Tuesday 9th May, 2023
Love bears up under pressure.
I used to think this meant I always had to be the strong one. If I love someone I will bear their burdens, I will hold up, I will not crumble.
When my husband was losing his temper because of I would bear with him, I would tolerate, in fact, I would make it better.
Some translations use the word “protects” because the original greek means more than to carry a burden, it means to protect or to shelter in times of a storm. It’s reminiscent of the way God is portrayed in the psalms “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea” (Ps. 46:1–2)
For some reason though it never dawned on me that I should expect my husband to be a refuge, a place of safety and protection for me.
God is our protector, God is with us in times of trouble, and whilst the bible tells us to “bear with one another in love” (Galatians 6:2) it doesn’t tell us to carry someone else’s burdens alone.
We bear with each other. We carry each others burdens, together, because “two are better than one, for if either of them falls, one can help the other up” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. Love bearing all things does not mean that one person must become an emotional punching bag for the other, it means that in love we weather storms together, we are inter-dependant, we are all connected.
A similar word is used in Genesis to describe Eve, God says “it is not good for man to be alone, I will make an “ezer” for him”. Whilst the word “bear” from 1 Corinthians 13 is the same as the words for “refuge and strength” in the psalm above, the word “ezer” is the same as the words “a very present help.” God recognised that one human being would not manage on his own, so he created another to bear his burdens with him, an equal partner to hold up and protect. That is what love does. It recognises that we need one another, it recognises our mutual needs, our mutual humanity, our mutual weakness. We can only “bear with one another” if we are honest about this, honest when we need help, honest when we fail, love does not require strength, it requires vulnerability.