“Do you know what hurts so very much? It’s love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked, that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill the love so that it stops hurting…but then of course part of us dies too. Or we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel…If you ask Him, He will give you His love…a love nothing can prevent, nothing destroy. Whenever we cannot love in the old, human way, God can give us the perfect way.” The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom
I just read through The Hiding Place, in itself a beautiful story of courage, forgiveness, and love. One part of the book stood out to me; it was not about Corrie ten Boom’s efforts during the Second World War or her time in prisons and work camps. This was something that occurred when she was a young adult.
She had been in love with a young man, from the time she was just 14 years old. Their relationship grew and developed and she hoped that they would marry. Then one day, when she was happiest, she heard from her older brother that this man would not be able to ask her to marry him; he had to “marry well” as was common in those days, and Corrie’s family did not fall under the well-to-do category.
The quote above was spoken to Corrie by her father, on the day that the object of Corrie’s affection appeared, without warning, with his new fiancée at his side. Corrie’s family entertained them, served them tea, wished them well; once they had departed though, she ran to her room to let out the well of tears that had gathered as she watched her dreams swiftly dashed to pieces.
The Bible speaks of a “perfect love,” one that “casts out fear”. For those of us who have fears, sometimes a lot of them, it is hard to imagine such a “perfect love”. What if something happens? What if circumstances change? What if there’s an accident? What if I lose that which I hold most dear? There are a thousand what if’s and fears that can hold us back from loving and accepting love in return.
When we truly realize that there is a “perfect love” and a “perfect way” to love, as the book speaks of, then those fears can dissolve. When we see that God has a perfect plan, and that His way is perfect, then there is no such thing as loss, for everything is in His hands. With nothing to lose, there is no fear—only a promise of grace through the difficulty, a promise of hope for the future, and an assurance of love that lasts forever—perfect love.