Jesus Taught We’re to Love One Another

Tom Holladay

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 (NLT)

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Relationships are painful. Relationships are wonderful. We all live in the drama that plays out between these two truths.

I think of Neal and Robin when I think of the drama of relationships. Married for only a few years, their life together had started strong. And then, with a suddenness that tore their world apart, Robin suffered a brain hemorrhage.

As I sat with Neal in the waiting room on the night it happened, we heard the doctor speak in hushed tones about high-risk surgery and low odds of success.

Even if Robin were to survive the surgery, she would likely be in a semiconscious state for the rest of her life. Neal’s immediate response was simple faith and sacrificial love. He believed that God had a plan even in this dire circumstance, and Neal was committed to love Robin, no matter what it would take.

Robin survived the surgery, and Neal kept his commitment to love. Day after day, he sat with Robin and spoke to her and nurtured her. Little by little, he loved her to unexpected restoration.

Robin learned to speak haltingly and began to be able to use her hands and arms again. She has even taken a few victorious steps on her own. Almost every weekend at church, there they are — Neal, a shining example of overcoming love, and Robin, a powerful example of overwhelming courage and faith.

Robin sometimes wonders just what she can accomplish for God in a wheelchair. The truth is, she speaks a life-changing sermon on the power of love by her mere presence.

Those who have been involved in Robin’s care see her life as a miracle. The greatest miracle, they say, isn’t in the healing (they’ve seen bodies healed before) but in the love.

This is the love of a couple who made the choice to continue to love, even in the most crushing of circumstances — Neal having chosen to practice sacrificial love in a marriage that wasn’t close to what he and Robin had dreamed it would be, and Robin having chosen to accept and return Neal’s love rather than allowing her own hurt to push him away.

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