Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply. (1 Peter 1:22)
Marva was the most difficult person I had ever encountered. Living two doors down from the mission house, she was constantly interrupting my days. I would hear the gate open, followed by her heavy, slow plod up the steps leading into our home. Always she was asking for something—cab fare, Vaseline for her skin, or a bit of our precious peanut butter. One day she showed up shaking in anger, the sweat glistening on her skin as she paced back and forth. At odds with yet another neighbor, she was ready to retaliate in some way. Weary, and not knowing what else to do, I laid my hands on her and began to pray. Suddenly a quiet peace filled the room, and a love for this troubled woman began to fill my heart.
Christ’s death was a demonstration of his deep, sincere love for us, as undeserving as we were. He was the perfect example of sacrificial love, freeing us to take the focus off ourselves and on to others, even the unlovely and broken. And it’s the real thing, coming from a life that is pleasing to the Father.
Things did not completely change with Marva. She was still difficult and demanding, and I sometimes lost patience with her. But there was one thing she never doubted: She was loved.
Love deeply and sincerely from the heart!
Marcy Burke enjoys living in Alabama, being a retired pastor’s wife, former missionary, and worship leader. She enjoys playing the piano and taking long walks with her husband, Larry.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.