“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.” (I Corinthians 13:7-8, J.B. Phillips)
We read in the book of Hebrews: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” The inspired author of the great faith chapter means that the object of faith is always unseen, and faith gives substance to our hope that the object of our faith exists. In other words, faith puts a foundation under our hope. We hope until faith gives us reason to believe. (Hebrews 11:1)
When faith cannot place a foundation under our hope for the ones we love, all we can do is hope for them. According to the love hymn of Paul, the one applying the love of Christ will hope for them. Love joyfully awaits for the fulfillment of what it prayerfully desires, imagines, dreams and hopes concerning the potential of the ones we love.
When Paul writes, “Love endures all things,” he means love perseveres while it awaits the fulfillment of what it hopes and believes to see in the lives of the ones being loved. The Greek word translated as ‘endurance’ is ‘hupomone.” It is a combination of two Greek words, to ‘abide‘ and ‘under,‘ whatever is required to love someone.
This is especially important when we love a person who is not responding to our loving, positive reinforcement. This quality of loving perseverance equips believers to love and pray loved ones through their addictions to alcohol, chemical substances, pornography, gambling, eating disorders and the seemingly endless list of compulsive habits.
These ‘chains’ of the evil one can only be broken with supernatural assistance from God, often using, as conduits, those who love with this love that hopes, believes, and endures all things. By their actions they make this statement to those they love: “Nothing you do or say can make me stop loving you because I’m loving you with the love of Christ. The love of Christ is tough love.”
Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Love