The Bible college professor handed out the syllabus for the first term and I gulped as I read it. The course dealt with two books written by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians and it included choosing a chapter to memorize. A whole chapter! I started praying that God would give me the capacity to cram that much scripture into my brain and be able to get it all back out onto paper, verse numbers and punctuation included.
We had several weeks to do the assignment but I picked chapter 13 of First Corinthians and began right away. I picked it because I already knew a portion of it by heart and I figured memorizing the famous "love chapter" would be easier that some of the others. I had no idea what memorizing that portion of scripture would do to me.
At the time, I was in the middle of teaching a women's bible study on campus but after getting half way through the love chapter I seriously considered quitting. My motivation had been all wrong. I hadn't accepted the teaching assignment out of love, I had accepted it out of pride and my need for affirmation. I spoke with an older woman of God about my dilemma and she gave me wise counsel. She said that even though my motives may not have been the best, God was teaching me through the process. The challenge was to rise to the need for change, to pray for guidance and then obey.
I began to realize that the love God had poured into me the day I accepted Christ as my Saviour was not meant to stay buried in my heart. It was meant to be poured back out. That wasn't easy for me. Still isn't. Because of some of the damage that was done to my heart and soul as a young girl, I'm a bit afraid of love, afraid to receive it and to give it freely. I'm sometimes afraid it will cost too much, hurt too much.
But little by little God is helping me to trust Him enough to know that His love is patient and kind it is not easily angered. His love keeps no record of wrongs. His love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. His love never fails.
I take courage in the Apostle Paul's prayer in the book of Ephesians chapter 3, verses 17-18 -"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."
Rooted and established in love. That's what being a Christian means because God is love. So we are rooted and established in Him. We may fail to show it, fail to do it, but that is the reality of who we are. My prayer is that as we write, as we speak, as we live our lives day to day, the love of God may not be a trickle that seeps out of us, but a torrent flowing through all we do.
Happy Valentines Day!