"Love never gives up. Love cares for others more than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always 'me first', doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end."
~1 Corinthians 13:4-7
If agape love is the essence of God's nature, then it has to rejoice in the truth, because God is Truth. This agape love is so pure that it is a reflection of honesty at its deepest level. No wonder so many of us miss the mark! Who can say they have lived a perfectly honest and upright life? NOT ME! Past experiences reveal to me that when I fall short, the last thing I want is a beam of light exposing the truth about me. So I hide from it ~ even run. Who wants to be exposed like that? I certainly don't. But here's the thing ~ if I don't cooperate, I will never experience life on AGAPE Lane. Seems like a very high price to pay for secrecy. But there's more...this verse talks about "taking pleasure in the flowering of the truth". Can I actually take pleasure in coming clean?
Maybe the next line in the passage, "puts up with anything," is a key to help me get there. I think this tiny section can be taken way out of context. I don't see this as an excuse to become someone's doormat. I think it's part of the threshhold we have to cross on the bridge that leads to our Agape residence. If I have come clean and let God expose my ugly mistakes and sour attitudes to get me there, so be it. I am willing to "put up with" this in order to get to where I want to be. In fact, I can see that the things He allows in my life are all part of the process to nudge and equip me to get me safely to my new dwelling place. As I take this step of faith, what at first seems so humiliating actually becomes freeing. I can take pleasure in this, because I can see where it is taking me. And, I can "trust God completely", knowing He always has my best interests in mind.
I may not understand the "whys" in His methods, but I know Him well enough to know that He can be trusted. In fact, there is no one in the entire universe more trustworthy than God, my Guide. So, I grasp His hand a little tighter, nodd "okay", and let Him lead me gently down the path to Agape Lane.
"Trust in the dark, trust in the light, trust at night and trust in morning, and you will find that the faith which may begin by mighty effort, will end sooner or later by becoming the easy and natural habit of the soul."
~ Hannah Whitehall Smith