Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36: 5-7
Our Thanksgiving this year turned into a week-long celebration thanks to the visit of my dearest niece Nicole. Often she spends Thanksgiving with us, but this year, she had told me it was not going to be possible. A couple of weeks before the holiday, however, she called me to tell me that the company she works for was sending her to Pittsburgh for a meeting the Monday of Thanksgiving week and that she had made arrangements to stay here until the following Saturday. The unexpected news were the cause for much excitement in my heart.
Nicole is more than my niece. She is my sister and friend. We basically grew up together. She made me an aunty when I was only eight years old. We both grew up in Panama, so now that we both live in the US we are practically the only close family we really have in this country. Unfortunately, we live far from each other. On the other hand, that makes each moment we spend together all the more precious.
When we are together is like time hasn’t gone by. We are able to pick it up right where we left it and enjoy each other’s company. I truly praise God for her life and for how she has impacted my own. God has showed me a glimpse of what unconditional love looks like by placing Nicole in my path for the long run. Through her life experiences I have also been able to learn more about how God is the Only One who can exercise unfailing love.
Not another soul in this world is capable of loving perfectly. When it comes to loving others we all fail at it. Nobody has mastered love…Only God…because He IS Love. And whatever love we may be able to express in our limited ability comes from Him. Without Him, we don’t know what love is. What the world calls love is nothing but a fleeting emotion that has more to do with our own selfish needs and self-centered feelings than with the object of our affection. When we seek the love of this world we chase after a combination of warmth and excitement that may resemble an electric current charged with sweet chocolate running through our bodies. The love of God, on the other hand, takes us through the difficult path of surrender and sacrifice, which leads us to the Cross.
His Love endures forever, and it is the same when we rejoice as well as when we pass through the valley of the shadow of death and evil. It is unchanging and unique. It is indescribable. It is perfect. It is the love that sends Himself to die for His beloved.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and so has Nicole. We took her to the airport yesterday and it was very sad to hear my sons talk about how much they miss their very cool cousin. I hope we get to spend more time together in the coming year, but for now, we cherish the memories we built this past week. For now we cherish the love that binds us and we praise the Love that will keep us together through time, space and circumstance.