A few weeks ago, we enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend, a time of year when thoughts of family often move to the forefront of people’s minds. On Thanksgiving, family members frequently gather together to enjoy good food and loving camaraderie. It’s a special time to give thanks for all which God has given us, including our families. Nevertheless, for some, it does not work out that way. Families may be broken or separated by circumstances that preclude the family get-togethers indicative of the holiday. Rebecca and I previously discussed this matter in our Thanksgiving week post.
I mention this point again because I feel that it is extremely significant to emphasize the importance of the family unit. If you are a regular reader of this blog, it should come as no surprise that Rebecca and I are proponents of solid family values, which encourages the building of strong family units. Of course, we believe that the foundation supporting rock-solid families is unconditional love. There is no better way to develop healthy family relationships than to start with unconditional love.
As an illustration of how to cultivate a strong family I’d like to share a story with you about our dear family friend named Wilbur. We’ve known Wilbur for over twenty years, and have always admired his commitment to his family. Wilbur raised his children in a Godly household. Nevertheless, Wilbur’s children have somehow managed to constantly put him through a myriad of difficulties that, for most people, would have cancelled out U Love. The problems I’m talking about are not minor. They are issues such as drug addiction, unwanted pregnancies, jail time, divorce, etc.
Yet, through it all, Wilbur has stood by his kids, offering them love, support, money and a place to stay whenever it was needed. To me, Wilbur embraces many of the Godly principles of U Love found in 1 Corinthians 13, such as patience, kindness, and selflessness. He always offers hope for his children, always protects them, and keeps no record of their wrongs. Yes, Wilbur is a man to be respected in regards to the handling of his family’s challenging affairs. His goal is always to U Love his kids, and to keep his family unit intact.
Wilbur’s commitment to U Loving his family is even being passed on to the next generation, as can be seen by the following sweet story. A few years ago, Wilbur’s grandchildren wanted some chickens to raise as pets. Since the children were very young, Wilbur knew that if he bought the chickens, he would end up caring for the pets himself. That did not deter him. Wilbur went out and bought his grandchildren some exotic, beautiful chickens. And, as he expected, Wilbur was usually the one to clean out the chicken pen and feed the chickens. Nevertheless, the grandchildren thoroughly enjoyed playing with the chickens, which was good enough for Wilbur.
Recently, a few of the chickens got sick with an infection in their feet. Knowing how much his grandchildren loved their pets, Wilbur took the chickens to the veterinarian for treatment. The vet was not sure the infection was treatable, so he recommended that nothing be done to save the chickens. Wilbur’s grandkids were distraught by the news. They loved those chickens!
In his U Love, Wilbur instructed the vet to administer treatment to the chickens anyway, in the hope of saving them. The vet prescribed antibiotics for the chickens and sent them home. The infection cleared up, and all was well with the chickens for about a month; but, then the infection returned.
Faithful to his grandchildren, Wilbur returned to the vet for additional treatment. Once again, the chickens recovered, but only for a brief time. The third time was the charm, though. After a third round of treatment, the chickens finally fully recovered. The cost to Wilbur (who is not a wealthy man) for all of this therapy for the chickens, was over $1,000.
As I thought about his story, I was amazed at how much Wilbur was willing to attempt in order to walk out his U Love for his family. For Wilbur, though, this was not out of the ordinary. To him, it is just what you do when you love your family. You go to any lengths to help them. This has always been Wilbur’s motto. And, he has consistently operated in it for many years.
Wilbur’s capacity to U Love, as well as his tenacity for keeping his family together through difficult trials, is an excellent role model for us all. I believe that God puts families together in a meaningful way. He knows in advance exactly what problems we will face in life. To help us, He equips us with unconditional love to see things through. By applying U Love to each and every situation, I know we can build strong families, just like Wilbur has. Nevertheless, it takes an unwavering commitment to loving unconditionally. I encourage myself, and everyone else, to embrace this U Love challenge!
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