But now faith, hope, love, abide these three, but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
This is a familiar verse to many Christians. As I read it over, God stirred my heart to look deeper into this verse. “Abide” in the dictionary means, “to endure without yielding.” When I look back on my life, there were moments when I did not endure these things without yielding. My hope diminished when I had an emergency hysterectomy and was confronted with the fact I would not be able to have children. For a season, I forgot what it was like to have hope. But, God carried me through the hopelessness. In my brokenness, He taught me that He has a plan; I need only to trust Him and continue to walk the path He has for me.
Just months after my hope was shattered, we were on vacation with my parents and my dad was taken out by a wave in the ocean. It took my brother, my husband and me to retrieve him out of the turbulent waters. As he lay on the beach receiving CPR and the life he had was slipping away from him, I found myself hoping he would survive. In those moments, I found my faith in God slipping away.
When he arrived at the hospital and was given almost no chance for survival, I stepped outside and yelled at God. In those moments, I truly wondered if God was real. It is the only moment in my life when I truly questioned my faith. These moments did not last long. God comforted and carried me and once again, He used my weakest and darkest moments to make me strong. My dad made a miraculous recovery and is home and healthy now.
God used the shattering moments of my life to teach me what it means to abide in faith and hope. Interestingly, in all of my weakness, I never felt unloved by God. In my heart, I always felt His presence, and I never doubted His love. Perhaps this is why God says “love” is the greatest, because His love carried me when nothing else seemed to work.
When your back is against the wall and you have nowhere to turn, take courage, God is there. When you feel all alone, and you don’t know how you’re going to keep going, let God carry you. He is strong even when we are weak. I have learned that God is strong enough to handle our moments of weakness. It is OK to have all of those feelings, but you should not allow yourself to live there.
You must continue to move forward and let God heal your hope, heal your trust, and show you His love. A life that abides in faith, hope and love is a life of a warrior. This life can leave you mangled and broken at times, but that is not the end of the story. The true miracle is how God heals our brokenness and restores us.
(Written by a close friend.)