Spiritual Matters: Give up on Love? Never

DRUGS are fantastic. Drugs are destructive. Both statements are true. It all depends on the context and intent of the user.

Drugs prescribed by a health care professional can relieve discomfort, help fix a chronic health problem and even save lives. But drugs used recreationally in order to give the user an artificial 'high' in an uncontrolled environment - well, we all know how tragic that can end. Instead of saving life, drugs can destroy us.

Despite the frequent and dire warnings, expensive anti-drug campaigns and the like, people still gamble with their lives by taking non-prescribed drugs. And a root cause for this lunacy can be as simple as a bad dose of rebellion.

Defiance of authority has always been with us. Always. It's a fundamental option for the human spirit as a consequence of God granting us freewill - the right to choose. And while rebellion can be a good thing when exercised in order to draw attention to an obvious injustice or wrong, and as a tool for essential change, more often than not it is used in a destructive way.

Parents have always had a battle on their hands when their teenagers make bad decisions in their desperation to make their own mark as an emerging adult. The mistakes flow because they are still too immature to understand the concepts of responsibility and consequence.

The rebellious ways of a teenage daughter were breaking a mother's heart. Their struggle reached its zenith when the young girl was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

After posting bail for her daughter, the mother found herself on the receiving end of the 'silent treatment'. So they couldn't discuss what had happened. The following afternoon, an opportunity arose for them to sit together. With an awkward silence permeating the room, the woman handed her daughter a small gift-wrapped package. The girl flippantly opened it and was exasperated by what she saw inside.

The box contained a small rock. She rolled her eyes and asked: "What's this for?" Her mother simply replied: "Read the card." As she did so, her daughter's stony face miraculously began to soften.

It was clear that the message on the card was affecting her deeply. Tears began streaming down her cheeks and she reached out to embrace her mother.

What was it that had moved the teenager to tears? This simple message: "This rock is more than 6000 years old. That's how long it will take before I give up on you."

God broke through to us too with his own message of unrelenting and enduring love. Unlike the teenage girl however, we may choose not to read the card or acknowledge the reality of this love in our lives. But there is no other message more profound than this - wrapped up in the stark event of the crucifixion and sealed by the hope-full reality of the empty tomb. God never, ever, gives up on us.

We may give up on ourselves. We may give up on others. But Easter underlines that for God, that's not an option. He hangs in with us. And always will - for as long as we choose to allow his love to flow, for love is only complete when it's returned; when it's mutual.

So we should all be rebels - with a cause: To stand against evil and fight tenaciously for good - in every arena of life. It should never be an option to give up on God, ourselves or one another.

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