The Boy left our home in 2009 due to some extremely poor choices. In the years since, there is often a daily struggle to love him. Not to love the him I wanted him to be, but to just love him on an entirely "as is" basis. (A mother's love is unconditional, but that doesn't mean a mother's heart gives up hope for better conditions.) Through a roller coaster of ups and downs, there has remained a carefully nurtured spark of hope that our family would one day be whole and our son would be a man of integrity following Christ. Time after time, the Boy has heaped sand on the embers of our hope. The mister and I respond by unearthing that glowing coal even though we burn our fingers trying to salvage our hope.
The Boy has been living in a temporary housing situation for the past few months less than an hour from home. The whole family made visits and attended meetings in preparation for his transition home in the Spring. The Boy made one plan after another for his imminent future; yet, none of his plans involved coming home as the season changed. Unfortunately, his plans kept falling through. Finally, he reached the point where it was a choice between the still open door of our home or foster care. And he did not choose home. It was an appalling, heartbreaking, shocking day.
Our current Bible study is over 1 Corinthians, and in the way of such things, exactly the right words were given. The week's study focused on Chapter 13 (here from the NASB):
13 4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails..."
How does love never fail when the one loved rejects those who love him? That question is the heart of the sorrow that the Boy desires to remain apart. The particular bit about love never failing does not refer to our failure to love our son. It translates to not collapsing. We have not collapsed, but have held firm in our love for our challenge child. Christ died on a cross for those who will accept the sacrifice, but He didn't avoid the cross though there are those who will reject His sacrifice. That is the essence of our relationship with our son. We will make sacrifices for him, and we will love him despite rejection because our love refuses to fail.