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What Love Really Is..

There was an extremely popular song when I was young that had the famous line, "I want to know what love is". It when on to say, "Will somebody show me".



I have been intrigued and also frustrated in trying to understand what we call love. I’m amazed at what many thinks of as love, and also confused, and sometimes even appalled. How do you define love? When I looked up various definitions and opinions of others, I am drawn back to how the Bible shows what love is.



One of the most fundamental truths of love is having an overwhelming sense of wanting what is best for the person I love. Therein lies the mystery: What is best for him or her?



The more we know God, find wisdom and insight from the Word, the more we begin to have a deeper understanding of what "best" may look like.



Others are fooled by what they think of as best. The world system see’s best in ways that look differently from how God see’s best. The world elevates temporary riches, pleasures, and fame. King Solomon who was called the wisest man ever, fell into embracing the world’s definition of best. He pursued riches and pleasures, to the demise of his soul and relationship with God. Much of his life was over before he realized his folly.



Jesus said he came to give life, and give it more abundantly. That sure sounds "best".



I recall a scene clearly in my mind that provided a clear, and also painful glimpse of different views of what is best.



My young three-year old daughter was lying looking like she was almost dead in a hospital bed. Her frail body was surrounded with IV poles and scary looking apparatuses that made weird noises. The putrid smell of puke, medicine, and what may have been death, sometimes sent waves of scents through the atmosphere. Her bald head was an ever reminder that she was fighting cancer, and that the liquid being pumped into her was poison, we call chemotherapy.



She was unconscious, not because she was in a peaceful sleep, but because she had been knocked out with a drug that always first made her eyes wild with terror before losing coconsciousness. I was always relieved when she was finally no longer conscious, but unfortunately, I was.



I would sit by her bed for hours ready to lift her up to puke into the plastic container that was always provided, since we knew the poison would make her puke way into the night, even to the horrible green bile. I knew that if I didn’t catch when she was about to puke, she would strangle, thus I would be hyper vigilant of her every twitch, ready to pounce to save her from such.



On this particular day, my father had come to sit with me during this one of our many hospital stays. As he watched the scene unfold, he was horrified. Suddenly, it was as if he couldn’t stand it anymore and he blurted out to me something like, “I don’t know why you are letting them do this to her!”



I didn’t know whether to chuckle, cry, or scream. Yet, I wasn’t angry at all. Even though his words sounded accusatory, I also knew that he was aching for my daughter, his heart was breaking, he didn’t want her to suffer so, and he didn’t know how to help stop it. He wanted me to, since he knew as her mother, I could. I could refuse the poison. I could take her home and give her all kinds of what would be considered best by some.



I was actually comforted because of my dad's anguish for her. I was touched tenderly that he hurt for her. He felt pain and I knew it was from love.



But, I wanted life for her. I knew that while I detested the horror of the poisonous chemotherapy, I hated the cancer more. The cancer was killing her, one cell at a time. It had eaten through her kidney, slid through lymph nodes, crept into her lung, making a devastating invasion that if not stopped, would soon take her life. If you have ever experienced smothering, breathing is forever after seen as treasure.



As I cringed watching the pain that chemotherapy brought, I couldn’t also help but be delighted to imagine its power to kill, destroy, and irradiate every cell of cancer. This stuff is powerful, but it sure hurts.



My best for my daughter wasn’t her temporary comfort, although I believe my love for her made me hurt more than any human being, including my dad. But, my love for her also made me see “best” differently. Best was life and abundant life.



God loves you like that. He hurts for you more than any human being does. He loves you more than you will ever know in your earthly life. But, He is the only one who knows fully what is best. His best is life, abundant life; life that He defines differently than the world does. He alone can and does define “best” and His “best” truly defines love in ways we get the deepest understanding of the more we know Him. Then we see what love really is.



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