The Apostle John declares …God is love. (1 John 4:8). If that statement is true, which I believe unequivocally it is, then 1 Corinthians 13:6 could read,
God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
There’s no doubt about it. We live in a world filled with much evil and pain.
Theological debates over God’s role in the suffering of humankind have raged for millennia and is not the discussion today. Instead, during this time when we’ve been exploring several verses from the Bible’s ‘love chapter,’ I’d like to say, my firm belief and personal experience are that while God never initiates pain and suffering, God’s mercy and grace can recycle it for a very good purpose.
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus illustrate that truth like no other. My friend, JC’s, story also testifies to the veracity of 1 Corinthians 13:6.
I met JC when I went to Spain on an educational pilgrimage in 2018. A fellow pilgrim, she became a sister-of-the heart. I was delighted to learn JC was also going to be a student in the same Spiritual Direction program I began in September 2019.
After being named first runner-up in a state Miss America pageant, JC became a grooming consultant for Pageant contestants and successful business owner. Now in her middle-age years, JC continues to exude panache and is what I’d call a “woman of influence—” poised, articulate, generous, kind spirited, and a true friend to many.
Despite numerous good gifts, JC has experienced great loss, pain, and suffering in the past few years: bankruptcy; the death of her beloved strong, body-builder husband following a short and brutal bought of cancer; followed almost immediately with her own debilitating fight with the dreaded “C” word.
Following our trip to Spain, JC spent a year in Europe teaching music in an International Christian school. During a break in October, she went to Paris. While there, JC walked alone across Love Lock Bridge. She said, “I felt sad not having anyone to share the beautiful city and sidewalk cafés with. Life’s experiences are much more enjoyable when they are shared with a friend or companion.”
During this season of being alone, JC began working with a Spiritual Director. “Even though I know I am fully capable of walking alone, I discovered on that bridge in Paris I desire companionship.” In her relationship with a Spiritual Director, JC found unconditional love and companionship that revealed Christ’s love and helped her discover who God is and what God’s next step was for her.
“Recalling the emotions of that walk alone is what drew me to see the value of Spiritual Direction and developed the desire within me to be there for others.” JC is quick to point out, “A spiritual director doesn’t take the place of Christ, but the director is desiring with every moment and prayer to be pointing a person to see Christ’s love even in life’s darkest days.”
With a twinkle in her eye, JC relates, “Six months later I returned to Love Lock Bridge with my personalized padlock on which I had hand-written JC loves JC. I attached the lock to the bridge and tossed the keys into the Seine River. I am still alone, but I am not alone because I have Christ and a Spiritual Director.”
JC has experienced 1 Corinthians 13:6 first-hand. Even though she has faced deep pain and suffering, she knows God did not delight in the forces of evil she experienced. Furthermore, she walks with joy in this truth:
God is love!
My prayer for each of us:
God Who is Love,
Please help each of us walk in this amazing truth JC has discovered.