It's here. Valentine's Day. You know, that day we all love to hate. When expectations sky rocket and disappointment is even higher. When visions of the perfect dinner, the perfect dozen roses and the perfect engagement ring turn into the reality of long lines, wilted flowers and not exactly the ring you had in mind.
I have been married a long time - almost 32 years. I remember our first Valentine's Day Celebration. I flew to the Bahamas to be with my sweetheart. We walked into his home and sitting on the counter was a beautiful vase of fresh vibrant red roses and next to it a romantic card. We celebrated that evening on the town with an exquisite meal and dancing afterward. It was a tropical, balmy evening and everything was right with the world.
Fast forward, thirty one years later. This Valentine's Day celebration was spent a bit differently. My husband and I were making our way back to our marriage. We were separated after a difficult few years, but working it out. We met for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. It was romantic in a completely different way. No fanfare, no roses. Just real conversation. But, no less longing in each of our hearts. How is it that years go by and yet...there remains a longing in our hearts. In all of our hearts. A longing for love. It is a deep sense of "Is this all there is?" Even when our hearts are full and our marriages or romantic relationships are most satisfying, we still yearn for "more."
That "more" I believe, is the one way love of God, in Christ. Don't you long to be accepted and completely welcomed in the midst of the reality of who you are? The good, the bad, the ugly...and yet still loved?
So, what kind of love are you hoping for this year? What grand display of affection are you anticipating?
Let this good news sink deep into your heart...
That love you long for looks more like Good Friday. On that hill called Calvary, God displayed the grittiest of all love. A love that did not wait for yours in return. It was unfair, unjust, disgraceful, yet full of grace. It was a nightmare kind of love for those watching. It was a betrayal kind of love, a horror of a Valentine's Day kind of love. Nothing that has or ever will happen on Valentine's Day can compare.
It is a good thing this love is one way. We would not choose to have any part of it otherwise.
God does not wait until Valentine's Day to display an extravagant version of his love for us. The lavishness of his grace is not saved up for one special day. At Calvary, God's love for you in Christ, gushed forth and poured out literally from his hands and his feet and his side. The rich grace in the deep red blood of the Savior would forever be a sign of his undying love for you. It is the love we all long for.
Not just on one day, but every day, for all of eternity.
Fully known. Fully loved. Forever.
I have loved you with an everlasting love