Colin Smith

Colin Smith is Senior Pastor of The Orchard in northwest suburban Chicago.

When You're Faced With Overwhelming Obstacles

What you have here is a young lady making a costly commitment of love and loyalty to a rather difficult, bitter older woman.  At the same time she is making a costly commitment to the God of Israel, who has allowed great pain and disappointment in her life.  Love proves itself when it is faced with overwhelming obstacles.

Real love proves itself

I sometimes reflect on this when a young couple tell me how much they are in love.  I remember one couple in particular a number of years ago.  They wanted me to do their wedding and they were anxious to let me know that they really were a perfect match.

“We really love each other.  We have an amazing relationship,” they said.  After listening to their praise for each other, I decided to ask a few questions.  “Have you ever had an argument or disagreement?” I asked with a smile.  They looked shocked.  “No, never!” they said.  “Have either of you ever been disappointed with each other?”  Their faces were a register of astonished surprise.  “Tell me about some problems you’ve had to face together.”  By now they were seriously wondering if they were talking to the right pastor.

“We told you that we love each other,” they said.  “But how do you know that you love each other, if that love has never been tested, never been disappointed, and never learned how to forgive?”  Real love proves itself in the face of overwhelming obstacles.  That’s true of love within families.  It’s also true of our love for God.

Ruth gives us a marvelous model of what true love is all about.  She looks Naomi in the eye.  She knows this lady is rather bitter, that life with her will not be easy, but she makes a commitment to care for her anyway.  She says, “You can count on me.  I am not a fair-weather friend.  I am committed to you.  I love you.”  Then she looks up into the face of God, and she is saying the same thing… 

The highest worship anyone can offer

“…your God [will be] my God.” Ruth 1:16

“There are some things that God has allowed to happen in my life that I do not understand.  I do not know why my husband died, and why I never had children.  But You will be my God.  My love for You will not depend on answering every question or meeting every one of my hopes and dreams.  I am not a fair-weather disciple.  I am committed to You.  I love You.”  This is just about the highest worship anyone can offer.

You don’t know what it means to love another person until you have been disappointed or it begins to cost you.  You don’t know what it means to love God until you have experienced pain, and you love Him still.

That is exactly how God loves us.  “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  That is the love that God pours into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, so that we may be able to love in an unlovely world.

This week's Scripture:  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay...Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.  May the Lord deal with me, (be it ever so severely), if anything but death separates you and me.  Ruth 1:16

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This LifeKey is based on the message “Redeemer,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, delivered on May 14, 2000, from the series, “Unlocking the Bible.” Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.

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About Colin Smith

Colin Smith is Senior Pastor of The Orchard in northwest suburban Chicago. Before coming to the United States in 1996, Colin served as Senior Pastor of the Enfield Evangelical Free Church in London for 16 years. He is heard daily on the radio broadcast Unlocking the Bible, speaks regularly at preaching conferences, and is the author of more than two dozen books and booklets. Follow Pastor Colin on Twitter @PastorColinS, and Unlocking the Bible @UnlckngtheBible.

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