Sometimes words land heavy as they speak sharp truth, and I wrestle with how they touch the deepest part of me. I want them to have soft edges so I can skim over them and feel good as they roll off my tongue.
But today, the words “Hard Love” grab me and won’t let go. Because I know it’s true . . . this hard love.
Jesus didn’t die pretty. His love dripped red with pain and grace.
The romantic in me wants to imagine love is always sweet and pretty – glistening with diamond rings, heart-shaped boxes, and a dozen red roses. Holding hands on a sandy beach, whispering softly at a candle-lit dinner, or laughing silly at each other’s corny jokes.
Love can be those things.
But it is so much more.
Love takes you through the pain. It holds on tight even when the rest of the world lets go.
Love grips hard to the heart of the wife who stands with two young children beside the grave of her husband, taken way too early.
Love grips hard to the wrinkled hands of the elderly man who strokes the face of his bride of 60 years as he says his last goodbye.
Love grips hard to the courage of the twenty-five-year-old who receives the cancer diagnosis that rocks his world.
It settles deep when the bad news is more than we can bear.
And God knows . . . because He lived out love in the flesh, breathing it in and out for you and for me.
But I wrestle with this.
If God is love, then why can’t love heal this time? Why can’t love prevent that disease or accident?
If God’s love is perfect, then why can’t there always be perfect outcomes?
I wish there were some neat and tidy answers. But there’s not. So we simply have to trust that God’s love is much bigger than the moments we breathe in.
It is hard and determined, and it grieves deep and long.
Love doesn’t promise perfect stories, but it does promise strength in the midst of every sentence.
And while we wish it weren’t so messy, we know it transforms us. It triumphs in the ordinary and in pain.
Love is also unpredictable because it’s not always wrapped up pretty. Sometimes it comes in unexpected ways and looks entirely different than we imagined. It seeps into all our ugly, empty spaces and turns us inside out.
Love is hard. Yet we risk it over and over again because we know the God who holds us in the palms of His hands is the God who breathes love into every fiber of our being.
And even when it hurts, we know love is always worth it, because, in the midst of its grip, we are forever changed.
In His grace,
About the Author
Sherri Autrey resides in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She has been married to her husband, David, for 30 years, and they have two beautiful married daughters. She writes about inhaling God’s grace and stepping out in faith in her blog ‘Of Grace and Faith‘. Sherri encourages women to live out their God-given dreams and journey into a life of purpose as they inhale God’s grace and step out in faith. You’re invited to join her over at her blog ‘Of Grace and Faith‘ and also on social media via Facebook | Instagram |