The Power of Love


Love is a tiny little four letter word that gets tossed around so often that many people don't really understand what love really is. It's not uncommon to hear people say "I love coffee", "I love chocolate" or "I love baseball". This tiny little word is used and abused so often that I had forgotten the power behind this word. Yes, I said power. Love has the power to heal broken hearts, dispel fear, mend relationships, and transform lives. Pure, unconditional love, agape love is the most powerful love. Agape love is the love that Jesus lavishes on us and it's the kind of love that we should display to one another always.

Easy peasy! I just solved world peace with a four letter word explained in a paragraph. I'm pretty sure as you are reading this that you are just shaking your head by now. Don't worry, I just shook my head after reading this. I should probably explain that I do believe everything I have shared to this point is absolutely true. However, I've lived long enough to understand that it's just not that simple.

We live in such a cynical world. People are angry and judgemental. Selfishness is a cancer that has been seeping into every part of our lives. We are all guilty of it from time to time. We live such busy lives that we rarely take time to witness the power of love. Over the past 6 months, not only have I had the privilege of witness the power of love but I have been changed because of it.

August is typically my busiest month of the year. The outreach I am responsible for is in August and it consumes all of my free time. My 30th high school class reunion was also set for August. It just happened to fall the week before the outreach. To say I was a little preoccupied would be an understatement. Keeping up with Facebook updates is typically not on my radar during August. Honestly, not too many things other than Summerfest hit my radar during August. Until something unspeakable happened.

As a parent, we do everything possible to protect our children from harm. The older kids get, the harder it is to protect them. Sometimes, things happen that turn life upside down and life as we know is forever different. On August 12 my friend Melissa woke to every mother's nightmare. Melissa found her 21 year old son Jory, unresponsive. On the way to the hospital Jory went into cardiac arrest. Miraculously by the time they got to the ER, Jory was alive but it didn't look good. Jory was alive, but his brain had suffered from lack oxygen and they were preparing my dear friend for the moment when they would ask her to remove life support and donate his organs. Even as I type, I'm trying to hold back tears. No mother should ever have to make such a difficult decision.

I should probably share my connection with Melissa. I was the new kid at school upon entering 9th grade. Melissa was also new. It was nice knowing that I wasn't the only new kid We had a few classes together and we talked here and there but we were not really close. Facebook reconnected many of our classmates and allowed us a peek into each others lives. One evening, several years ago, I was holding a meeting for our Summerfest outreach and my friend Jennifer asked me how I knew Melissa. I wondered how Jennifer knew her as well. Apparently they grew up together and Jennifer's sister is Melissa's best friend. Long story short, Melissa and I reconnected and bonded together over our children, our past and over mutual friendship.I called Jennifer as soon as I saw Melissa's Facebook post. Jennifer had just gotten home from the hospital. She had been with Melissa from about the time she got to the hospital until the next evening. I am not even sure why but I felt a huge burden to not only pray for Melissa and her boys but to invite our friends to do the same for her. I had no idea what would take place at the time, but it would be extraordinary.

Exactly 1 week before our 30th class reunion, many of our classmates who now live out of town were arriving and our Facebook feed was buzzing with excitement. That is until we heard about Melissa's son Jory. Several of us stepped away from Facebook and spoke to each other on the phone. Our hearts were aching as we witnessed Melissa trying to make sense of everything. The night of our reunion, I witnessed the power of love in action. One of our classmates gathered our entire class together into a circle holding hands and he prayed. He prayed over all of us but especially for Jory and Melissa and her younger son Jackson.

Melissa began to pour her heart out on Facebook with daily updates sharing her highs and lows. She shared her hope in Jesus and her doubt. We witnessed moments of unbearable heartbreak and moments of sweet joy. Myself and several other friends began copying her posts and sharing them, asking for prayer for this sweet family. Many times, I would be left in tears, unable to speak or even begin to put words to my feelings. Melissa shared as open and raw as possible and I did the same. It didn't take long before I could see the power of love moving through the feed on Facebook. It was amazing.

I had been texting back and forth with Melissa almost immediately after I had heard the news. I can't remember exactly what she said, but I could feel that she really was so broken that she wasn't sure if she had the strength to hope. My heart sank and I sat in my office and cried. I turned to my Pastor who just happens to be my boss and I shared what had happened. I knew that Jory was in God's hands. But, I was worried for Melissa and Jack. I prayed for the Holy Spirit to wrap them in His arms and cover them with His peace. I texted Melissa and told her that she would not walk this journey alone.

I live about 45 minutes away from Melissa on a good day without traffic. Between my crazy August schedule and inability to drive at night due to poor vision, I had not been able to go sit with Melissa. It was the last week of August at this point and I needed to ask my Pastor some details about Summerfest and he wasn't in the office. So I texted him and asked what he was doing. His response was "Just hanging out with Jory for a little bit. I'm waiting for Melissa to get back to the hospital. What a cool kid!". My Pastor had taken time from his very busy schedule to go sit with my friend when I couldn't. He had never even met them before. I was blown away.

Melissa continued to keep us updated on Facebook. She boldly shared her faith and assurance of