Three simple words. I love you.
The story of a young couple, Ian and Larissa Murphy, is one of great love. The kind of love we all hope for and the kind of love we all hope to give. It’s selfless love. It’s ’til death do us part love. It’s Calvary love. Those three words only begin to express how deep this love is.
Many times it’s not until tragedy strikes that we understand, even still in little ways, what love is. As we experience the valleys of life, we experience love. Somehow we make it through. God puts people in our lives that love us when they really don’t have to, and He allows situations to occur, which give us only two options: go on in love, or give up. We fall on our knees wondering how things could ever get better. We hold on to the hope that’s in us, but it seems to be fading. We hold on to the love He freely gives. We choose to push through the ugly parts of our hearts to show others how much they mean to us. We choose to remember our Savior who first loved us and the great example He was.
“having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” John 13:1
We do our best to replicate that love to Him even though we know we won’t ever come close.
In the Murphy’s new book, eight twenty eight, Larissa walks us through their life together. Little did they know, as young 21-year olds, that God had something so life-changing in store for them. The way she writes of how she got through years of sitting by Ian’s side after an accident that changed everything about him, except for his precious soul, is remarkable. I don’t know if I could ever be so real.
Here’s a little glimpse into the book:
“Watching him lie in bed with the metal railings lifted to prevent him from falling, I admit I sometimes questioned why God had spared him in that car. Death–or, I mean, the relief he would’ve experienced in death–occasionally seemed better to me than a brain injury. Because more than I wanted to be his wife someday, I wanted him to feel release. To step from underneath the brown ceiling fan and out onto the cloak of God’s garment in heaven. And if God could see that the only thing separating Ian from completion with Him in heaven was a breath, surely He would not withhold that from His child…
Yet God was keeping him. And we were praying. Praying for God’s will, for both healing and for heaven. Still, God kept him for what must have been purposes unknown–because even though I could see them sometimes, the purposes didn’t outweigh the heaviness of missing my Ian and watching him live in limbo.”
When we share the depths of our hearts to the Lord – that’s love. When we decide to put our trust in Him to take care of unwanted and unwelcomed circumstances – that’s love. It’s the process of laying down our lives to pick up His. No matter what our status is, whether married, single, divorced, He wants us to love. As a young girl, whose dreams could no longer be a reality, Larissa chose to love Ian. She didn’t have to. The love of Christ compelled her, even if she didn’t know it (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). She chose to love this man she had grown to know for just a short amount of time. It seemed as if there was no hope for her. It seemed as if there was no hope for Ian. And it definitely seemed as if there was no hope for a life for them together. But in faith, she went on and chose to love. She had no clue what the next day would hold, let alone the next 8 years. Only God knew that Ian’s ability to do many everyday things would come to a halt. God also knew that in between the 8 years, Ian would make so many strides to walk and talk again. God knew that Larissa would be courageous enough to share their story.
Imagine sharing your story. All of the details, which include the ugly, messy, unwanted parts of life. How would others talk of how you love? Would the book written of your life exemplify Christ-like love?
Ian and Larissa show the world Christ’s love for His church. When you read their story and you look at how they love, there’s no way you can’t be pointed to Christ. How remarkable is the life they are living, even through the midst of unexpected tragedy?
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Without His children who love, His body won’t operate the way it should. We are called to love Him and to love others. No matter how hard life has been, take some time to look at how the Lord is loving you. He is actively loving you. There is no doubt about that. Even when life can’t seem to get any worse, know that He is in control. Choose to love, knowing for certain, with your eyes fixed on the Cross, that no matter the consequence, He works all things together for our good.
Those three words. Will they actually mean something today?