The Capacity To Love
'... the fruit of the spirit is love ...' (Galatians 5:22).
When I was 19 I went to Australia for just under a month. I had an incredibly busy schedule but as the phrase goes ‘All roads lead to Rome’ or in my case, ‘All roads lead to the shopping centre.’ I came across a t-shirt with a phrase that caught my eye 'The Capacity to Love in the Face of the Unexpected'. There was something about that phrase that has stuck with me years later after reading it in the back of a store somewhere in Brisbane.
The definition of ‘capacity’ is ‘The ability or power to do, experience, or understand something’ and the definition of unexpected is ‘Not regarded likely to happen.’ So that phrase effectively means: The power to understand something that wasn't meant to happen, to accept something that you never planned for and furthermore, to be patient, to trust, to forgive, to not be easily angered by that situation - because that's what love means: To always hope and always persevere - without fail.
What a juxtaposition.
But how challenging ... and how beautiful.
We can all relate to going through hard times: The complexity of relationships, work issues or financial difficulties that we never planned for. When I was 18 I remember going through absolute heartache and, unable to sleep in the early hours of an idle Thursday morning, I got my journal and began to write ‘God, would you do something beautiful in my life?’ I was so broken all I wanted to feel was love from my Heavenly Father. Years later when I was moving house and had the hassle of going through a box of old books and photos, I found a journal from a broken hearted teenager asking God to do something beautiful in her life. Reading it again I heard God say to me ‘In order for you to have seen the beauty you had to recognise the ugly.’ Proverbs 16 says ‘In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps’ (Proverbs 16:9). God removed me from a broken relationship and took me on the course He was planning for me. That's the beauty that I was longing for.
Sometimes God gives us what we think we want in order to show us what we truly need.
When you find yourself in the midst of situation that you never planned for, a situation where you feel totally weak, have the knowledge that God's power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). That's how we have the capacity to love, not in our strength but in our Heavenly Father's. Love is having grace for other people and yourself, it's submission and sacrifice and it's having the peace that passes all understanding that God is in control (Philippians 4:7).
The Bible says ‘The fruit of the spirit is love.’ Let love reign and trust God that as you plan your course, He will determine your steps (Galatians 5:22). Fruit is something that grows, becomes more delicious and enjoyable when it's been through rain, sunshine and care from the person who planted it. As you grow in God, as you go through ‘rainy’ seasons and recover in the summer seasons, let the fruit you produce be love.