What I Learned About Love From My Front Porch Again

I had a pretty good garden this year. I had a bumper oregano harvest. The bergamot was amazing. I’ve already made a gallon of spaghetti sauce out of my tomatoes and a gallon of raspberry jam. I even had plants growing under my porch!

Both the bittersweet and the anise hyssop were complete surprises because they popped up by themselves with certainly no coaxing from me.

Now I have tried hard to grow anise hyssop in the past. I love the licorice flavored tea the leaves produce. But all my attempts to grow this supposedly simple-to-grow herb, have met with failure or  with stunted little twigs which hardly supply a cup of tea.

Then last year I was walking up my drive and lo and behold there it was peeking out from under my porch, anise hyssop! The plant in the picture at the right is easily three feet tall at two years old. It has already run off two babies which are  taller and hardier than the three-year old midget plant I have in my formal herb garden.

I cut the bittersweet back the other day so I could make some fall wreaths. Some of the vines were ten feet long!

I have learned that some things just grow better in a sheltered environment.

Paul wrote, “It (love) always protects.” I Cor. 13:7 NIV

The Greek word means:

to deck,to thatch, to cover

a) to protect or keep by covering, to preserve

2) to cover over with silence

a) to keep secret

b) to hide, conceal

1) of the errors and faults of others

3) by covering to keep off something which threatens, to bear up against, hold out against, and so endure, bear, forbear.

You know people are like anise hyssop and bittersweet. They grow best in a sheltered environment protected from the nastier elements of the world.

The Lord knew this and so He said things like this:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Prov. 18:1

The love of the Lord is a protection against the cold winds of life. We are called to be like the Lord in our love, always protecting. We are called to protect our loved ones dignity, privacy, and holiness.

I am interested in the fact that Paul chose to say “love always protects”. He did not say “love always rescues.”

Protecting really is being just like a porch. My back porch is not moving all around the back yard trying to cover this plant and that plant. It sits and waits for the seed to fall under its shelter. Then it does its job. It protects the seed so it can grow hidden away from the wickedness of the world.

God is the same. He doesn’t race around searching for people who aren’t trying to be found. He loves all, but if someone wants help they have to come into His presence to get it.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to You. ” James 4:8 says.

In our love we are called to protect like God does. This doesn’t mean being an enabler for a loved one who is going down the tubes because of an addiction.

Protecting does not involve sitting by and footing the bill for your credit card enslaved husband when he runs short of cash. It means  getting him help. It means keeping his confidences when he comes clean about the real reason he is spending thousands more than he has, rather than telling your sister and your mother and so on and so on…. It means being like my porch covering him so he can strengthen and grow to be the man God wants him to be.

So let’s follow the way of love. Always protect.