Winning, Losing, and Love

Read: 1 Corinthians 13:1-11

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (v. 7)

The dodgeball game was intense, fast, and furious. Both sides propelling the balls with competitive force and accuracy as laughter, mixed with bravado, bounced off the walls of the church gym. Panting and sweating, the final ball landed squarely to cheers from one side and groans from the other. Both teams took winning and losing in stride; well, everyone but Ben. Suddenly, the game was no longer a game. It was a moment of possible rejection, and hot, furious tears began to roll down his cheeks. Losing the game meant losing everything: personal value and possibly a future family. Approaching the boy, I foolishly misjudged the intensity of his emotions, and the intended hug of affirmation quickly turned violent with thrashing swings and cries.

For kids in the foster care system, love is often intertwined with prior abuse and shallow words. For foster parents, expressing a Jesus-like love is never as simple as it sounds. Will our innocent actions trigger old thought patterns and trauma, or will we be able to demonstrate a Christlike wholeness and love? Paul exhorts us to bear all things; to believe, to hope, to endure (v. 7). For children who have lost everything, this passage holds deep secrets of restoration.

In the end my hand needed bandaging, but Ben’s heart needed it more. It was never about dodgeball; it was, is, and has always been about love. —Tammy DeRuyter

As you pray, thank him for all the ways to demonstrate his love.

About the Author

Tammy DeRuyter

Tammy DeRuyter is a former stockbroker turned student of theology and history. She holds master’s degrees in both from Fuller Theological Seminary and Central Michigan University. Married for more than 25 years to Michael, an ordained RCA pastor, they have three emerging, young adult children ages 20, 21, and 22—the youngest of whom was adopted at 11.