“Peace, love, and joy are all we need to solve the world’s ills.”
He spoke with thoughtfulness, conviction, and hope. The statement seemed as stereotypical as his sixties style, but I could tell he meant it.
I’d just dropped off my son Daniel for drama practice, and I was looking forward to enjoying ninety minutes of solitude while I waited. I found the local coffee shop, anxious to make some progress with my novel, The Brothers Karamazov. Impressive, I know. But if I’m honest, it was the pick for my book club. And that’s the only thing that was going to get me through it’s one thousand plus pages.
Coffee in hand, I looked around for just the right spot to sit and read. I wanted a big comfy chair, but I also didn’t want to be bothered. Anonymity was the goal, and I’d need to be strategic. I saw a grouping of four leather chairs. One was occupied by an elderly gentleman, a hippie of sorts, but he looked safely immersed in his book. So carefully, quietly, and incognito-ly as possible, I sat down.
Just a few minutes into my reverie, he interrupted.
“The Brothers Karamazov?!”
Startled, I looked up and realized he was speaking to me. I nodded politely and went back to reading, hoping he would too.
He wasn’t so easily dissuaded.
“Dostoyevsky understood the human condition unlike any writer before or since.”
Apparently, he knew much more about the author of my book than I did. While I was reluctant to engage, what ensued was a fascinating conversation with a deeply thoughtful and compassionate gentleman. About thirty minutes in, I learned his name. Patch Adams. Yes, the Patch Adams of movie and Robin Williams-played-his-part fame.
It was definitely a memorable conversation, but what stood out to me the most was that statement: “Peace, love, and joy are all we need to solve the world’s ills.”
I remember thinking it sounded nice, very hip . . . and too simplistic.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
~1 Corinthians 13:13
The Amplified Version of this verse defines love as true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us.
Almost ten years later, I think maybe Patch was on to something.
In September, I shared a series of posts introducing the vision of Winsome Living . . . Embraced by love. Sustained by joy. You can find the first one and links to the rest here.
This month I’ll be focusing on God‘s love and what it means to be embraced by love.
If any word is overused in our culture, it’s love. In my half-century of living, I have heard more songs about love than any other topic. It can feel overdone, but the fact that it’s what we sing about most attests to its importance and preeminence.
And in case we’re tempted to minimize love in light of other important virtues, the Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is His most defining attribute.
But what is love? Even more importantly, who is God.
I’ll consider these fundamental questions and their impact on us as we look at three manifestations of God’s love this month: the creator’s love, the father’s love, and the redeemer’s love.
I’m excited to share what I’m learning and hope you’ll follow along!
Here’s a practical application of this week’s focus.
As you consider God’s love, answer the following questions:
- How important is God’s love to you?
- What kind of practical impact does it make in your daily life?
- Do you believe He loves you? That you’re embraced in His love?
- Do you believe that love, defined as true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us, has the ability to solve the world’s ills? Why or why not?
Every Wednesday, I’m exploring what winsome living looks like. What does it mean to be embraced by love and sustained by joy?
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