The Bible says that God is love. The first commandment is even about love.
Now love is a lot of touchy-feely things, but love is also a lot about commitment and about showing up.
You see this focus on commitment in marriages.
I mean, ask any pre-marriage counselor about to talk to yet another eager couple.
“You are committing to be there for each other in both the good times and the bad.”
Later, the marriage vows bear this coaching out. But then, of course, the wedding day turns into a blur of months and years. Mortgages, broken dishwashers, and children might follow.
After all the new wears off, what do you still do as a spouse – or – what should you be doing as a spouse?
You love. You show up. You are grumpy, tired, and feel stuck. But you make an effort and love your spouse, despite the circumstances.
I think we should be stubborn about it. Wanting a sound marriage is worth being stubborn about.
“I once heard somebody say that God had closed a door on an opportunity they had hoped for. But I’ve always wondered if, when we want to do something that we know is right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors Him. Maybe there are times when we think a door has been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down. Or perhaps just sit outside of it long enough until somebody tells us we can come in.”
–Bob Goff, Love Does
The same can be said about parenting.
You are just a person. You are learning as you go, carefully trying to tiptoe around every mistake you think your parents made. You butt-heads with your child occasionally. You say things you immediately regret. And you wish your kids simply slept a little bit better.
But just like you do in your marriage, you keep showing up, you keep loving, you keep enduring.
On the other side of parenting, I look forward to the relationship I’ll have with my grown children. All the years of consistent support could accrue into something great.
“Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most.”
–Seth Godin, The Dip
I wonder if God wants the same thing.
I wonder if sometimes, God just wants us to show up.
Our spouses do not expect us to be perfect, and neither do our kids. God unquestionably does not assume us to be blameless.
I believe the common thread in all these relationships is the willingness to be present.
See, tuning out of our relationship with God for a day or week might not be that big of a deal.
But showing up every day to participate for 30 years might look a lot like sanctification.
“John teaches us that the strongest relationship with Christ may not necessarily be a complicated one. He teaches us that the greatest webs of loyalty are spun, not with airtight theologies or foolproof philosophies, but with friendships; stubborn, selfless, joyful friendships.”
–Max Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him Savior