Love often walks on gravel roads. I pulled this post out of the bottom of the pile today and reread it. I needed the reminder that loving and loving well is sometimes a hard gravel road to take. But worth all the dust that it can bring. I hope you are encouraged too!
It was a day like most days. I was heading into town to buy groceries and run a few errands for the family. On my way into town, I pass a church building which sits on my left. This particular church has a sign out front that someone always posts a question, a quote or a word of encouragement. I read it every time I pass by. It gives me something to ponder as I drive. On this particular day the sign read:
“Love Walks on Gravel Roads”
I must admit this quote made no sense to me when I first read it. What do you mean love walks on gravel roads? It rolled over and over in my mind as I went about my daily routine. I thought about what love looks like. I thought about gravel roads and what they looked like. Then it began to make sense to me.
I grew up when gravel roads were a thing. Where I live now you have to look hard to find them. Even in small towns, gravel roads are not as common as they were in times past. Most of the time when I think about them I think of breezes, swaying trees, babbling brooks you know roads that are tranquil and peaceful. Roads that take you away from the hustle and bustle of life. But on that road to peace and tranquility, a lot of dirt can be stirred up. When you are driving or riding in a car on a gravel dirt road looking behind you see a lot of dust. Dust stirred up by your car tires making contact with the road. This dust obscures your vision of the trees, the grass and those babbling brooks I spoke of earlier.
Using the analogy of gravel roads helps me understand that loving and loving well hurts.
Biblical Definition of Love
The Word of God defines love this way:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
As I thought about how the Bible defines love I realize that love, my love and the love of others is not always a reflection of God’s definition.
Love is much like a gravel road. It can get dirty, it hurts at times, and the journey is often a long hard one. When our lives make contact with someone else it can stir up a lot of dust. Our feelings get poked, jabbed and sometimes we bleed.
For me, it is easy to want to avoid gravel roads. Who wants to purposely get their feet dirty, who wants pain? Those little gravels hurt when you walk on them with bare feet. I do not know about you but I want to get to my destination quickly, and with as little obstacles as possible.
Sometimes the destination of love is a long hard walk. There are obstacles at every turn.
When I look at love, as defined in 1 Corinthians, I can see that I fall so short. I am not always patient, am sometimes arrogant and often want to brag. I do not always count it a joy to suffer and I too often meditate on offenses. If I know this about myself, then I must understand that the people around me, the ones I love the most, also struggle with some of the same issues concerning love.
Jesus Demonstrated Perfect Love
There was only One that loved perfectly and that was Jesus Christ. Even though He loved perfectly, He Himself walked a road of suffering. The love He gave came with a price. It cost Him His life!
Christ gave love, no matter the cost to Him. He gave it when many did not accept it and love Him back. He walked the gravel road of love with no concern for Himself. Christ’s motivation to sacrifice His life came from the love and Honor He had for His Father, and the love He had for mankind.
I hope these words have been an encouragement and a reminder of what it will cost to love our Church family, our family members, and friends. It has humbled me, convicted me of my ignoring and misunderstanding of what true love is and reminded me that:
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friend.” John 15:13
“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18
” Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11
” We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
“And we have this command from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:21
Love is worth the hard, messy work. Do you agree? Ask God today to open your eyes that you may see what the true destination of loving really is.