Love Never Fails - Encouragement for Today - August 29, 2018

Tessa Afshar

August 29, 2018
Love Never Fails

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17b-18 (NIV)

My parents divorced when I was 13. Within months, my life changed. Our family was torn in two, like a piece of paper, never to be reconnected seamlessly. We would not live under the same roof again.

The wounds of that divorce drove me to make a promise at that age. I vowed I would never get divorced. Vows are powerful things. There is an implied judgment in soul-deep promises. Divorce to me had become the Great Failure. The one defeat I would not suffer.

Imagine my dismay when after several years of marriage my husband wanted a divorce. We were in our 20s, and I had thought we would have a lifetime together. Turns out, I was wrong.

Nothing I did or said changed my husband’s heart. He simply did not want to be married. I could not keep that ancient vow. The weight of the defeat I felt almost broke me.

The Bible tells us, “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8a, NIV). But experience seems to teach us the opposite — that our love does fail. In spectacular, heart-wrenching ways.

As a Christian I have come to realize that God, unsurprised by our failure, has made provision for our imperfect love.

In His letter to the Ephesians, Paul prays something striking. He prays that the followers of Christ may have “power … to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18b).

He prays for believers to have supernatural power — the Spirit’s power — in order to grasp the love of Christ.

In other words, we need supernatural help from the Holy Spirit to grasp love. The kind of love God wants us to taste requires a move of God.

The flesh that’s never tasted such a love in this world is incapable of grasping it. We cannot live like beloved daughters when we don’t know what the Father’s love, offered to us through Christ, really feels like.

That’s the point of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians.

We who have never experienced unbroken human love need spiritual power in order to experience God’s love. Knowing how beloved we are as daughters — as the Bride — requires a miracle; it requires a move of God. His power must pour from His realm into our own, from His Spirit into ours, before we begin to understand we are loved unfailingly.

After my divorce, I discovered an amazing quality about the love of Jesus: It heals.

My parents’ divorce had scarred me; my own divorce had ravaged me. I felt not merely rejected, but inherently deserving of rejection. Somehow faulty at my very core. When I learned to allow Jesus to minister His beautiful, unfailing love to my heart, these lies began to shrivel. The Lord restored to me the esteem of a treasured daughter.

Years later, in His grace, God brought a loving man into my life. When I was dating the man who is now my husband, one of the first things I learned was he was an early-morning person. By 9 p.m. his eyelids grew heavy.

While we were dating, I noticed a sweet tendency in him. He hated to say goodbye. Even though it was long past his bedtime, he would linger for one more word. One more minute with me. We didn’t spend the extra time on any life-shattering discussions or important chores. We merely enjoyed one another’s presence.

He was willing to pay the price of sleeplessness, exhaustion and mounting tasks left undone, just so he could be with me a little while longer. Now that I know him better, I realize how much those late nights cost him, and I’m amazed by the sacrifice. It remains one of the sweetest memories of our courtship.

I’ve come to realize that we need to linger with Jesus in the same way. To pay the price of staying with Him just a bit longer. Linger to enjoy one more moment with Him. To remain connected to the Spirit, so that we can grasp how wide and long and high and deep Jesus’ love really goes.

Whether you’ve had a glimpse of Christ’s love through your human relationships, or your personal history has been a fractured and dark antithesis of such a love, the Holy Spirit can help you grasp God’s holy affection. In all your broken places, you can be healed as you linger with Jesus.

Dear Jesus, heal me with Your love, I pray. Heal every rejection, fill every vacuum, flood the shattered places of my heart with Your love. Teach me to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of my Savior for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

1 Corinthians 13:6-8a, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (NIV)

In Thief of Corinth, Tessa Afshar tells the story of a woman who becomes her father’s apprentice — and a thief. Until a rabbi named Paul teaches her that the love of God never fails. Get your copy today.

You can find Tessa on Facebook or stop by her website.

Interested in getting a copy of Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar? To celebrate this book, Tyndale is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and notify them in the comments section by Monday, September 10, 2018.}

What aching wound from your past would the love of Christ heal?

© 2018 by Tessa Afshar. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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Originally published Wednesday, 29 August 2018.