Love Allows Agony
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13 KJV)
"...when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet, think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you!" ---Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities
Love in its truest form allows agony. If you ever truly love anyone or anything in your life, it will grant you both overwhelming joy and overwhelming agony. Love is always coupled with pain. Love is the greatest risk you can ever take, for to truly love another you have to risk everything in complete surrender and abandon. Otherwise it is just superficial love, easily chipped off the block of marble and discarded, never having been part of the true sculpture itself.
If you have been an imperfect parent, you know what it is to truly love. You have known the joy of your child's laughter, you have rubbed their head and held their hand when they were sick, or afraid, or just needed you near. You also know that at some point your imperfections will clash with their seeming perfection and you will know pain that you thought your heart could not bear. They will leave, go silent, speak badly of you to your face or behind your back; and your heart will break; and all the while you love them.
If you have been an imperfect person who has truly loved another imperfect person, you know what it is to love. You have known the joy of laying your head on their chest and feeling like you are 'home,' you have held their hand and let them hold your heart, you have poured yourself out until there is nothing left to pour. If you have lived long enough, you also know what it is to feel the agony of losing the love of your life either to death or to decision, you know the pain of loving someone who no longer loves you, you know the pain of loving another with your whole heart only to discover you only truly had about half of theirs, you know the pain of seeing what you thought your eyes would never see and breaking in ways you thought your heart would never break; and all the while you love them.
If you have ever been loved with the unconditional love of a beloved pet, you have known true love. You have played with them, had them be there when no one else was, had them snuggle up next to you and just love you no matter what. You have also felt the gut-wrenching pain of having to let them go due to age or illness. You have felt the pain of their absence.
The truest love of all also comes with agony. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8) His overwhelming love for us caused Him overwhelming agony; He came and died for us while were were still a mess.
He is a perfect parent who has loved His children perfectly, yet we still leave, go silent, speak badly of Him to His face or behind His back; and all the while He loves us. He is the perfect Husband, Lover, and Friend, yet we still fall out of love with Him, give Him half of our hearts, cause Him to see things He never thought He would see, and we break His heart in ways He never thought it would break; and all the while He loves us...
Love Allows Agony.
Agony is the place where we truly learn to love. It's in the surrender, in the letting go, in the places of our deepest pain that we can say we have truly loved. If you want to see love, really see it...gaze at the Cross; for in His agony we behold our own humanity; in His suffering we behold unconditional sacrifice, unconditional love...
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
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