Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love — yet love surpasses them all.
1 Cor 13:13
These three things remain:
Paul wrote these words about one thousand nine hundred and forty-five years ago, and still today, they comfort many.
But for some of us, FHL could be replaced with anything, like:
High blood pressure.
For some of us, in some of the seasons we’re in or have been in, it seems that these things and more are what remains of our lives, rather than the nice things that Paul said.
(Such a killjoy today, aren’t I!)
Christians are often guilty of throwing weightless platitudes in the face of weighty situations.
Just pray about it.
Just have faith.
Don’t give up hope.
Love will get you through.
And while these sayings are cute - and would serve well on a poster with a cat on it (Nothing against cat posters. I'm a cat lady myself) - they are sometimes so disconnected from our real, lived-in lives, that the words, and the sentiments, fall lifeless to the ground.
Valentine's Day has come and gone again, and while for some it’s a beautiful day full of love and roses and PDA’s, for others, it's a sharp reminder of loss, heartache, and pain. My husband and I are still married, but seven years ago, I was part of my parents painful and horrific divorce, from which I still have not fully recovered. Our wedding anniversary is only two weeks away, so we don’t do much for Valentines Day (plus Jesse isn’t a big believer in it…), but amongst it all February 14th reminds me of loss and pain. The ache that twisted love gone wrong leaves in its wake.
And we need to talk about it.
If faith, hope, and love are what remains at the end of it all, how do we get to it? How do we uncover it? What do we do with the stuff in-between here and the end of it all? How do we find it before the end?
Just a few easy questions, today, okay? *wink*
At the end of his little (huge) rant on love, Paul said:
"For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.” (1 Cor 13:12-13 TPT).
Our lives are full of guesses and almost’s and trying and riddles and mysteries and foggy reflections in cracked mirrors. But somehow, Paul seemed to find that even in all of this, faith, hope, and love are foundational truths that we can stand steady on.
So how do we bridge the gap?
In his Daily Meditations on 1 Corinthians 13, Richard Rohr said:
"The great illusion we must all overcome is the illusion of separateness. It is the primary task of religion to communicate not worthiness but union, to reconnect people to their original identity “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). The Bible calls this state of separateness “sin.” God’s job description is to draw us back into this primal and intimate relationship. “My dear people, we are already children of God; what we will be in the future has not yet been fully revealed, and all I do know is that we shall be like God” (1 John 3:2).”
Perhaps it's all closer than we think.