“Please sit still, Jacob!” This for what seems like – and very well may be – the four-hundredth time. Why his parents felt him mature enough to come to daycamp, I don’t know. Maybe because his older sister is bright and well-mannered for her 8 years. But Jacob is a pretty normal 5-year-old, with a pretty normal 5-year-old attention span. For instance, many times Jacob refuses to talk. He has sprawled himself on the ground and is digging in the grass with a stick or a piece of bark. He flat-out ignores anything that his counselors – I am one of them – say. But not always is he so empty of speech. There are certainly times when that cup runneth over. In assembly or during prayers or when we’re learning the wordless book, Jacob loves to talk and to do anything he can think of to bother the other 6- and 7-year olds around him. When he talks, he mumbles to the point of gibberish, the words bubbling out of his mouth like air in a pool of warm water. I can’t understand him. And sometimes it is so hard to love him.
But then I have to stop and think – can’t I be just as obstinate? Don’t I sometimes ignore God when I know I am doing something wrong, because I know He wants me to stop? When that doesn’t work, don’t I try to fill my life with “talking” – with noise and distractions? Don’t I decide not to talk to God, to come before Him in prayer, because I don’t want to acknowledge his authority in my life or because I know that He might ask me to do something that I just don’t want to do, like loving little Jacob? Shouldn’t it be just as hard for Jesus to love me? But He loves me anyway. In fact, He is Love. And I believe in Love.
Therefore, I commit to love. I will love my Savior above anything, my God who empowers me to love others. I will love others above myself. I will love in every way I know how. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not perfect; I will, time and time again, fail to love. But I will ask forgiveness and learn from my failings so that I can love that much better, stronger, deeper. I am loved; I will try all the harder to love even – especially – the unlovely: those hard to love, those refusing of love, those incapable of loving back. Because, after all, I would be as refusing and incapable of love if no one had first shown me Love. Without Love, I am nothing.