Love fails. All the time. Love fails in marriage.
Love fails in parenting.
Love fails in receiving grace and extending it to others.
I see all this in therapy. I see it in my own life. It leads me to be a teensy weensy bit cynical at times.
So a couple of weeks ago, I was making a wedding gift for a young friend and I Corinthians 13 figured into it: "love never fails." And I thought, wow, is this even true, in the real world? Is it just something that's an ideal, something we never really achieve? Something we just hope will be true someday? Am I lying to this sweet young thing, pasting this verse on her wedding present? Would I be better off giving her a gift certificate for couples therapy?
So I was processing through this with Andy, and he pulled out his Translator Andy hat and reminded me that English is an inadequate language when it comes to the expression of "love."
Greek has several words for love, with different shades of meaning.
English only has one word, and then we have to modify in order to clarify its meaning. Marital love, family love, friendship love--we call all that "love." And those kinds of love fail. Regularly and painfully.
The kind that never fails--the kind that I Corinthians 13 talks about--is Real Love. God's Love. (The Greek word is Agape.)
That Real Love is real, even in this real world. We don't have to worry about achieving it ourselves, because God does it without any help from us.
My heart and my flesh and my human love will fail me this year.
And when that happens, when my love fails, when all the love around me fails, God--and His Agape--is the strength of my life, my portion forever.