Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (ESV)
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (NIV)
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (KJV)
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (NAS)
Most of us with a little theological training under our belt are aware that hope means “confident expectation,” rather than a hit-and-miss, “I sure hope it doesn’t rain tonight” type of belief. Even so, this “hopes all things” passage of 1 Corinthians 13 is one that could potentially leave us baffled. It seems, however, that the confident expectation that love has is similar to love believes all things.
A Love that Hopes Allows Us to Parent Courageously and Confidently.
In parenting, I have a confident expectation — a hope — in the promises of God as they relate to my children and myself. God has not promised that our children will turn out perfectly or even that if we follow a certain formula then we’ll get a certain product in return. (Though, of course, we must simultaneously take into account the principles of sowing and reaping, and the fact that certain situations do, in general, bring about certain results.)
For mothers of only young children, in particular, it is so easy to get caught up in the time-consuming daily rhythms that we begin to think that now is all there is for ourselves and for our children. We often go through seasons of life that seem to break us under the emotional and physical load. Seasons can be hard because they seem all-consuming and we often fall into viewing our circumstances and lives through recency bias. But seasons are just that — seasons. In the midst of such seasons, we often forget that it is not always winter; spring is coming.
If our children are believers, we can have hope and be confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in our children will be faithful to continue that work until the day of Jesus Christ (paraphrase of Philippians 1:6). Along the way, God may use seasons of doubt and seasons of struggle, but in the macroscopic view of things, God is working. Others of us may view our children through a more covenant-theology framework that views God’s placing them into our families as His merciful act of placing them into a household of faith. Still more of us with very young children take faith that God will answer our frequent prayers for God to redeem the hearts of our children so that one day they will also be our brothers and sisters in the faith.
A Hopeful Love Takes a Long View of Parenting
“Hope,” by its very nature suggests a future referent — something that will come or will happen. For example, we talk about our “hope of heaven.” Heaven is something that’s going to happen in the future. In the context of love, such hope looks ahead to our children’s future. Such love can look beyond the dirty diaper, the spilled milk, the temper tantrum, or the rainy day to see, to hope, and to be patient for the future.
Much of what we’ve thought about in regards to love has to do with the here and now of parenting. This angle of love pushes the boundaries farther than we could have ever thought possible. Our love is the kind that anticipates the future, too.
It is very refreshing take this long view of parenting. After all, once we become parents, we have that responsibility for the rest of our children’s lives, which is likely the rest of our lives, too. A hopeful kind of love settles in for the long and eventful journey of life.
A Hopeful Love Takes an Optimistic View of Parenting
The word hope is a positive word. When we talk about “hope,” we are talking about something to get excited about and to rejoice over. Let’s take this “hope” idea of love into parenting for a moment.
It seems common and even popular to take a pessimistic view of parenting. Popular articles and books talk about the horrors, the agony, the exhaustion, and the misery of parenting. Books that have to do with worn-out-weary-desperate moms are the bestsellers. Why? Because it’s all true — parenting is tough. While in previous eras, sometimes it was considered unhealthy to be open about struggles, today’s pendulum-swing reaction to that sometimes goes beyond and enjoys a bit of wallowing and gut-spilling.
We need to hear the positive side, too — the optimism. Parenting is glorious. In all its faults, messes, mistakes, and miseries, it’s glorious. (In fact, it’s partly the mess and struggle that make it so beautiful!) We have a part in raising the next generation. We model Jesus love as we interact with our children. We enjoy the heritage and gifts that God has given us. This is something to be hopeful about! This isn’t about hoping for the end of the day so we can put our feet up and surf Facebook. That’s could be a great moment to rest, of course, but this is a deeper hope — a hope that lovingly expects more than misery out of parenting.
Perhaps this loving hope is what we need to turn the tide of pessimism into an tsunami of optimism (and not just a plaster-a-smile-over-your-sad-heart type of emotionless happiness). Parenting is awesome, in the grandest and most glorious sense of that word. Let’s embrace it in loving hope.
When we hear about love enduring all things, something within us responds. “Yeah, this parenting thing is tough. We’ve got to push through! We’ll be strong!” True. But when we hear, “love hopes all things,” it’s a bit harder to wrap our minds around. We aren’t strong enough, but God’s promises can bear the weight of some of our most challenging moments and days. Perhaps the simplest way to understand it is to realize that, whatever is happening right now, we can smile at the future. Love hopes all things.
I love the words of the song, In Christ Alone, that say it so beautifully, “From life’s first cry, to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny!” I’m reminded that He controls my child’s, too!
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
What a promise!
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