Here we are at Valentine’s Day….again. Dave and I did not necessarily make a big deal about Valentine’s Day, but for over 40 years he bought me three roses every year. Why? Just to remind me that we had had an amazing life together, and those roses represented the three wonderful kids we raised together over the years. I don’t personally struggle a lot with this day, but I do miss the roses!
For many widows this can be a very, very difficult day – especially if her husband was the romantic type who bought flowers, gifts, cards, and planned special dinners or get-away weekends. With everything in our culture revolving around love, couples, and romance during this time, there is a very strong temptation to engage in a self-pity party!
What I’d like to do for a moment is to consider one of the great philosophical questions of all time: What is Love? Let’s turn our eyes for a moment away from the glitz, glimmer, and Hollywood definition of love, and let’s look into the eyes of real love. For those of us who are Believers, the answer is simple. Scriptures tell us over and over that God is love. All love begins with and comes from God. Without Him, there is no such thing as love!!
Love is a character attribute of God. So, what do we mean by this? It is part of His essential nature. There is no way that God can refuse to love because it’s who He is! When we are exhausted from dealing with life, He is there loving and supporting. When we are confused and hurting, He is there holding our hand. When we feel all alone in the world, He reminds us that He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. When we have wept until we think we have no more tears, He shares a secret with us: He keeps those tears in a bottle and knows about every single one of them.
He loved us so much that even while we were still far, far away from Him, He sent His one and only Son to be born on planet Earth and to die an excruciating death to provide the perfect blood sacrifice for all our sinfulness.
In John 15:12 Jesus says, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” What does that look like in practical terms? I think it means the kind of sacrificial love that would give up my own preferences to yield to the needs or desires of someone else. It means demonstrating on a daily basis the fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians: love, gentleness, goodness, kindness, patience, and all the rest. It means caring for those around me in such a way as to demonstrate the very character of God. I can truly become a channel of His love and blessing to those in my circles of influence.
So, should we give up buying (and receiving!) candy, cards, flowers, and dinner dates? No, but we should be alert and sensitive to those around us who may be hurting or alone at a time when our culture places so much emphasis on loving and being loved.
Ask the question, “God, how can I demonstrate your love today?”
Your thoughts are welcome, and you can reach me at email@example.com.