Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Friday, October 24

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
—1 Corinthians 13:7

Sequence is the key to coherence. First we do this, and then we do that. Run a wire between three posts and you have a fence. Link seven stars in the fall sky and you have a constellation, the constellation has a story, the story has a precedent and the precedent has meaning. It all begins with sequence.

And so, when there is a sequence within a verse of scripture, I try to listen carefully to what is being said as one word connects with its neighbors. There are few verses that compare with 1 Corinthians 13:7 when it comes to sequence and its world of meaning.

Love bears all things. This is good, we say to ourselves, but is it true? What happens when a burden is too great to bear? What happens if we break?

The verse goes on to answer our somewhat fearful question: Love believes all things. Yes, if and when the burden is too great, we turn to believe. We believe that we are going make it, that after a rest, perhaps, the journey will continue. And then, if the reliance on belief begins to run thin, we turn to hope.

Love hopes all things. Whereas belief tends to depend on circumstance, hope has the capacity to transcend circumstance. It is hope that sees us through. Whereas we do not live in belief, and beliefs can be misguided, we do live in hope.

Hope, however, tends to ebb and flow in all of our lives. When it is missing, we trust that it will return, and that when we find it again, life itself will return. In the meantime we must endure. I think of endurance as courageous waiting. Endurance does not allow us to quit. it does not complain (too much) or whine (much at all). Endurance has staying power.

And so, we find a sequence in this verse about love which teaches us to bear, believe, hope and endure as we connect with both God and our neighbors. It is a good thing to be in the sequence of love.

Gracious God, Jesus said that you are Love. Show us then how to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things that your presence may be known on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus' name, Amen.