Sitting in the coffee shop, I hear the sound track of love coming from the speaker behind me. Or at least, the soundtrack of wedding receptions. Frank Sinatra is, “saying something stupid like I love you,” while Etta James, “wants a Sunday kind of love.” I confess I have a soft spot in my heart for these old love songs. They remind me of childhood dreams, and countless beautiful wedding receptions, where we celebrated the magic and wonder of love. Everything felt right and good, and we couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful.
But we were wrong. The real beauty of love shows up in the ugly moments of life.
When the phone rings, and the doctor delivers hard news.
When getting out of bed feels like a victory.
When you said the thing you shouldn’t have said.
When a heavy decision weighs down your hearts.
These are the moments when love shows off.
In a friend who sits in the silence and cries with you.
In a group text, where they’re all cheering you on.
In the words, “I forgive you.”
In the way the gravity pulls you closer to each other than you’ve ever been.
Maybe love is most beautiful in these places, because this is where it looks the most like God?
“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” 1 John 4:12
When we love each other like that, we’re not just doing something nice for someone. We’re literally bringing God’s love to full expression. It’s not our love. And it’s not something we have to try and muster up from our own inner resources, which are limited. It’s God’s love. The kind of love that can take the shockingly dissonant notes of our life, and turn them into the most beautiful symphony you’ve ever heard. Move over, Frank Sinatra.