Life Is Messy, Love Is Invincible

“Hang my locket around your neck, wear my ring on your finger. Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing— it sweeps everything before it. Flood waters can't drown love, torrents of rain can't put it out. Love can't be bought, love can't be sold— it's not to be found in the marketplace. ” Song of Songs 8:6-7 (MSG)

That life is messy is not a hidden truth.  If your experience is similar to mine, you don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how often in a given week you hear someone say, “Things don’t always go the way you want them to.”

 One of the most astounding aspects of the Christian faith is its declaration of invincible love as the remedy for the messiness of life.  

Whether in minor disappointment or devastating loss, that sentence gives testimony to the fact that we can’t order life to be the way we want it to be.  Diseases take loved ones too early.  Companies fold and jobs are lost.  Divorces fracture families.  Illnesses rob vitality and limit ability.  Natural disasters destroy.  Planes crash.  Friends betray.  Pressures mount.  And, yes, on a much less serious but still relevant level, children sometimes don’t get what they want.  Life is messy.  For all of us, life is messy.

One of the most astounding aspects of the Christian faith is its declaration of invincible love as the remedy for the messiness of life.  God says, in Song of Songs 8:6-7, in the context of our commitment to Him, sealed with a locket around our neck and a ring on our finger, we will find that life is messy, but love is invincible.  “Love is invincible facing danger and death.  Passion laughs at the terrors of hell.”  And nothing can prevent love from its appointed mission.  “The fire of love stops at nothing—it sweeps everything before it.  Flood waters can’t drown love, torrents of rain can’t put it out.”  And this invincible love “can’t be bought or sold…in the marketplace”—it can only be given as a gift and received as a gift.

Nowhere is this invincible love more clearly revealed than in the birth of Jesus Christ.  The Incarnation of Invincible Love was born into the messiest situation imaginable—into a feed trough in a dirty cave among farm animals.  Life is messy, Love is invincible.

To the messiness of life—the untimely deaths, the lost jobs, the divorces, the illnesses, the natural disasters, the plane crashes, the betrayals, the pressures, and even to our more minor disappointments—Christ followers declare the great truth that “life is messy, love is invincible.”  If love can be born in a manger, it can be born into any messy situation.  And as the love of God is born into our lives, as we seal ourselves in commitment to this love, hanging God’s locket around our necks and placing His ring upon our fingers, we experience its invincibility.

Love is invincible in walking us through grief, in providing resources, in reconciling relationships, in healing disease, in transforming us under pressure…or in giving us the grace to deal with the terrible but ultimately transforming situations in which we don’t get what we want.  Life is messy, love is invincible.

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Putting it into Practice at FCS:

We consider it a privilege at FCS to join our clients in the inevitable messiness of life.  We often say at FCS that it is our deeply held commitment to “meet clients where they are and join them in what they face.”  And because none of us on the staff of FCS, including the clinical staff and the support staff, have lives that are not also messy, we have profound compassion for the messiness our clients face.  As we come alongside our clients, it is our desire to support them in discovering and receiving ever more deeply the invincible love of God that is the remedy for the messiness of life.

About the author:

Marty Goehring, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and an ordained Cumberland Presbyterian Minister. He is the Director of Formation Counseling Services, an Associate Pastor of Heights Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and an Adjunct Professor at Richmont Graduate University. The three life-long missions that Dr. Goehring pursues with passion are to assist the Spirit-driven process that forms Christ in people’s lives, to support the church in fulfilling its calling to be the primary provider of soul care in the community, and to inspire the church to mobilize its resources for the sake of spreading the gospel wide and taking it deep.