Pastor Ethan's Blog
Thursday, March 01 2018
I’m having a hard time knowing where to go with this. We’ve been plowing deep soil through the ‘love chapter’ of 1 Corinthians 13, and while very challenging, everything up to this point has made sense. It has resonated as deep truth. Yes, love is patient. Yes, love is kind, it is humble, it loves truth, and it does what is best for another person. Convicting? You bet. Confusing? Not really. Until now.
Love… always trusts, always hopes. And as we discussed last week, by ‘always’, Paul means ‘always always.’
“Always trusts” is from the NIV. The phrase is also translated “never loses faith”, with the most common rendering being “believes all things.”
Think on that for a moment. Love (the Love of God alive and working in us), always (at all times, in all circumstances), trusts. Believes. Keeps faith. Really? I don’t know about you, but that flies in the face of human experience. If there is anything life teaches us, it’s that human beings (including myself), are often untrustworthy and unfaithful. Every single one of us has been let down by someone else, and we have let people down ourselves. Now remember (we talked about this a few weeks ago), trust and hope in this context doesn’t refer primarily to our trust and hope in God, but in each other. It’s worth noting that these two verbs (trusts, hopes) are in the same sentence- the same thought- as last week’s verb. You could paraphrase this as “Just as love always does what is best for the other person, love also always trusts and hopes in the other person.”
Let’s set aside ‘hopes’ for just a moment, and focus on “Love always trusts. Believes.” Let’s say your cousin is a financial advisor who happens to be under investigation for fraud. Based on your family experience, you have good reason to think he is guilty as charged. Now, you may care for your cousin. You may love him. You may sincerely desire what is best for him. But it is highly unlikely you are going to trust him with your money. When we think of what it means to trust in, to believe in, another person, we think of taking something precious to us (our possessions, our reputation, our children, our hearts), and placing them in that person’s hands. Unless we are naïve, we don’t lightly do this, often wisely so. Love also protects, and scripture is replete with teaching about wisdom, discernment, and good judgement.
So what is God saying? When it comes to how we reflect Jesus in everyday life, what does it mean that Love always trusts? There has to be something bigger, deeper, going on here!
Friends, there is. In these two attributes of trust and hope, God is opening the door into the most profound practical reality of love we have yet to encounter. Paul will go on to proclaim that love never fails, and the reason it never fails is because it never gives up on trust and hope. There is something here that points to the intrinsic and precious value God has instilled in every human soul, something that Love recognizes, holds up, and never lets go. Faced with the brokenness of our world and our own lives, Love possesses an unrelenting hope, belief, and trust that God can take any situation, any person, and bring about the miracle of redemption. Redemption may look different from how we thought things would work out. It almost always does. But Love never loses hope that somehow, in some way, God is causing all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Growing with you in the Hope of Christ,
Love… never loses faith, is always hopeful
1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)