Monday, October 24, 2011

Unfailing Love

Today's passage:  I Corinthians 13:8
     "Charity never faileth..."  I've seen a lot of movies recently about older people losing their spouses.  We have had a few members of our church who have been going through this stage in life.  I remember when my Grandma had reached a point where dementia forced her sons to make a decision about her care.  We knew Grandpa couldn't care for her on his own anymore.  He protested and insisted he could do it.  Convincing him was not easy.  Had we lived closer, we could have helped more, but an hour and a half is even a great distance when someone's health is failing.  If it had only been her mind, Grandpa would probably never allowed it, but she was having other health issues too which required around-the-clock care.  He went to the nursing home every day.  He sat with her, played cards with her, talked to her.  She was not the woman he had married.  This Grandma I visited in the nursing home was not the sharp-eyed pragmatist I had known all my life.  She barely knew me.  Her memory was dull, and my Grandma's memory had never been dull.  In her younger years, she had worked for the Civil Service, and if you know anything about that occupation, not just anybody tests well enough to obtain that line of work.  I don't know how difficult the exam may be today, but when she took it, you had to have some smarts about you and she had them.  Yet, this woman who did not laugh as often as Grandpa's jokes, who didn't seem to know her own grandchildren had her husband at her side every day.  He went early in the morning and stayed until visiting hours were over.  I know it was hard for him to go home to that empty house.  His life was a few miles away.  I think of their love, and I think of God's.  It never fails.
     Grandma didn't live long after she was put in the nursing home.  I don't know what else we could have done, and I'm not saying that being put there ended her life early.  I know that she had been a busy, active person all her life, and hours sitting would have been foreign to her, even if it was sitting with Grandpa.   After her three boys had grown, she kept busy.  She turned their basement into a ceramics shop.  She made beautiful ceramics.  She gardened, canning green beans and jellies.  I've yet to taste anything like her raspberry jelly.  She crocheted.  I still have one of her afghans. 
Romantic drawing of couple snuggling by the fireplace.
Snuggle by the Fire
Artist: Mary Stewart Cutting (1858-1932)
Image Appears In: The Wayfarers
Date Image Published: 1908
Courtesy of
     I don't remember whether she went into the home in the spring or the summer, but I remember that around Christmas time that same year, we were attending her funeral.  The hardest thing was knowing how alone Grandpa would be.  At least he could be by her side when she was in the nursing home.  At least he could bring her treats, or play dominoes with her.  He could hear her voice, he could hold her hand.  Now, he had to find other ways to occupy his time.  He did that for about two more years, and then he went to Glory to be with his wife.  His passing was sudden.  We didn't know he had any health problems and God took him unexpectedly.  Some couples say they love each other, but other couples show it.  My grandparents loved each other.  My Grandpa told my Grandma that if she married him, he would do the dishes every night.  And he did.  It wasn't just a promise he made to get her to wear his ring, he followed through with his commitment.  I got the feeling he enjoyed doing the dishes, because he always sang while washing.  Maybe in his Navy days he had a lot of KP duty and knew the most efficient way to get the job done.  In any case, after every meal, Grandpa filled the sink with suds and washed all the dishes, even when Grandma had a house full of company.  He let us help of course, on occasion.

     As loving and strong as any human relationship we see on this earth, none of them exceed God's love for us.  None of them last longer than God's love.  His love never fails us.  There is nothing I can do, no way I can act, no thing I can say that will cause God to withdraw His love from me.  If like my Grandma, I became a person completely different than who I am, God would not suddenly stop caring for me. While any of us still have life, He will never take back His plan of salvation.  He will never say, "No, I didn't plan for that person to be saved."  When Jesus died on the cross, it was for all eternity.  The love He showed for me on Calvary is a lasting work.  It was and is enough.  As our Advocate, Jesus never goes to the Father and says, "I didn't die for that one."  His love is everlasting, it will never cease.  What about the Holy Spirit?  How is His love unfailing?  He never gives up on seeing people come to Christ.  It is true that He will eventually stop knocking on an individual's heart's door.  If that individual continues to push Him away, He will eventually stop knocking.  But not because He no longer loves that person.  And when one person rejects Him, it doesn't cause Him to give up on the whole human race.  There are other hearts still inviting Him in. 
     As sweet and endearing it is to see older couples still in love with each other, still wanting to be together, their love is not as powerful as my God's love.  Although, watching these dear older saints is potent, magnify that enduring love by the greatest strength, and then you will have my God's love.  My love may fail Him.  My love may fail my husband and children.  But I can never say that about Him.  I will still be praising Him for His love when I arrive in Heaven.  I wish He could praise me about my love for Him.


  1. I can feel your own sorrow in sharing this Stephanie. In seeing your grandparents suffer & in losing them. If it hurts us seeing them in pain, I can't even begin to imagine their own sorrow especially in losing a lifetime partner, a beloved & a best friend. It's hard. That's an understatement. It is impossible to go through such hurt & sorrow, yet we all do. So I thank God & praise Him for His everlasting love & peace! He alone can erase all our sorrows. Praise to God always. I know it will be a glorious time in heaven when you finally see your grandparents, in God's perfect time.

  2. I miss them a lot, but have all happy memories. We didn't get to spend a lot of time with them in my younger years, since we were stationed overseas much of the time, but in my teen years, we lived closer and were able to spend more time with them. I 'm thankful God allowed us to have those years together.

  3. Such a beautiful, heartfelt post about the gift of love. Rarely do we see couples mirror a godly love, but when we do we catch a small glimpse of what God intended for it to be on earth. How wonderful to know that God's love for us doesn't measure out in comparison. I just can't take it in most days.



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