All you get from love is …
There’s a conflict here. Can you see it?
Hint – look at the title of this post – and look at the graphic.
One seems to be hopeless. The other full of hope.
So how can both be true?
First of all, do you recognize where the title comes from? While there’s probably multiple correct answers, I’m getting it from a song by The Carpenters –
All you get from love is a love song
The words to the song are even more depressing. For instance –
It’s such a dirty old shame when you got to
Take the blame for a love song
Because the best love songs are written
With a broken heart
And that’s why there’s actually no conflict.
The issue maybe comes down to Luke 14:25-27 –
The Cost of Being a Disciple
Lk 14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
So what if you decide you really truly want to be a disciple of Jesus? You really truly want to serve Him. But something’s keeping you from being able to do it? For instance –
The Rich Ruler
Lk 18:18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Lk 18:19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’’”
Lk 18:21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
Lk 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Lk 18:23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Lk 18:26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Lk 18:27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Lk 18:28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
Lk 18:29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”
For the rich ruler – his problem was money. And when this was pointed out to him – he walked away.
But what if he decided he still wanted to server Jesus? He would have to do what Jesus said. And then he’d be even more rich than ever.
But what if it wasn’t money? What if it was a family member or spouse? If we still want to follow Jesus – including His statement If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
If we hear that – and still want to follow Him and serve Him – something’s got to happen with whatever that relationship is that’s preventing it.
If we’ve heard / read these things – we should know the cost. For me, having written and taught these things – I certainly am aware of them. But did I ever truly expect to maybe have to pay them? It would seem that the answer is no. From our very first conversations together, my wife and I expected to be partners in serving the Lord. Somehow, we’ve gotten to the point where not only is that not happening any more, but she has left. It’s more than devastating. For regular readers, you won’t be too surprised that my initial solution was to just end my life. Obviously – failed again on that one.
I was talking to one of the pastors at our church the other day, and he asked if I felt like Job – because I’d been forced to leave my job – been sick for quite a while – more than a year pf waiting to see whether or not my wife would stay or leave – Etc. I said no, because God certainly knows that I’d fail the test. He told me that maybe I was wrong – that God knows I will pass the test.
So I’ve been talking to people at church – praying – thinking – a bit of writing – and came to the conclusion that I usually do – after way too much time. There’s something to learn from this.
I wonder if this is what I’m to learn –
Wanting to end everything because my marriage is in an unknown state (I still don’t know why she left or if she’s coming back) – as bad as that is – it shows that I don’t have the part about
Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ “
If I did, I’d know that He’s to be first in my life – and that my life will end when He’s ready – not when I think I can’t take it any more. I’d know that I should rely on His strength – and that I can and will make it.
If I did, I’d also know that marriage is sacred to Him – and that when we live our lives the way He wants – not only would He not allow the breakup of a marriage, but He protects it. We even had the following verses as part of our marriage –
Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
Ecc 4:10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Ecc 4:11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Ecc 4:12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
That third strand of course – is Him. The thing is – His cord should be wrapped around us. It’s not supposed to be us wrapped around Him. We aren’t protecting Him. We can’t. It’s Him protecting us. Because we can’t protect ourselves any more than we could protect Him.
Two people wanting to be servants of God have to be especially careful of Satan. Messing up those three strands pretty much guarantees failure of the service and the marriage. I feel like that’s where I am now.
It seems hopeless.
And yet – there’s still the words from Jesus when questioned about the rich ruler who walked away –
“What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
No matter how impossible it seems – I have to hang on to those words.
No matter how impossible it seems – I have to truly believe that God can still work this out.
Otherwise – who am I and what can I do?
I thought I was doing everything for Him. Realizing that I obviously wasn’t – I now have a choice. Walk away – or try again to follow Him and walk closer with Him.
I have to choose the latter. Otherwise I have nothing. I won’t have a marriage or a relationship with Him
If I choose to still follow – to try to follow Him closer and keep Him around me instead of me around Him – then I know that’s the only hope of my marriage being repaired.
So I have to choose that.
Knowing the cost.
And knowing that the cost of walking away is even higher than the cost of staying.
image from Logos Bible Software