Separation seems particularly cruel in times of suffering, as separation goes against human instinct to protect and comfort and it can exacerbate fear and anxiety. We are made for relationship with others. The sadness of being apart has made me reflect on the nature of love and in thinking of love, I naturally have thought about God.
The Bible speaks of the enduring, eternal nature of love in 1 Corinthians 13 with these beautiful words: ‘Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never ends.’
Love is not limited to time, or space. Nothing can contain love or divert it away from those in our hearts, not even death. As some suffer the pain of not being with ill relatives this does not dilute their love. As we have spent time apart from our loved ones because of lock down, this has in no way diminished our love for one another and friendships are not made less.
I have come to realise that the brokenness of the world is never overcome to the point of desolation because of the enduring beauty of God’s love. For those who are suffering physical, emotional and spiritual pain let us remember the perfect example of human and divine love when Jesus died for us on the cross. Jesus knows what it is to suffer; he knows what it is to give all of himself to the point of exhaustion; he knows what it is to experience separation from God; he knows what it is to experience death. If you are wondering about where God is in your personal and private pain, be assured that Jesus draws alongside us in our very place of weakness and fear and he speaks words of life and love over us.
As Psalm 23 puts it: ‘even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.’ Jesus weeps with us and holds our hand and this helps us cope.
We cannot fully understand suffering, and especially why some are healed whilst others die. And yet words from 1 Corinthians comfort us: ‘Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’
For those who are tired and finding things difficult I pray that you know the love of God at this time. We at Tadcaster Benefice are here to support you in prayer and acts of kindness. Do be in touch.