What an incredibly potent force love is! While it lacks the clout that some attribute to it—science will never agree that “Love makes the world go around,” as one old song insists—yet, I know for certain that it keeps me going in the world that does go around.
Love is the force that prompts you to go the extra mile. Love makes your life worthwhile. Love makes you get up and try again. History overflows with stories of men and women whose love motivated them to heroic acts. Others have endured extreme hardship because of love. The power of love still prompts others to rise against imposing challenges, throwing back what appear to be insurmountable odds.
What a powerful force is love! Nothing stronger or deeper exists.
A mother’s love is legendary. In fact, should a mother desert her offspring, we mentally put her on a level with the animals. Scripture itself describes such a mother as “without natural affection” (Romans 1:31; 2 Timothy 3:3). We all expect a strong, natural bond to unite a loving mother with the child of her womb. I thank God for the privilege of experiencing this natural bond. My mother showered her love upon me and my siblings in so many special ways.
And again years later, I saw the same kind of motherly love as I watched my wife continually demonstrate her undying commitment to our children. I saw how love motivated Kay to spend long, agonizing hours in prayer during those difficult times when our children struggled, when their destinies hung in the balance. And yet, what a beautiful thing to see my determined wife’s constant intercession, her refusal to let go, her holding on in prayer—all motivated by love. The strong bond of a mother’s love makes incredible sacrifices.
Then I think of the love of a man for his bride. As a pastor, I get a bird’s eye view of this kind of love as I stand before a young couple on their wedding day. I watch them as they lovingly gaze into each other’s eyes, peering deeply into the other’s soul. I’m close enough that I can read their quivering lips silently mouth, “I love you.” I observe their bodies almost tremble with excitement when that special moment arrives, calling for them to declare their covenant of love by saying out loud, “Until death do us part.” And so they commit their lives to one another—for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. A covenant of love brings them to the altar.
We see an even greater covenant of love in the elderly couple that has celebrated fifty or more years together. They have weathered all the storms. They’ve made it through the hurricanes and the blizzards and the droughts. Now they enjoy a bond so deep and so strong that to communicate effectively they don’t even have to speak to each other. They know what the other is thinking and they can accurately predict the words before their mate utters them. To see them holding hands, to watch them gazing at each other through years of rich experience—it nearly makes me weep. How beautiful is such an enduring covenant of love.
And then there is the love of camaraderie, a fraternal kind of love, a deep love that some fortunate men experience in their closest friendships. This is the kind of love that causes a man to throw his body down on a live grenade in order to save the lives of the men in his platoon. Best-selling books are written on the basis of such tremendous acts of heroism motivated by love. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
But the covenant of love I want to highlight here is far greater than that of a mother for her child, a husband for his wife, or a soldier for his comrades-in-arms. The greatest covenant of love in the universe is the one that God seeks to make with you today.