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)
Within this passage, there are so many descriptors of love that seem similar. A love that endures appears similar to love that is patient and love that bears and love that hopes. But there is a unique element to be found in love that endures all things.
Enduring Love Remains Under
Love that endures doesn’t give up. The word being used here, hupomeno/ὑπομένω, means “remaining under” or “to stay behind, to await, endure.” It is indicative of someone enduring through their surrounding circumstances (rather than acting in patience toward someone, such as in the phrase “love is patient,” which uses a different Greek word). It is a person who, because of love, willingly remains, standing firm, amidst a difficult situation.
I would be hesitant to label motherhood or parenting as an equivalent to suffering, but anyone who is a parent will inevitably go through seasons of suffering during which they experience suffering specific to their role as a parent. Whether it be a child’s brief sickness, the long term care of a special needs child, an inability to discern what is the matter with a child (physically, emotionally, or spiritually), or the heartache of a broken relationship with a child, the opportunities and range of possibilities to show enduring love will be numerous and sometimes seemingly endless.
Enduring Love Has Perspective, Strength, Contentment, and Commitment
As moms of little ones, love that endures may mean we are the steady love that walks our child through a difficult season, knowing it is just that–a season. It’s a love that has perspective. Enduring love may allow a mom to walk with strength knowing her disabled or terminally ill child will require many long years of love or paths that lead to unknown heartache. Enduring love allows a mother to realize that what she or others perceive as her child’s struggles may simply be part of natural or slower child development. And it endures, knowing that time often seems distorted while in the midst of a difficult season.
Moms of older children bear the perspective of having walked through the early years, and yet the challenges they face may feel like they are learning about a new child all over again. A mother with enduring love may realize what others perceive as her child’s disobedience or rebellion is simply a period of doubt or a desperate cry for their hurt. Others may ache to watch a child suffer pain that many twice their age have yet to know. And the love of the mother with love that endures continues well after a child leaves the home, and in many new ways a mother never knew her heart could love and ache before.
Enduring love loves without resentment. From teething, to tantrums, to teaching, to trials, and tumults, enduring love loves without resentment. Enduring love is committed to lifelong, enduring love–it realizes that parenting is a lifelong relationship, and that a mother with enduring love can walk alongside her child through both of their difficult seasons.
Enduring love trusts in God’s promises, and trusts with faith in God’s sovereign goodness where God makes no guarantees.
Enduring Love May Seem Mundane
And maybe sometimes, sometimes more often than we wish to believe, enduring love is simply living, simply being. When the voices all around us tell us that we are not enough to God if we aren’t living in Africa, or traveling on short-term mission trips to Haiti every year, or even serving in every church activity, enduring love remains under. Or when the voices tell use we aren’t valuable to this world if we aren’t bringing in an income worth recognition, establishing a career or recognition as a SAHM-entrepreneur, enduring love remains under what the voices tell us is mundane, boring, and not that important. The dishes, the diapers, the homework, the heart-to-heart talks late into the night. It’s there that love endures, too. It doesn’t take a hospital stay, or a tragedy, or even a trial worth posting about on Facebook–this enduring love sees hope and love and it endures, even when that enduring doesn’t seem noteworthy.
Enduring Love is God’s Working
Love is a fruit of the spirit, and enduring love is an out-working of this. It is God who works this fruit in us, and we can be confident that He will work through us to bring about this type of fruit in our lives (Phil 1:6).
At its core, enduring love is supernatural. It rests on a foundation of God’s goodness and sovereignty, and its outworking is selflessness, a dying to self. It can endure both difficult circumstances and difficult people. Enduring love may allow us simply to stand with strength through the unkindness, misunderstanding, and thoughtlessness of our children or others. Or it may allow us to walk through very physical trials alongside our children.
(Often, well-meaning teachers have encouraged those in abusive situations or medical situations to remain or to not ask questions. I do not see this as what this passage (or others) are teaching, nor do I think Scripture encourages us to never seek to or consider how we can change our circumstances. (I highlight this, particularly because of the unfortunate prevalence of such teaching.)
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