Love Always Protects
“Love always protects”. This is just one part of a very famous scripture found in 1 Corinthians 13, and at the moment God has used it to remind me of something that I have lost the last few years.
I think it is easy to say, when we go through hard times, (and when I say “hard times” I am talking about world changing, ground shaking, questioning everything about life- hard times) we feel that this part of scripture is in no way true. Scripture says God is love (1 John 4:8). So, when I read this passage in 1 Corinthians 13, it’s safe to say it is not only talking about how when we love, these attributes are displayed, but we can say that God is all of these things as well. So when I read ‘love always protects’, I can replace it with God. “God always protects”.
This has been very hard for me to believe, because there has been at times what feels like unbearable pain, pain that makes me afraid and that makes me want to run! So how did God protect me?
How is God protecting those that call on his name, yet are abused, are hurt for their faith, who have their marriage destroyed, who are lonely, who are barren, who can’t seem to get ahead financially?
In my pain it’s hard to hear this truth that God protects, because it feels so far from protection.
In this season I have found myself in, I haven’t really had joyful experiences with God. Not that there hasn’t been any, but when there are, I slowly fall back into sorrow, into fear, into self-righteousness. Sorrow from all the losses I have experienced and fear because I don’t want more losses, and self-righteousness because anytime people talk about how good God is I think, “But you haven’t really suffered great loss,” thinking in some way I know more than them, thinking that they wouldn’t say that, if they were where I am, and even not trusting God. I have almost run away from God because, subconsciously, I think my distance from him will protect me from more loss, I started to believe he does not really protect.
This morning I was reading a book for a study group that some other women and I are doing called, “The Good and Beautiful God”. Guys, I have been so bitter about reading this book! I have only made it to one of our meetings (There has been 5). I have scoffed at the writer and I had this pride like, “I know this already”. Every time I sat down to read, I was annoyed.
Here is the thing: I read the chapter “God is Love” out loud (Home by myself, yay), and honestly, I cried almost through the whole thing. I felt like God was addressing all the wounds and pain I have been carrying for the last few years, and addressing the biggest one, which is that I felt so hurt that he did not protect me.
God just used this book I scoffed at to break down lies I was believing! What’s really beautiful is that in that chapter, the things that had me in tears the most— it was all Scripture! I wish I could write to you all of the things God shared but this could become a novel, so I will stick with what the scripture was that spoke the most to me. That was that God (Love) always protects and God (Love) never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:7-8) Two truths I have been unable to see fully. How does God protect when it doesn’t look like protection?
I am sure there are qualified theologians that can answer that for you, but I will do my best to explain what that scripture represents for me. Though my loss was great, I could make a list of some very beautiful, irreplaceable experiences and values I have gained. The biggest one that sticks out to me is compassion. Though it can be lacking at times, (the moment I am in the car, I have very little compassion for bad drivers) I have way more compassion for the broken. Though we are all broken, some stick out a little more than others, and because God has protected me in a way I can’t express, I can see that now. So as I cried this morning over God’s love; his love that waits for me as I cross my arms and turn the other way; his love that embraces me when I have been too afraid to run into his arms; his love that shows me the lies I have been believing... well... it’s hard not to be moved to tears.
Last thing I want to share about when it comes to God’s protection has to do with a recent experience I had. A family, whom I did not know before but was put into their life for a brief moment, were going through an experience that hits so close to home.
The father of the family had not been faithful to the mother many times, and finally was unwilling to change. The mother decided to leave and take her three children back to her home country where she has support.
I was heartbroken hearing this, not only the pain of the mother, but the children who were being taken from all that they had known, and even their father (flaws and all). I too experienced both of these pains. The betrayal by my spouse and best friend, and being taken from a parent to live somewhere far away from all I had known. So I had the honor to watch them for an hour. As I watched the kids, (ages 7,5,4) instead of seeing how naughty they were as they pinched, hit, and called each other names, I felt love and compassion and was blessed to hug them as their big feelings came crashing in around them. My heart felt like it could burst open for them! So all that to say, I see God’s protection at this moment.
Protection from becoming heartless. Protection from judging those who are so vulnerable. Protection from losing a sense of how broken the world is, and still experiencing pure love through the pain.
My season may look different from yours or you totally get where I am at. I hope that, whatever season you are in, you hold close the words of God. That scripture would become healing words to your heart, or bring inexpressible joy!
Though I have met God more through pain and suffering this season, I see his protection. I have a deep hope even in the darkest places that I can only say is a gift and protection from God, no matter how hard life feels. I pray that our Father, who loves so deeply and knows us more than we can even imagine and is so patient and full of grace, fills your heart with his truth and that you are moved to trust that he will protect you and that he never fails! Always remembering that our plans may look different than what actually happens, but His redeeming love can move mountains, his redeeming love can take the darkness and overcome it with light!
Love always protects. Love NEVER fails.