PASTOR'S PEN: Time-tested love

Last week I had the privilege of viewing Nancy Reagan’s funeral on television. It was a unique experience to hear the various speaker’s encounters with her and former President Reagan. They showed many pictures of the two of them together. Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney even read a Christmas letter written in 1981 from President Ronald Reagan to his wife Nancy. He apparently wrote her quite regularly, even hiding notes around the White House living quarters for her to find. Their adoration and love for one another was obvious to those around them.

As I listened to those many love stories of President and Nancy Reagan, I wondered if such love still existed. Do people still have that same passion for one another — one that lasts a lifetime and is evident through the years? It seems that 'love' is a throw-away term in many instances. We love hamburgers, a political candidate, a movie, a cat video and occasionally a person, at least for a nominal amount of time. But do we truly love or is that type of love a thing of the past? If so, can it be recovered?

I think true love does exist, though, perhaps, rarely. I also think we can all have it, though it will require work. In the early 1990s, DC Talk came out with a song entitled "Love is a Verb."  I think that is an accurate statement. Love isn’t just spoken words. 1 John 3:17-18 says this, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth." (emphasis added) Love isn’t just something we say, but is something we live out and is proven over time.

In Ephesians 5, when Paul is talking about husbands and wives, he says this, "…husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies." If love is like loving your own body then you will want to do what is best for it. You want to care for it and you want to honor it. If a husband does this for his wife it would probably look something like the description given regarding the marriage of President and Nancy Reagan. He desired to be with her. He cared for her. He left her messages. She, in turn, watched over him. She cared for him. She desired to be near him. And they made the effort to show that love toward one another.

If you want a marriage that lasts then it must include love, not just the kind of love that is pure emotion and fades with feeling; but the kind of love that involves work, takes time and lasts through all the joys and sorrows life will bring. Real love is possible in your life if you are willing to pay the price to achieve it. The question is, "Are you willing to make the sacrifice for true love?"