Love is never wasted says the lord – so why do I hurt so much?
What is it that hurts the most? When you have poured out your love for your partner and they treat you appallingly for decades? When you have spent your life caring for and loving a child that grows up to think you are an idiot…? (You hope it’s a stage but oh it cuts like a knife to your core!) When you have to watch the parent that you love desperately and who doesn’t know the lord descend into the living death of Alzheimer’s dementia? What about the business partner that you believed in and trusted that you invested tens of thousands of dollars in who stabs you in the back, destroys the business and turns vicious on you when you repel his romantic advances? What about your new husband that has gone from completely dysfunctional to wonderful via an amazing transformation from the lord but that hurt you deeply in the time when he was still AWOL? It’s hard to even contemplate these all at once.
When I look back at my life I can get pretty despondent. Sometimes the memories overwhelm me and I struggle with the sense that my life has been a total waste. That all the time and love I put into people I truly cared about was a complete waste of time and that I have nothing to show for all those years except a keen awareness of the saving grace of God and how much better my life is now!
The other day a seemingly innocent remark by my husband sent me into a tailspin of despair. It’s like all the emotional pain I had bottled up all those years just overwhelmed me and I started to crash. I was caught up with a sense of anger – is my life worth nothing? Is it my lot just to be used, treated badly and discarded? Does no one care? Is all I have to offer irrelevant? These are questions I have asked myself and God many times. But this time, my sweet lord answered! (It may be that He answered before and I wasn’t listening…or maybe for the first time I was ready to learn…)
It was quiet. I almost missed it. But I heard it clearly – LOVE IS NEVER WASTED.
He Loved Us When We Were Unloveable
Our beloved Saviour laid down His life for us and we mocked Him, cursed Him, and ignored Him…right up to that moment when we understood – then suddenly we loved Him, accepted Him, and APPRECIATED Him… So does He mourn what He did for us? No – in fact, I am assured that He would do it again, and again, and again….if it was necessary to save even one soul.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behaviour. 22
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight,without blemish and free from accusation— (Colossians 1:21)
As my most wonderful husband explained to me – even in the times he was behaving badly my love for him set a standard he had never seen before. All the love I lavished on him helped him move from where he was (operating solely on his brain with no heart involved) to where he is now (a man overflowing with love and the life of Christ). Of course the Lord Jesus was the biggest part of this – He literally transformed his soul from old to new and put a new life inside of him. But on a human level…it was my unflinching love for him that brought him through into a new place and helped him shake off his demons. So while I have held on to some anger from those times when I was loving him and he was treating me with disrespect and callousness…from his perspective he was moving towards somewhere he had never been before (a committed, honest, loving relationship) and that scared him. As he said “every bit of love helped me make the changes I had to make in my life”. And I know how GRATEFUL he is that I stood by him and loved him into this new place of trust and joy.
So – was the Lord’s love wasted when He came to earth and loved all, healed all who had faith, and became a living testimony of a life poured out? No, of course not. In Isaiah 55 He says that His word never returns empty but always achieves what He sent it for:
As the rain and the snowcome down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
So was my love wasted on people? No, of course not.
God loves people through us. People may reject that love. On a gospel level, they are rejecting Jesus, not you. But on a personal level, well, as Jesus said on the cross “…forgive them for they know not what they do.”
This revelation has literally changed my life in the space of a few days. Now I can look back at my life and let go of any residual bitterness, anger, despair, or hurt that still may linger. Yes, I loved people. Yes, I was disappointed, hurt, and badly treated by some. Yes, sometimes things don’t work out how you hope and pray. But those people tasted Christ’s love through me and that is never a waste. While we should definitely love with boundaries, (and that is a whole other topic! I don’t mean love in a co-dependent or self destructive way or in a way that invites abuse. Be wise and know when to move on!!) we are called to love our enemies. The bride must be like the bridegroom and Christ gave us a phenomenal model of living out love to all.
Trust God that the Love You Have Sown Will Bear Much Fruit
Again, the lord loved me when we were enemies, in essence when I was unlovable. In turn I have loved and cared for people who were unlovable. Some I have wisely walked away from. Some I have continued to love and seen massive change. Some I have continued to love and pray for from a distance. He forgives me my sin; in turn I forgive those who sin against me. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Or put another way, if you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven.
The Lord is a righteous judge over everyone’s life. We are all accountable for every thought, action, spoken word and deed. He WILL judge the wicked; He will also judge my heart and yours. Is it free from anger and judgment? It MUST be!
So…trust God that the love you have poured out for others is not wasted. He loves those souls in spite of their sin – love is NEVER WASTED. Trust God that those seeds of love you planted will one day bear fruit. Trust God that the entire purpose of your life was to learn how to love and teach others in return. And know that if you love, your reward in heaven is great.