A tended ember glows brightly

For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. (Song of Solomon 8:6-7)

"Love has no age, no limit; and no death." (John Galsworthy) When I was in Bible College, one of the professors asked us to take time to write down some ideas about what we believed love to be - actions of love, thoughts it evoked, and even the emotions it evoked. It was a pretty interesting lesson as all of us 'scholarly' students put forth our best effort to come up with the 'best' definition of love. As we shared our ideas in the classroom that day, I recall how each of us came up with some of the same 'pat answers', while others had gone much deeper, their answers revealing just how much they understood the depth and breadth of love. Love is a very 'strong' emotion that evokes even stronger actions. It was apparent to me that I had only touched the surface of understanding and exhibiting love. 

Love is as strong as death - enduring beyond the absence we say makes the heart yearn for it time and time again. It comes in starts and fits, lingers a bit at times, making us feel very special, and then we find we must move on a bit in our relationship in order to find new ways to explore its depths. No greater love than this - isn't that what God said about his son? No greater love than that a man lay down his life for another - ponder the determination and depth of commitment required for that one. It is indeed true - love endures when we don't think it will survive, grows when it seems like there is nothing but dryness all around, and it lingers long after the grave has called a loved one home.

Love is the brightest kind of flame. If you have ever looked at a flame closely, you see it flickers - kind of growing at times, then becoming a bit smaller at others. Human love is kind of like that flame - it grows, giving off a warm glow, then it ebbs a bit, requiring something to rejuvenate its glow once again. As we know, oxygen fuels the flame at the end of the candle - take it away and the flame will no longer burn. As the flame flickers and goes out, there is that tiny ember you can see glowing deep within the place where that flame had once been. That ember can be fanned again - bringing forth light once more. Just as human love needs a lot of 'tending', God's love needs a lot of 'rekindling' within our hearts because we have a tendency to ignore the flame until it nothing more than an ember. 

When we realize God's love no limit and no death, we also understand the 'embers' of his love will always be ready to be reignited when there is attention given to 'tending' that flame once again. Some of us need to 'tend the flame' a bit in our relationship with others and probably even within our relationship with God. God's love is a bright flame that can never go out, but sometimes the ember needs a bit of 'tending' in order for us to experience that brightness once again. Just sayin!

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