The greatest of these is love. What makes love so grand? That the Father’s love for us had Him sacrifice His beloved son, who He also loved deeply? That love is the special ingredient to soften a hardened heart? Both of these things are true. However, if every action has an equal and opposite reaction, it is safe to say that because of how high and grand and large love is, it must require the exact same effort of highness, grandness, and largeness that it represents.

Love is associated with the heart. The phrase wearing your heart on your sleeve means to be vulnerable and transparent with your affection, but it is contradictory to the literal location of the heart in our bodies. It is buried deep within us, under flowing blood, hard bones, muscles, tissue, veins, arteries, all acting as another layer, another guard to have to answer to before a gate is opened. “Getting to the heart of an issue” or “seeing someone’s heart” implies that it is a journey to be undertaken only by those who are strong-willed and brave. It requires us to dig from level to level, cutting through the skin, piercing through the muscles, squeezing through the arteries, knocking around some bones, and coaxing the heart out of the cavity.

The greatest thing about love is that it is not easily attained. It is not something so easily presented. It is mentioned often because of how gravely important it is for us to love one another, but the difficulty is often undermined. Something so great requires travailing. It requires a digging through the flesh. Not only the physical flesh to reach the literal heart, but of our flesh: our pride, our fear, our lustful, selfish, wicked desires, into the most well-protected organ we have. Something residing so deep within us must hide treasures unseen. It must also hide hurts and sorrow that are shrouded with shame and pride.

The reason it is so difficult to love one another is because oftentimes our love has a long way to go before it finally reaches the visible surface. It requires a mighty work of God to push those things aside within us that are blocking the passage of a love out-pour. His love for us is what causes him to perform these shifts within us. Hence, we can only love because He first loved us. Surely the love ingrained deep within us would have suffocated without Him.

This is what makes love grand, this majestic and heroic adventure that we embark upon to (against all odds and societal teachings of fending for oneself) call forth hidden, shamed, and broken hearts into a place of healing and light.