Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (NIV)
A new bride walks down the aisle. Through all the pomp and circumstance, she sees many of her dreams come true. The day is perfect and everyone enjoys the festivities. We move on to the honeymoon, a time of romance and relaxation. The couple returns home and begins their new life together. Sounds pretty wonderful to me.
I believe every young woman who gets married walks through those emotions as she "ties the knot". She believes that the love she and her new husband have will last a lifetime. I know I felt like that when I walked down the aisle at 25 years of age towards my first marriage. Life was full of wonder and excitement. Yet, life changed. It got harder and harder. As the years rolled by, the love that I saw for us as we walked down that aisle long ago changed dramatically. Without going into details, love had failed - in many different ways.
1 Corinthians 13 was read at my wedding. It was said in front of all those gathered - love never fails. Yet, thirteen years later, love had failed, in a very difficult way. I look back upon that time and I can remember talking with God and asking him, "You said 'Love Never Fails'. What happened?" over and over again. As I walked through that time in my life, it became clear to me. I'm not God and neither was my spouse at that time. Our love isn't perfect, our love does fail.
I love these verses together. After the bold statement of verse eight, Paul begins to share with us all the things that do fail. Prophecies will cease. Tongues will stop talking. Knowledge goes away. Prophesies, tongues and knowledge are things that we cannot know fully. There is no way anyone in the world can know everything, speak in all tongues and share what is to come fully.
There is only one that that is totally complete, the love of God. Our earthly love and the way that us humans look at love is never complete. Although we want to say that we love unconditionally, we all know that there are times when the unconditional love fails. We are sinners. It is impossible for us to achieve. Yet, it is God's love that is pure and sanctified. It is God's love that is complete. It is God's love that never fails. When we walk on the path of God's love, we experience what He has for us - our future, our hope, our dreams, our faith. On that path, we can feel God's love stir inside of us through the Holy Spirit. On that path, we find the peace of God's love.
May we, as Christians, bring God's love to all that we come in contact with. Understand that our love is not perfect and it may fail. With God, though, all things are possible and so is the love that will not fail.
Dearest Lord, help us to understand love through YOUR eyes. May we constantly realize that our imperfect selves will also fall short of the love that never fails. Yet, God, may we read Paul's words and understand that the parts of what we know will become full when we look at love through you - through you that, because you have loved us, gave your only Son as a ransom for many. In your name we pray, Amen.