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Getting to the bottom of love


The Life Less Traveled


February 08, 2012
As soon as I got out of the car, I knew I was in trouble. I felt a cool breeze on the seat of my pants. Uh-oh, I thought, ripped jeans. I reached back to see how bad it was but couldn't find any hole. No breaches in my britches. No rips, no tears, nothing. I thought I must be imagining things.

A normal person would probably have investigated further, but I was in a hurry. I had a boatload of work to do, so I shrugged it off and ran into the café. I had my laptop and only a couple of hours to knock out a serious amount of writing. By the time I'd found a table and set up my stuff, I'd forgotten all about my little problem.

Then, I went up to order a drink. At the counter. In front of every customer in the place. That's when I noticed that pesky breeze again. Not good. I casually investigated, pretending to reach for my wallet, but still couldn't feel a thing.

Despite my lack of evidence, I couldn't escape the sneaking suspicion that something had gone terribly wrong south of the border. A quick trip to the rest room confirmed my worst fears: a five-inch rip right down the rear of my jeans. Five inches! Think Grand Canyon in denim. Now, what was I supposed to do?

If I'd been 4, I would have yelled for my mom. At 40, I called my wife. "Uh, honey, I have a situation." She wasn't surprised. I always have a situation. Fifteen minutes later, though, she came to my rescue with a new pair of pants.

It made me think about how the Bible says that love never fails. Of course, my wife was going to come bail me out. That's what we do. It didn't matter that she had her hands full with a 3-year-old to drop off at preschool and a job to get to soon after that. When one of us is stuck, the other comes to the rescue. Even in the most embarrassing situations in life, that's what love does.

Around Valentine's Day every year, we hear a lot of talk about what we call love, but usually it's not love at all. It's selfish infatuation. It's all about how you make me feel or what you can do for me. We talk about falling in love, falling out of love and losing that loving feeling. But the fact is, you can't lose real love. You don't fall into it. You don't fall out of it. You choose it.

That's why love never fails. It's based on a choice, not a feeling. The choice to love is to choose to be committed to the good of the person you love no matter what bone-headed thing they do. Sure, feelings of passion and affection come along for the ride, but sometimes they dry up. Love, however, keeps on going.

When I was at my worst, God chose to love me; and trust me, he's seen it all. He was there in my greatest moments, and He was there in my lowest.

If you think standing in a restaurant showing off your backside is humiliating, imagine how it feels to stand before a perfect God with all of your life fully exposed before Him.

And, yet, instead of condemning me, God came to my rescue. He covered my shame. He gave me new clothes. That's what love does. It rescues. It bails us out. No matter what we've done or where we've been, love never fails.

God's love never fails because God never fails, and He is committed to you.

Maybe instead of sending someone a Valentine's Day card this year, a better way to celebrate would be to show them some good old-fashioned selfless love. Forgive someone who doesn't deserve it. Overlook an embarrassing mistake. Come to someone's rescue who would otherwise be hopelessly up a creek without you.

And if you see a guy in a coffee shop with the seat ripped out of his pants, pretend like you didn't. I'm sure his wife will thank you later.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more, visit www.jasonbyerly.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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