Worth the Risk

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

That quote by C.S. Lewis was much on my mind last week. We woke up the Sunday morning before last to discover our much loved beagle, Lucy, had died during the night. She had been sick but her death was still unexpected. She had become a real part of our family and of our family routine for the past eight years. She is greatly missed at the Bankson house.

I thought of Lewis’ words the morning we found her. Love comes with a cost. Relationships come with a cost- even relationships with pets.

Think of the relationships we have that are more significant than even those with our pets. Think of the relationships we have with parents, children, spouses, family, and friends. There is real cost. We invest ourselves. We sacrifice for relationships. We ache when they ache and we worry for them.

Sometimes our relationships sour and are broken. Relationships may end through hurt feelings and sadly even death. The pain is very great.

Some choose to forego the potential for pain by foregoing all relationships. That’s where Lewis is helpful. Go that route and your heart becomes cold and hard.

Relationships come with a cost. Even our relationship to God comes at the greatest cost- the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus on behalf of His people. That great cost made on our behalf gives us resources to risk for other relationships. That’s one reason why marriage is built on the picture of Jesus’ love for His bride. Marriage is to be a model of the gospel.

Want to avoid pain? Avoid relationships. But be warned- the alternative is not much of a life at all.