By Courtney Lee
Early in the quarantine, I donned some disposable gloves and a mask and went to Super Saver in the dark of the night to “stock up.” I just felt the need to protect my family’s stomachs in case of an apocalyptic event. The cart was very full and when I got home, I grabbed a plastic tub from the basement, filled it to the brim, and hid it in the garage as my secret pandemic emergency food stash.
We are a society obsessed with safety and security.
- Home security systems.
- App based video monitoring.
- Reflective gear.
- Infant oxygen crib monitors.
- School resource officers.
- Password protection.
- Cornea scanned entry.
- Stock piles.
- Safety goggles.
- Kid scissors.
- Furniture straps.
- Cabinet locks.
- Steel-toed boots.
- Nanny cams.
- Video doorbells.
- Tornado and fire drills.
- Checking body temps before entry is allowed.
One quick Amazon search of any of the previous list could lead us down the rabbit hole of protecting ourselves to the max and have it all shipped to our houses in the next two days! And in these uncertain and unprecedented times, it’s easy to justify added precautions and the “just in case” cart loads of items meant to calm our nerves and settle down the fear in our hearts.
Being protected is a core need in all of our lives.
But being protected is different than feeling protected.
We often go directly to the things that make us feel protected over trusting the One who is actually protecting us. A full freezer may make me feel protected, but I’m actually one power outage away from that particular safety net being gone forever. If my hope and trust is not actually in the omnipotent Savior, I will always live in a constant state of fear and anxiety.
This seventh verse of the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians transitions us from a list of adjectives about what love “is” and “is not” to a list of verbs about what love does. The first of these verbs is translated into English from the Greek in a variety of versions:
always protects (NIV),
never gives up (NLT),
bears all things (ESV).
The form of all/always is derived from the Greek word ‘panta’ which parallels verses 2-3 when Paul speaks of the spiritual gifts used in the body,
“If I can solve all mysteries . . .
If I have all knowledge . . .
If I have all faith . . .
If I give away all I possess . . .”
Then, in verse 7, he provides the counterpoint to verses 2-3, connected by the repetition of the word ‘panta’. Love . . .
Sure, there are lots of ways to describe and feel love but there are also ways in which love is an action word, the first of which in this list is protection. At the core of love is safety. It’s essential for love to work. Love always protects.
With any number of the things we can purchase on Amazon to secure our earthly life, we still aren’t guaranteed safety. We can feel safer, but it’s not until we put our trust in the protection of a sovereign God that we are truly protected.
The ultimate picture of protection is when Jesus took what pain was meant for us in our sin to the cross and stretched out his arms, covered us in his perfection and protection, and made a way for us to be in relationship with God for all eternity.
In this physical, earthly life, try as I might, I will never be able to guarantee protection for those I love. The best thing I could do is introduce them to the One who can.
Love is an action word and it always protects.