Cheryl Anderson was 32 when she received her cancer diagnosis. Her story still moves me to tears. She was two months pregnant when the news came in and she was presented with a choice, her life, or that of her baby. She turned down potentially life-saving chemotherapy and instead went through an operation and course of radiotherapy with only the bare minimum of pain killers in a bid to extend her life long enough to give her baby the best chance of survival.
At 6 months pregnant, the medical staff performed an emergency caesarean. Coming around from the operation she was awake long enough to hear the news of her daughter being born. Later that day she passed away in her husband’s arms. It’s a tragic story that is full of sadness and grief, but at the same time there is a beauty in it. Here is the love of a mother for her child, a love that is willing to sacrifice everything.
Love is so much more than a valentine’s card or a bunch of roses. It’s something we crave and need and admire. It’s something so powerful that it causes people to give their lives for the good of others.
Many of us will be recollecting that this month. Around November 11th, people will gather in all parts of our country to remember our soldiers who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars and other battles since. On many of the war memorials is this Bible verse, ‘Greater love has no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13). It’s a reminder that for so many who went to war, the reason was love. Love for their country; love for their neighbours; love for their family and friends.
Yet, that verse is not ultimately about a soldier on the battlefield, or a mother in a hospital. Jesus said these words to express and explain his love for us. At the centre of the Bible’s message is a God of love who loves the world he made and the people in it. It is a message of a love that is bigger than we can possibly imagine.
Over the next few weeks, at our Sunday morning services, we’re going to be spending some time looking at what the Bible says about love and particularly, God’s love for us. Why not join us in-person or online. Check out our events page for more details.