Love conquers all when we activate it.
The love of God is all around us. His love is always available. Love cancels out fear, dispels darkness, binds up wounds, breaks chains. Love is what we all crave, even though we can go about seeking it in odd ways at times.
Often we pray for changed hearts and minds, healing without taking actions to demonstrate our faith.
As my dad’s cancer and strife amidst our family, long smoldering, took off like a prairie fire, I prayed for a humbling in every heart, starting with my own. I prayed for God to show mercy and give comfort and peace to him. For weeks, I’d often just sit in a prayerful position unsure of how to pray due to my own pain and confusion around everything taking place.
It seemed his life was quickly coming to an end yet my prayers went unanswered. I came at God in frustration saying, “The darkness keeps winning battle after battle through broken people playing broken games, the disease, and even my own growing doubt.”
I prayed, “God, where are you? Let light win the war.”
Time was running out fast, much faster than predicted by doctors or expected by any of us. A mess of anger, hurt, frustration, and pure sadness had me in a corner. It seemed peace, sleep, and basic focus would never return.
I reached out to my brother, sister-in-law, and mother to ask that they join me in requesting some time in Dad’s hospital room, just us. By this stage, he was coherent but mostly lying with eyes closed, semi-conscious to endure the horrible effects of his disease uncontrolled in spite of many medications.
We showed up with his beloved seven-year-old grand daughter and our Bibles. We took turns reading favorite scripture out loud. We sang songs beginning with Jesus Loves Me. He shaped the words with his lips. We sang It Is Well With My Soul and Amazing Grace. We began speaking from our hearts about how much we loved him no matter what had happened in the past or what might yet happen. We spoke of heaven and who might be there hoping to see him.
He opened his eyes. He asked to set upright. He talked with us in a sweet way. My sister-in-law asked if he’d be willing to pray the sinner’s prayer with us and he agreed. We all held hands surrounding him in his hospital bed. She went through the most important story anyone will ever possibly hear point-by-point.
Jesus was born of a virgin, lived as an unassuming man without wealth, position, or even a place to live yet sinless. He was persecuted. He was falsely accused and arrested, beaten and hung on a cross to die. He rose again three days later to conquer sin and death so those of us who will accept his sacrifice and position as savior of the world might live forever in a place called heaven with him, God the father, heavenly angels, and every saint past, present, and future.
A light and energy filled the room. The heavy, oppressive feeling of prior days left. For the next hour we played cards and laughed and talked. We enjoyed our life together and the Holy Spirt was with us all.
Experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit is a high like nothing this world can produce. There’s a peace and joy you’ll never get enough of, and I know it is but a taste of what heaven will be like. We left that night knowing that the war was won by light not darkness.
Love conquered because we showed up with hope and prayers, but more than that, we showed up with the implements of love. We brought the word of God, we invoked the power of Jesus through prayer, and we shared our hope and faith. But as 1 Corinthians 13:13 says the greatest of these is love.
Our dad felt the love of God through us and by His very Holy presence filling that room. We all felt it and it carried us through the next difficult ten days from his death to burial. And we know that it is God’s spirt that will continue to carry us through our remaining days if we will activate our faith through trust in Him.