Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Faithful" Is Forever (TOTB Part VIII)

TOTB Resources; TOTB Intro; TOTB Part I; TOTB Part II; TOTB Part III; TOTB Part IV; TOTB Part V; TOTB Part VI; TOTB Part VII

Of all the descriptors that Pope John Paul II used to characterize the love of God for humanity, my favorite is faithful. Saint Paul, in his second letter to Timothy, writes, "Though we are faithless, He remains faithful." Thank God that there is no fairness to His faithfulness! Nowhere is this more strikingly illustrated than in the life of Hosea, the prophet who was told of God to marry the prostitute, Gomer. When Gomer leaves Hosea and commits adultery against Hosea, the Lord says, "Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them."

Faithful love is a love with no circumstantial dependency. It is a devoted love for all time. It is a passionate love against all odds. It is a love without end.

I have always loved to watch older couples who have weaved their lives together with the strands of faithful love. Yesterday as I sat on a hill overlooking the Hudson, an older couple, both heads of hair fully gray, settled into a bench down the hill from me. His hands were always around her, she could not stop gazing into his eyes, she was delighted with his kisses, he was enthralled with her beauty; nothing rivaled the flame of their passion. I was so grateful for this encouraging reminder that faithful love is attainable and possible, and yet I couldn't help but sadly wonder, "How is it that so few couples make it to this most enviable end?"

I can't answer this question completely. I know that faithful love is a love that is rooted in commitment and is determined to weather the storms of life no matter what. But I don't think that's all. It is certainly possible to retain the outward symbolism of a married commitment, losing the strong friendship that is at its heart. A faithful love must seek more than just fidelity, a faithful love must seek the core of truly passionate relationship. Certainly when God's faithful love seeks us in spite of our abandon of Him, He seeks us not out of obligation, but out of passion.

I do know this - being loved faithfully is by far one of the most awesome and humbling gifts I have ever been given. I am so grateful and thankful to know the faithful commitment of my man in Kansas, who, for the past two years, though we have been apart, has written me letter after letter and card after card and sent me picture after picture to just remind me that he is so, so faithfully waiting for me. Adam's faithfulness is a tremendous gift to receive; it speaks deeply to me of the constant love and pursuit of God for His people across all time and in all places.

Herein lies our call to evangelization - to love faithfully. To give and receive love is part of the craving of our very humanness. Pope John Paul II said, "God comes to us in the things we know best, and can verify most easily, the things of our everyday life, apart from which we cannot understand ourselves." We can all recognize and verify faithful love. It is a Providential gift, and as such, is one of our most effective means of displaying the nature of God to the world.