For my blog this week, I want to share a devotional my wife Stacy did this week for our Church:
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13:13
My dad passed away unexpectedly at the end of July. Our family is so grateful for the outpouring of love and care that we’ve received from our church family in recent weeks as I’ve been helping my mom in California. The texts sharing love and hope and prayers for us have ministered God’s embrace. Thank you!
Today, I want to share briefly with you something I’ll be talking about at my dad’s memorial service.
My dad loved the Bible. He read it daily and treasured God’s Word in his heart. The verse above ministered so deeply to me these past weeks as I’m learning to mourn a loss I wasn’t expecting. It talks about the staying power of faith, hope, and love…and says that the greatest of these is love.
It made me think: the beautiful thing about love is that it is outside of time and space. I don’t cease to feel my dad’s love for me simply because he is not present with me—my whole life was shaped by the fact that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my father loved me, and that there was nothing I could do that would cause him to stop loving me.
The way I view myself…my faith in and love for God…the type of life partner I chose…the way we raised our kids…the filter through which I see the world—all of these things were directly impacted by my dad’s love for me. I will feel his love for me today and always because love remains.
In the same way, I do not stop loving my dad just because he’s no longer physically here with me. In fact, I would venture to guess that my love for him will continue to grow as I think of precious memories with him.
My dad’s love often came in the form of the gruff and straight-shooting person he was, but the staying power gives it away: he took me to work with him just to spend extra time with me; he led me to Jesus; he gave me my first study Bible (Thompson Chain NIV), he planned adventures and travels for our family so that we could experience more of the world together.
I didn’t get to say goodbye to him—which he probably considers a blessing because he always seemed uncomfortable with goodbyes. But I hold onto his love for me and my love for him as both a marker of the lasting power love has and a reminder of how great God’s love is for me.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love and that the love You give lasts forever. The staying power of love gives us hope and faith, without end. And we are grateful.