Never

“. . . never . . .”

Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.” (I Corinthians 13:7)


 I am really, really confused.  During the Christmas season I walked out on our front porch one evening to welcome some guests, when I noticed a couple of what I thought were doves flying around and perching in the garland and lights I’d put up for decorations.  I thought it was strange, but didn’t give it much thought.  Then, when I went to take down my decorations, I discovered they’d built a nest in the garland.

Thinking it was just temporary and telling myself they could easily build another, I reached up to remove the nest so I could pack away the decorations.  Only after I had the nest in my hand and lowered it did I realize that the birds had left three eggs in the nest.  There was only one thing I could do.  I replaced the nest and waited to see if the birds returned.  Sure enough, that evening one of the birds was perched back on the nest.  So . . . now if you drive by my house you’ll see a strange sight.

Our porch decorations are almost all packed away, but some remain to safeguard the new nursery.  Now, if you had asked me a couple of weeks ago if birds lay eggs in the winter when temperatures range from single digits to below zero, I would have said with almost absolute certainty, “Of course not!  That would be crazy.  Birds lay their eggs in the spring when temperatures are warm.”  Now I know I would have been wrong, and once more I’m reminded of how little there really is of which I can be certain.

I suspect that’s something that can really scare a lot of people – that there is so little of which we can be certain.  Maybe that’s why we try to cling to what we think is certainty, and maybe that’s why I have read of so many times in history when one group of people has treated another so badly.  One group decides with utter certainty that the other is wrong, defective, inferior, and even dangerous, so the certain ones attack and abuse the others with a vengeance.  Scientists were persecuted when they revealed data that proved the earth was round, because some were certain that the earth was flat and functioned as the center of the universe.  Women were tortured and executed when strange things happened in the community because some were certain the women were witches possessing evil supernatural powers.  African-Americans and other non-white groups were persecuted as they marched for equal rights because some were certain the non-whites were inferior.  In all these cases and numerous more the aggressors were so certain of their beliefs that they acted in hurtful ways.  Yet in these, and so many other situations with time our certainty has been proven to be unfounded and false.  I find myself observing the way certain groups are treated with hurt and disdain today because some are so certain of the group members’ inferiority, life choices, or what some label as “sin.”  New data and insights are being brought to the table to help change our understanding in many of these situations.  Will our certainty be changed to uncertainty and help us change our behavior before more hate and hurt are wreaked upon them?

I was certain that birds don’t lay eggs in the winter – until two wild doves proved me wrong.  Once more I’m reminded that most of my life is lived in uncertainty, and I’m okay with that because I know there is one thing of which I am totally certain – God’s love.  It’s a powerful love that God offers in Christ, love that is so amazing and powerful that the apostle Paul uses “never” twice in the same sentence to describe it.  Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.”  I am certain about God’s love for us that we are invited to share with one another.  I am certain that love never fails.  Situations and relationships may fail because love is refused or rejected, but when love is given and received it cannot fail – of that I am certain.  I cling to the certainty that as long as I treat others with God’s love, I will never have to be ashamed for how I’ve treated another, even if new information surfaces at a later time about an individual or group.  I would like more certainty, but I’m convinced most of life is uncertain.  That’s okay.  The certainty of God’s love makes the uncertainty liveable.  I pray that God will give me certainty of love and the courage to love others in spite of uncertainty.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,

Gary

Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24

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~ by revgenelson on January 21, 2015.

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