Valentine’s Day is Sunday! We have less than a week to figure out how to make the most important people in our lives feel loved and appreciated. The world tells us that this is the day above all days to prove and show our love. The pressure is on!
The world also tells us what to do: buy cards, candy, or flowers, make romantic dinner reservations, get a babysitter, hold hands and go for a long sunset stroll or send a gigantic teddy bear (what?).
All of those are great ideas (well, except for the humongous teddy bear), but what if Valentine’s Day comes and goes and we didn’t get what we had hoped for? Does that mean we aren’t loved? Or does it simply mean that the person who loves us showed love in a different way than we expected?
Will there be disillusionment? Dejection? Hurt feelings? Offensive comments? Silence? Will we turn away? Withhold love? Will we indulge in tears or self-pity?
What if God is the one who doesn’t show love the way we expect? Wait a minute, we would never expect God to bend his will to accommodate ours. Would we? And if God doesn’t give us exactly what we want, we would never say, “God must not love me.” Would we?
Do you blame God and reject him when he doesn’t give you what you want? Have you heard yourself say, “If God really loves me… God must not love me because he didn’t give me… I just don’t feel God’s love right now… Why does God allow this to happen to me if he loves me… How can a loving God…”
Are you disillusioned with God because you don’t feel loved by him? If you don’t feel loved by God, whose fault is it? It is not God’s. God loves unconditionally and eternally.
“The Lord said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods” Hosea 3:1 NIV
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1-2 NIV
Because I know that God loves me with a love that is unending and unconditional, I must believe that he loves me even when I don’t feel it. If I don’t feel God’s love, why is that? What is it about me that keeps me from receiving God’s love?
Have I blocked God’s love from my heart? Has resentment hardened my heart? Have I made an idol out of the one thing I want from God that he is not giving me? Am I refusing to accept whatever my loving God wants to give me because my lust for the only thing I want overshadows everything else?
Rather than accept whatever gift he offers, do I really prefer to stomp my feet, pout and say to my loving Father, “I don’t want that, I only want ice cream, and if you don’t give me ice cream (Hagen Daz, Butter Pecan) then you must not love me?”
What? Not me. Not you. Surely not!
God chose me and saved me from the penalty and the punishment of my sin while I was an unlovely and unlovable sinner. Is that not showing love?
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
God did not abandon me in my sin, or to my sin. Is that not showing love? God is continually at work in me bringing me to spiritual maturity. Is that not showing love?
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” Jude 24 NIV
Because God is who he says he is and does what he says he’s going to do, I can have a sure and certain hope about our relationship – and it is a relationship based on his love for me.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 NIV
Because I know that God loves me – he says so, and he has proven it by his actions – I can accept that whatever circumstance I am in, he still loves me. If I don’t feel loved, God forbid that I blame him.
On Valentine’s Day, if you are blessed to receive gifts, (even an enormous teddy bear), will you choose to embrace it as a sweet expression of love for you?
Will you daily choose to receive whatever God allows into your life as a token of his love? Should God allow hard things, or withhold the only thing you desire, will you trust that he has a loving purpose. It may not be what you want but it may be just the thing to propel you into the love and security of his open arms.