It is a fair question and one I’ve been pondering for days now. Love or security? I thought long and hard about making the title “security or Love?” so that love could be capitalized but the truth is that all too often we value security over love. Sometimes it isn’t a choice, sometimes we get both love and security, but sometimes we don’t. Before I really dive into this week’s Lenten (and life) reflection I should also mention that I won’t be blogging next week during Holy Week. There is something fantastic about Holy Week and I always try to give up a little something extra during those days to really focus on the mysteries and the Passion that are unfolding before us. Pray for me and I’ll be praying for you and I promise to be back blogging after Easter!
It is a different kind of ‘love’ in regards to friendships. The Greeks would call it “phila” or brotherly love. In friendships we choose love or security. There have been a few friends I’ve struggled with lately and not knowing where our friendship stands. When they do call or when I call or text them we both make a choice of love or security. We can choose love and open our hearts to each and continue to grow our friendship, or we can choose security and decide for ourselves not to continue opening our hearts because we don’t trust the stability of our friendship. The choice is ours to make, sometimes we choose love and sometimes we choose security because we’d rather not spend the time spilling our souls to someone who may or may not be there for us next week or even tomorrow.
This weekend I was reminded of a couple I know that got married fairly quickly by most people’s standards and now have two kids. Because of their financial commitments and their jobs and children they really don’t see much of each other. Yet when I see them it is quite evident how much they love each other, it quite literally radiates out of both of them, and you can see it in their children as well. They chose love over security. They may not have had their lives all put together before they got married but they chose love and that choice affects everything else in their lives. They, against all odds, find a way to make it work, to keep their love alive and still provide for their children.
This is a choice we also make. Perhaps if we always choose security over love then we’d never be in relationships in the first place. Let’s face it, relationships are hard work. If I chose security over love then I wouldn’t still be with Mr. Irish, the tough times would be the death of us because we both would start to doubt the strength and stability of our relationship. Even when it gets tough, we choose love. Does that mean we’ll get married right away? Not necessarily. The choice between love and security penetrates deep into every relationship and every decision a couple faces – do we buy a house even though the money isn’t all there right now? Do we have a child right now (or another child) or do we wait until our jobs are more consistent? Do we move to another state to pursue our dreams, even though the chances might not be high that we’ll actually achieve our dreams? Each decision, in some way or another, comes down to love or security. Or, as some might phrase it, faith or stability? I can stay right here and hope for the best or I can walk out of my box and pray the risk pays off. It makes me think of Boy Meets World when Topanga gets into Yale (was it Yale? Some Ivy League school) and yet she chooses to go to the same college as Cory. Topanga at some point gets a job offer, a great job offer, but it means that Cory and Topanga would have to move; love or security. Choices we all must face, choices that get at the very heart of who we are and what we want out of life.
I can’t help but think of Peter walking on the water. He stepped out in faith and in love, but he chose to cling to the security of the boat instead of God’s love and he began to sink. The apostles hid in the Upper Room after Jesus died – the choice was to love Him and stand out in the crowds for doing so, or stay safely locked away in the Upper Room; love or security. The apostles, in the end, made their choices. Some, like Judas, chose security as He sold Jesus’ whereabouts to the chief priests. Peter, at least for a while, chose the security of denying he knew Jesus because denying Him was easier than admitting he had been one of Jesus’ closest friends – the risk (death) was too overwhelming for him. Thomas too chose the security of seeing and touching the wounds of Jesus over loving Him and believing that He had risen without seeing Him. Others, like Paul, chose love over security. Paul, prior to his little trip on the road to Damascus, had a pretty nice life, he was well taken care of and well regarded by his peers. He left that all behind and chose love when Jesus knocked him off his horse on the way to Damascus. Peter, too, in the end, chose love. Peter preached and spread the Gospel as well and in the end all of his security was gone. He was caught, arrested and set to die. However, he chose love so strongly over security that he requested to be crucified upside because he didn’t feel he was worthy to die in the same way Jesus did; love over security.
The apostles made their choices and now it is time for us to make ours. As we approach Holy Week, what will you choose? Love or security? Security or love? What is more important to you? Do you dare take off Good Friday, lose one of your sick days and sit in church and pray and remember the Passion? Or do you sit at your desk and then get up at 3pm to pray and remember? Or do you chose the security of your job over the love poured out on the Cross? Do you chose to stand as a witness and love Christ with all you have or will next week pass the same as every other has? Will you sacrifice a little more for Him as He lays down His life for you? The choice is yours, Jesus already made His. He could have run away from the Garden of Gethsemane. He could have called the angels to take Him down from the Cross. He could have escaped the scourging at the pillar. Through it all, He chose love over security, every single time. Will you?