When we feel we have been hurt by people, it is easy to choose to guard our hearts from giving out love—from taking the risk that comes with loving imperfect people. In contrast to that response to pain, while studying for a current series in I Corinthians 13, I came across a great quote from C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves:
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it up carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. (C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves [Orlando: Harcourt, 1988]: 120; orig. 1960).
Below is my endorsement of Michael Haykin‘s, The Christian Lover: The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers (Reformation Trust, 2009). I encourage you to get a copy.
“The Christian Lover portrays some of our most revered historical personalities as men of deep marital love. Haykin’s work enhances (rather than diminishes!) the pictures we have of them as towering scholars, faithful pastors, pioneering missionaries, and bold martyrs. This epistolary anthology of the Puritan and Reformed divines’ marital love may serve as a great buttress to the continued testimony of the goodness of marriage as the Creator’s provision for a companionship of joy in the highest order. May all in the church who read these accounts of love be awakened to the passionate pursuit of the lifelong, unbreakable, satisfying relationship every marriage should be. My heart was stirred more with each letter!”
In a Business Meeting on October 23, 2008, Hillcrest Baptist Church voted, by simple majority, to accept my resignation, ending my tenure at seven years as their pastor, with a final date of service on January 14, 2009. I part from Hillcrest lovingly, without any animosity, acrimony, or accusation toward the members.
I wish to expresses my sincere gratitude to the Lord, and to the leadership and the membership of Hillcrest, for my time of service at Hillcrest Baptist Church. I will be leaving a people I love greatly—a people who have helped me grow in the Lord and kindly given me opportunities to serve in grace.
Contact: Deacon Sam Hodges, Chairman of Deacons, Hillcrest Baptist Church, 301-423-6288.
Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” Ja. 4:14-15, ESV.