When everything else comes crashing down, these three remain. When you can hardly get yourself out of bed, these three imperceivable forces pull you up. When there is no future ahead of you, these three are the faint light in the distant darkness.
My life was only faith, hope, and love when I met Dave. There was nothing solid in my future. I really had resigned myself to the idea that my life was permanently limited by my illness.
There was a ghost named Natalie. She was once a girl with a bright future, a dose of intellect, and a ton of rambunctious dreams. She died at the hands of bipolar, and now she haunted a handful of places, and could automate just enough tasks that people might once in awhile remember that she was there.
Yet, even in this spirit space, there was faith, hope, and love.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13: 8-13
When the world melts and life ends, and every human endeavor becomes rubble and dust, love fails not. It rebirths hope and faith. Love is a constant and it is constantly productive.
Dave and I have had a very productive love. I wasn’t the only undead one entering into our relationship.
Dave had war stories, terror, and nightmares from a past that wouldn’t let him live, and a life that wouldn’t let him die. He operated in a paradigm where there was no hope for the future or faith that a better existence was planned for him. If I was a ghost, maybe Dave was a zombie!
Love brings hope for life, new life, glorified life. The gospel is a new life gospel, a resurrection hope, and a rebirth narrative. It begins with love, gives hope, and is a physically real, perfect substance called faith.
In December of last year, I wrote about the offer Jesus gives us of co-laboring with him in his passion, purpose, practices, and pleasantness. Jesus invites us to live his life with him. Like a bride does with her husband. I co-labor in life with Dave. It takes faith, hope, and love. It yields passion, purpose, family practices, and pleasantness.
It often amazes me that two people who were effectively dead, are now alive, living, and have brought a whole new living person into the world.
This is what co-laboring with the mentally ill does. You might not marry someone with a mental illness, but if you are yoked to Jesus in faith, hope, and love, can you co-labor with “a least of these” in passion, purpose, practices, and pleasantness, in order to reap with them a harvest of righteousness? And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:18.
Thank you, David, my husband, for co-laboring with me in faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is the love we share.