I love Valentine’s Day. Despite the fact that it’s a tad over-commercialized, I’m still a big fan of it. I like all of the flowers and chocolates and drug store stuffed animals. I even like those little candy hearts that I’m convinced are just decorative pieces of chalk. Yum.
Even though it’s cheesy, I like how everything is pink and red, and I like the cards that say “Bee mine!” with a picture of, you know, bees flying in a heart shape around a flower or something. It’s just precious.
I like all of that, but I know it’s not what Valentine’s Day is all about. It’s about love. And whether or not you have a significant other in your life (if you don’t, then your good buddy Anna likes Whitman’s…I’m just saying), you’ve experienced some form of love in action. Someone has somehow shown you they care for you, even if a nice steak and shrimp dinner isn’t involved.
Because actually, I think the strongest expressions of “I love you” don’t come in the form of candlelit dinners, or greeting cards that sing at you when you open them, or long-stemmed roses. They come in small ways, ways that might be missed if you’re not paying attention.
Like, for example, someone who sits and listens to you whine when you’ve had a crummy day. Or someone who’s always there to stick up for you and offer you words of encouragement. Or people who tell you they still believe in your calling even when you’ve experienced big discouragement. Or a mom who goes out of her way to do special things to surprise you when you come home: your laundry, a freshly made bed, a meal you love. Or a dad who cleans your car for you on the weekend, because there’s no way you’d have time to do it otherwise. Or grandparents who welcome you into their home during the week so your daily commute time to school is cut in half. Or siblings who are just…siblings: you may drive each other nuts sometimes, but at the end of the day, they’re the truest friends you’ve got.
Those are a few specific examples from my own life, but there’s one we all have in common, no matter who we are or where we’re at in life:
We all have Someone who loved us so incredibly much that He died for us. Even though we do all kinds of ridiculous things that break His heart, He still died for us. The only way to have your sins cleared is through bloodshed. Without blood being poured out, we’d all be, frankly, in Hell. We’d be eternally separated from everything good and joyful and full of life. That’s why our Creator sent His only Son to be a sacrifice, to be a Lamb that was slaughtered so His blood could cover our sins. That expression of love is our way out of darkness and into the light. It’s our way off of the fast track to eternal suffering and into an endless life of joy.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us…” – 1 John 3:16
How’s that for an expression of love? God became a man and allowed His own creation to kill Him. Sometimes when I think about it, it doesn’t make sense. Why would God do that for me, when I do so many things that go against what’s pure and holy? Every day, we do the very things Christ died to free us from, and yet He still did it. It’s love that I’ll never fully comprehend, never get enough of, never earn. It comes to me freely.
After Christ died, He came back to life, showing that Love is stronger than evil. It’s up to us to accept the love Jesus Christ shows us. There’s nothing we can do to earn it. It only takes faith.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
It takes believing that Christ did die for us because He loves us. It takes asking Him into your heart—your life– to lead you and guide you and forgive you for all of the darkness in your life. It takes a commitment to turn away from the things that keep you from experiencing His love; things that have a choke-hold on you that only He can remove. It takes a willingness to experience joy like none other, life overflowing with blessings, and incredible freedom. He loves us so fiercely, so fervently, so passionately. And He wants us as His children.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
That’s love, right there. Awesome, amazing, powerful love. Love I couldn’t live without because it affects everything I do. Every time I mess up, God’s still loving me. Every time I don’t understand why something happens, God’s still loving me. Every time I hurt, cry, hope, wonder…God’s still loving me.
God is saying, “Will you be Mine?”
In His love,