CAN’T STOP LOVE
By Brent Rinehart
“A huge torrent cannot extinguish love; rivers cannot sweep it away…” (Song of Solomon 8:7)
In the fall of 2018, numerous coastal Carolina communities were devastated by Hurricane Florence. It wasn’t the strongest storm to hit the shores of the United States, but it still packed a pretty powerful punch. “Only” a Category 1 when it made landfall, it still became the 11th costliest hurricane on record with more than $24 billion in damages largely due to widespread flooding. While the winds were significantly lower than other storms, it was the slow-moving nature and 18 trillion gallons of rain that wreaked havoc.
Working for a non-profit organization with a large disaster relief arm, I had the privilege of serving in several of the hardest-hit communities in North Carolina in the aftermath of the storm. I saw first-hand the damage water can bring. Many families completely lost their homes and were forced to live in temporary shelters in schools and community buildings. Roads were impassable, making it difficult for areas to receive desperately needed food and supplies. It took well over a week for some to see their power restored.
But I also witnessed something else: the power of community and love. In the midst of trials and tragedy, it’s amazing to watch as people come together in love for their neighbors. It restores your faith in humanity to see strangers helping and showing love to one another. I saw local individuals, businesses and churches – many of whom were dealing with their own post-Florence struggles – reaching out to help others in the community. People organized supply drives, volunteered in local shelters, helped serve food, and more. I saw relief workers and power crews giving of their time, energy and obligations back home, pouring into the area to help restore order and normalcy. When there are very few vehicles on the roads, it’s moving to see a line of power crews driving toward the damage flying a state and an American flag on the back. Through all this, I also saw the impact the love and support had on those who were suffering the most. Florence did a lot of damage to this part of the country. But, it couldn’t cause any harm to what mattered most.
When you think about marriage, what matters most is love – love for Jesus and each other. If the marriage is built on this foundation, it will be ready to withstand anything the world throws at it.
There are, of course, seasons in marriage. There are periods when it’s all sunshine and rainbows. The birds are chirping and butterflies flit about as if you are living inside a fantasy, cartoon world. But there are other periods that are a little rocky. Storms will come. Stress outside of the home brings challenges inside it. Issues that continue to arise between husband and wife cause disagreement or conflict. Energy spent on children or other pursuits drains you of the focus you need to devote to your spouse. Marital highs and lows are normal, and we all experience them. Love is the constant, and the line that ties you to the safety of the dock.
My wife and I recently went to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry. One of the performers that night was Sara Evans, a popular country singer in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, she didn’t sing one of her more popular songs, “Suds in the Bucket.” In case you aren’t familiar with the song, in the story, the parents of an 18-year-old young woman were powerless to stop their daughter from running away to get married to her love. There’s a line in the refrain that says, “You can’t fence time, and you can’t stop love.” She was in love and nothing was going to stop her. No, “you can’t stop love.”
Whatever you are going through, you can rest in the truth that love is unstoppable. “A huge torrent cannot extinguish love; rivers cannot sweep it away…” (Song of Solomon 8:7).
When going through the daily challenges of marriage, we should remind ourselves that our marriage is built on a foundation of love. Sure, we’ll experience other temporary emotions that come and go, but nothing can outlast love. “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). The waters may rise in your marriage, but you can grab and cling to love – a life preserver in the midst of the storm.