It came fairly late in the day and caught me completely by surprise. I received a note from a very dear friend asking me for my phone number. Someone wanted to call me. I sent my number and within a few minutes my phone rang — actually it didn't ring, it played a tune. The voice from miles away said, "Hang on my Dad wants to talk to you."
His voice was slow and deliberate due to a stroke he suffered about eighteen months ago. He could not say much. But, hearing his voice was enough to transport me back through the years with tears in my eyes.
You see we once spent a considerable amount of time together. During a very important time in my life his family became part of my extended family. His home became my home away from home. He was a mentor. He would become one of the most powerful influences in my life.
Then, stuff happened. Things changed. Our lives went in different directions. Conversations and visits became less frequent and eventually pretty much non-existent. Not because angry words were shared, not because of an argument, and not because our love for one another ceased. Just life.
With the sound of his voice all those years of no communication were erased and we were talking again. Our friendship seemed as strong as ever. The closeness returned over a 3G network.
How is that possible? How is it that relationships that have lost connection for years can suddenly with one very brief telephone conversation be re-connected as if there had never been a break? What is it that creates a bond between two human beings that can never be broken, no matter what happens, no matter what changes, no matter what?
There's only one explanation. It is God's love. It is the love God has for us, and the love God places in our hearts that enables us to love others and to receive love from other people. Notice how John describes it:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:7-21 NIV).
I'm grateful for my call.