Faith and Love

Joel is scheduled to be released to halfway house in less than five months now! We can hardly wait; yet at the same time, I contemplate the many changes that will come with Joel’s return to our home with a measure of  concern. Joel’s return will not mean things will ever be the same. We both know that. So instead, we will endeavor, by God’s grace and direction to build a fresh, vibrant life together.

At times I wonder if I will love Joel well enough. I want to. I know it is essential. But love hurts. I have hurt. I still hurt. And sometimes, no matter how much I try not to, I find myself building walls to keep out the hurt.  It is then, that I ask myself, “How do I love Joel even when I am afraid of hurt? How do I believe the best? How do I choose to faithfully and firmly support my husband, in spite of the risk?”  I love, the verse in 1 Cor. 13:7 which says, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” But I ask myself, “How do I have that kind of love?” For I know that is what I desperately need.

As I have pondered these questions in light of God’s Word, several verses have led me to a classic conclusion on this issue. Not a new answer, but one that is ever relevant. Not some revolutionary formula for loving well, but a God-ordained truth that stands the test of time.

Consider the following verses:
Gal. 5:6 “What is important is faith expressing itself in love.”

Phil. 1: 5 “…I keep hearing of your faith in God and your love for all people.”

Col. 1:4 “For we have heard of your faith in God and your love for all God’s people.”

2 Thess. 1:3
“Dear brothers and sisters, we can’t help but thank God for you, because your faith is flourishing and your love for one another is growing.”

1 Tim. 1:5“The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.”

Faith and love are clearly tied together in these verses. Are we to then have faith in the individual whom we love as in “I believe in you!” Invariably our faith in humans will not only falter, but be dashed, because humans are fallible. They will disappointment. This I know first hand. So what is the connection with faith?

The Bible says that “God has joined together” those who come together in marriage. Marriage is God’s invention, His gift to us. And when he joins two people in marriage, it is His work. God has ordained that marriage should last a life time. By God’s perfect design, the “Two become one flesh.”

So clearly our faith should be in God, trusting Him that His divine plan will be worked out in our life and marriage. When we believe God and live like what He has said is true, my faith in God will produce faithfulness in my marriage. In other words, as I believe God that He has joined us together forever, and has made us one flesh, this will lead me to love well.  I cannot produce the kind of love described in 1 Cor. 13:7 on my own. But God works in me, giving me “the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” (Phil. 2:13) As I believe Him for that desire and power, I love well.

Proverbs 16:6
“Unfailing love and faithfulness make atonement for sin.”

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