am now.
Love is patient – may we be patient with our children, and the people we love, trusting that God is the Great Author. We can’t expect the beautiful ending when we’re still in the early chapters of the book – pray, wait, then pray some more.