I had planned to start into chapter 14 today but the last line of chapter 13 which has never "bothered" me in my life has been bothering me the last few days. I had the sense there was more than I could see but couldn't figure out what it was. This morning I listened and went searching. Jesus said we will search for Him and find Him if/when we search with all our hearts. Here's what I found:
Up until today I read the verse to say that there are three important things, faith, hope, and love and of the three love is the greatest.
The Greek word translated abide or remain is a verb, an action word. It is actually the third word of the verse. It can mean, depending on the context - I remain, I abide, I stay, or I wait.
Now think about what Paul said that lead him to make this final statement which should (I believe) read like this: "Now moreover abide in hope, faith, and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love."
Remain in the hope that we will see Him face to face, that the childish darkness we live in now will give way to more and more of His glory and we will come to know Him as deeply and intimately as He knows us. Remain in the faith that all these things will come to pass for anyone who comes to God must believe that He Is, and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.
Now why remain in love and why is it the greatest of the three?
Remain in His love even as a child, fumbling in the dark, thinking we know when we don't, throwing tantrums when His ways are not our ways, frustrated because we can't see Him, can't understand Him, and it feels like we may never. Remain in His love when you make mistakes born from our blindness and immaturity. Remain in his love just a child who runs from home always returns because love draws them back.
Remain in His love that is always patient when we give Him countless reasons to lose patience, always kind when we are not. Perhaps the most staggering one for me is that God keeps no record of wrongs. Remain in His love.
I was always taught that there is a "book" that has all my sins and all your sins written down. There is. It's in the Bible. What I have since learned is that God is not the author of this "book". He keeps no such record. It is kept by the accuser of the brethren - Satan himself.
Love keeps no record.
Remain in that love, God's love. Hope can wobble because we wobble. Faith can flicker because we are fickle. But if our anchor of hope and faith is anchored in His unchanging and unchangeable love we have nothing to fear.
Love is the greatest for He is love and love wins.