Love is not cheap. It comes with a cost. But as true love it is a cost willingly paid. In fact, there is much joy in offering ourselves time and again for our beloved.
But maybe we doubt unconditional love is actually available. We are careful not to want too much lest we burden others and they withdraw their love.
However, true love is not so fickle. This is not an excuse to take advantage of love – making selfish requests. But hopefully it lets us rest in the security of love and fully receive all it has to offer.
To be sure, love comes with a cost.
It takes a lot of sweat equity to love well, not to mention the sacrifices of our money and other material resources.
Love calls us to suffer for the sake of another. Yet this suffering is freely entered into with joy.
Consider Jesus who endured the cross for the joy set before him. He willingly suffered for our sakes. The cost of love was worth the joy.
And mature love is willing to do the same.
The joy does not cancel out the suffering. There is still a cost to be paid. But the joy of bringing goodness to our beloved is worth it.
For example, paying for a friend’s lunch is not given a second thought. The joy of the friendship is worth much more than the cost of the meal.
Likewise, the joy of seeing our wife smile is worth the cost of inconvenient conversations and requests. A moment or two of frustration is willingly paid in order to bring goodness to her.
Sometimes we doubt unconditional love is available. Are others really willing to suffer for our sakes?
But in our love of others we know this is true – that love freely gives itself for the good of the other. And it grieves us when we can’t give fully.
There is a cost and a joy of love. And our ability to give and receive love grows richer when we can acknowledge both.