“Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
You’ve seen love between people fail. Sometimes terribly. The more experience you have with people, the less true 1 Corinthians 13:8 seems. Over the years I’ve had a lot of people ask me about this verse (often at weddings), because they’ve been through so much pain, so much of the opposite of love. I don’t have all the answers, but it’s been an essential revelation to me that the word for “fail” in this verse means to quit, to abandon. It’s even more important to understand this unfailing love lives, moves, and originates with God.
Love never fails because God is love (1 John 4:16), and he is eternal (John 1:1-5). His love is always, always available to you, no matter what you’ve gone through, or what you’re facing. No, it’s more than available—it’s continuously expressed to you in countless ways, if you’re open to see it. Even at the lowest points of my life, I’ve still experienced his unfailing love. In fact, sometimes that’s all I’ve known—that Jesus loves me, and I love him. It’s not a trite aphorism or religious affectation. This is my reset button, the truth I start over from when nothing else around me makes sense. It’s the grace to renew my mind, and restore my heart.
“Love never fails” doesn’t mean someone you love will receive it, and everything between you will be the way you want. It means God has more than enough love and grace for you to deal with the situation you’re facing, including the strength to love those who don’t return it. He is fully invested in your relationships and circumstances, and entirely committed to growing your identity as you walk with him through it all. Some days you know that, and it’s not that hard to do. But then there are days all you can hear is, “Trust me.” These are the most important of moments, when you decide who’s going to be in control, and how you’re going to view and relate to the world—through fear and bitterness, or love and grace.
Release fear, hopelessness, worry, offense, bitterness, self-pity, and self-righteousness from your heart and mind. Ask him to replace them with love, joy, peace, grace, kindness, hope, and a renewed faith and trust. Open your heart to him again. Listen. Stay here until you can feel the awe of his presence. Then say it out loud—not as a desperate wish, but as a declaration over your life:
“Love never fails.”