There’s a verse in the Psalms (specifically Psalm 119:114) that says, “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” There is something satisfying and scary at the same time about trusting God’s word. It’s satisfying because we have no real knowledge beyond what we can see in this world. The word of God takes us beyond what we can see into a vast eternity of possibilities. It’s scary because we still can’t see them.
Then there is the fact that we can’t really trust in God’s word until we actually trust that it IS God’s word. I guess those are two parts of the same equation. Once we’re convinced that Scripture is his word, we then have to take the leap into actually relying on it to guide our lives—not an easy thing for most.
Of course, that’s why they call it faith. The very first verse of Hebrews chapter eleven gives us the classic definition of faith. The author puts it this way. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Ultimately, we hope the Bible is truly God’s word, and we seek assurance to march into the future as we attempt to follow Christ.
My Meager Attempt
I’ve been making a meager attempt to do these things for a long time—almost three-quarters of my life. It’s been an interesting ride up until now, and I don’t expect it to change much. One thing I’ve discovered is the truth of one verse in particular. “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8). That, of course, comes from the chapter commonly known as the “love chapter.” In it, the Apostle Paul lays out his understanding and definition of love.
If you read it carefully, you’ll undoubtedly discover that you don’t live up to it. Upon further reflection, you may also notice that no one else you know does either. There’s a simple reason for this. In this chapter, Paul is describing the love God has for us. It’s a perfect love. As someone once said, “God loves…period. He doesn’t love you if… He doesn’t love you when… He doesn’t love you because… He just loves you—no strings attached.”
A Three-Word Sentence
That’s tough to grasp until you read another great verse. 1 John 4:16 has a simple, three-word sentence that just nails it. It simply says, “God is love.” Try to wrap your head around that one.
You and I can love. We can love each other, we can love our country, and we can love hot dogs. But we can’t BE love. But since we’re made in God’s image, we have the potential to love. We just have a tough time living up to his standard, but we can try.
Because of all this, I have to go along with the psalmist. “I have put my hope in your word,” Lord. Everything else lets me down. You, on the other hand, are love—and love never fails.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]