Love Stories

Love Stories . . .

By Sharon Sheppard

 

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about love.

I suppose it started around Valentine’s Day when lovers of all ages came out of the woodwork, and the media reported romantic accounts of lovers who met young, married someone else, then later, when widowed or divorced, found each other and fell in love all over again.

And there were heart-warming stories of extraordinarily long marriages, sacrificial love–the works.

On a personal level, Valentine’s Day tends to bring pangs of missing the only man I ever dated—the one I married young and would marry again in a minute, given the chance.  The one I lost after his extended battle with cancer—a rollercoaster of pain and hope: chemo, stem cell transplant, dialysis.

So I’ve recently been reflecting on many kinds of love—between parents and children, siblings, and dear friends.  I think about people donating their kidneys, sometimes to strangers.  I think about the response of those good-hearted police officers in California where some Girls Scouts were robbed at gunpoint while selling cookies outside a supermarket.  Local officers showed up and bought all the rest of their cookies and donated $1,000.

I cherish the memories of the warm and loving marriage my parents modeled as I was growing up.  My mother was in her fifties and a patient at the University Hospital in Minneapolis, where she struggled with serious health issues.  My dad had to work during the week, but he would drive down from Northern Minnesota to visit her on the weekends.

“When your dad walks into the room,” my mother said, “He makes the sun to shine.”

When my sister-in-law, Marlene Moser, was caring for her elderly parents, who were well into their nineties, she told me of going to their new assisted-living apartment to see how she could make them more comfortable.  She rearranged the furniture, placing a small table between their recliners so they would have a place to set their coffee cups while they watched TV.

But when Marlene returned for her next visit, the couple, who had been married 70-plus years, had rearranged the furniture to their own liking.

“We moved the table,” her mother said, “because it’s too hard for us to hold hands with that table between us.”

But as precious as these stories are, there is a love that far exceeds any other.

Lent began on March 1, and as I ponder Good Friday, yet to come, to be followed by Easter Sunday on April 16, my mind is awash with a different kind of love—the Greatest Love Story Ever Told.

The sacrifice of God’s only Son to atone for our sins was an act of love so immense that it stuns me.  And it was so willingly bestowed that I can’t begin to comprehend it.

Never were gift recipients so undeserving. 

Never has the cost of any sacrifice been this lavish. 

Never have the eternal consequences been more monumental.

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!” Romans 5:8

 

I cherish this costly act of Love that made it possible for us sinners

(that’s ALL of us!) to have the chance to approach a holy God and take

Him up on His offer of salvation through faith.

This is the ultimate HOPE FOR THE JOURNEY.