The Ones God Gives
Love…does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
1 Corinthians 13:5 NLT
e don’t choose the people God places in our path to love. We think we choose our spouses, but the truth is we tend to marry whatever suitable-seeming person happens to be in our path when marriage is on our minds. We fall in love, view one another in a romantic haze for a brief period, and then the real work of loving begins: the true commitment that takes hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to stick together through long periods of time when we may feel more disgust and dislike than affection or camaraderie.
We don’t truly choose our friends, either. We went to school with them, or worked with them, or met them through mutual acquaintances, and somehow we end up with friendships that mean much but evolved more from proximity than propensity. I suppose a percentage of ambitious people might cultivate friends of their own choosing in order to advance themselves in the world, but the majority of us end up spending most of our time with people we probably would not have selected, given a clear choice.
None of us choose our relatives, but there they are at every holiday, people with whom we share history, memories, and perhaps a genetic predisposition toward overweight.
The Lord is the One who chooses our comrades for this earth journey. When we view the people around us as having been specially chosen for us, we acknowledge God’s sovereignty. Traditional marriage vows say, “What God hath joined together, let no one put asunder…” and I believe the Lord would have us extend this vow to the precious ones He places in our path as friends and relatives. We are going to get on one another’s nerves because not one of us is perfect; we are sinful and we hurt each other.
Nevertheless, the Lord instructs us to love one another as He has loved us. The miracle of God’s “die-to-live” template does its work as we love sacrificially, not counting the cost. When we die to our own desires in order to serve others, our own needs are met. We don’t love others because we are empty and need filled; we love because Christ has loved us so that we are full and can be emptied for His sake. His love is the only fuel source upon which our hungry hearts can thrive; His love is the only fuel that never runs out.
Pray: Father, thank You for the precious people You have given as my companions for this life journey. Help me to appreciate the ways they have provided hands and hearts to channel Your care for me. Open my eyes to the blessings You’ve provided through them, and help me to love them as You have loved me. Open my eyes to appreciate how desolate my life would be without them. In Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7