This is the forty-fourth Valentine’s Day that Brian and I have been together, and for the most part, they’ve all been wonderful. However, there were a couple times that he forgot.
Yep, he forgot Valentine’s Day. How does one forget Valentine’s Day? Perhaps because their valentine is not exactly acting like a valentine? Or because life is sometimes too busy? Or maybe there are distractions that just overtake the calendar and the day sneaks up on you.
In Brian’s defense – there is probably no woman on the planet who receives more sweet romantic cards, flowers, and gifts out of the blue than I do – he does not fail to let me know he loves and appreciates me. Nevertheless, those two Valentine’s Days… I’m embarrassed to say, bothered me.
Did it mean Brian loved me less on February 14, than he did on the 13th or 15th? No. And one of those years, we were on a vacation together, just the two of us, on a Caribbean Island! Was that not enough for me? Ugh – humiliatingly enough – at the time, it wasn’t.
The reality is, if you’ve been with someone long enough that the first blush of true love has faded into a memory, there are probably times when you’ve been let down. Heaven knows I’ve let Brian down so many times – it’s really a good thing he doesn’t have a blog! Although after today, he might start one!
People are human. We let others down. We always have. We always will. We will never be perfect, nor will we ever be enough to meet all the needs of any other person. No one can. Well, no one, except God.
Oh, wait, you say, God has let you down? God has forgotten you? You’ve been praying for something and God is not giving it to you? You’ve begun to question if God even listens? Does God really care? Perhaps you’re wondering if God is as good, loving, caring, giving, compassionate, and kind as everyone says? If he is, then why isn’t he giving you the things you want, on the day you want, in the way you want?
Well, perhaps, he is. Maybe he is giving you the very thing you want most: independence.
If it seems God is not hearing you, perhaps it is because in your quest for independence you are not listening to him. He tells us that if we turn a deaf ear toward him, even our prayers are detestable to him. When we choose to rebel against his holiness, the way he would have us live, and live within the boundaries of our own compromise and makeshift rules, then, he does not listen to our prayers.
How dare we ask him to intervene in our lives with good things, if we are not living our lives for his goodness? In our rebellion, in our selfishness and self-focus, in our disrespect, what we are saying by our actions is that we want independence from God! And, when we seek independence by our choices, that is sometimes what he gives us; he gives us over to the desires of our minds.
When I think back on our Valentine’s Day failures, I must confess that I am as much to blame as Brian. Those were times when we were not leaning in to God or each other as much as we should have been. We were self-focused and selfish. Which is probably why it bothered me so much – when our eyes are on ourselves, just about any slight, or oversight, will set us off.
If you feel like God has forgotten you, could it be because you have forgotten God? Sure, maybe you still pray, read lots of books, post lots of religious sayings on social media – but have you forgotten God? Have you forgotten the holiness to which God calls you? Have you forgotten who it is that sustains the universe, even as he sustains you? Have you forgotten your first love?
Do you love Jesus the way you did when you first gave your heart and your life to him? Or have you compromised his way and chosen your own? Do you love Jesus the way you did when you couldn’t stop talking about him, and wanted everyone to know him; when you couldn’t wait to spend time with him?
If Thursday was a Valentine’s Day to Jesus – the day when you had free reign to show him how wonderful he is, and how much he means to you – would he feel forgotten? Slighted? Would you be pleased with the way you have shown him love throughout the year? Or would you be making excuses for where you are now in your relationship?
Fortunately, the cure for independence is repentance: turning away from our sinful pursuits and turning toward Jesus. It is turning away from compromise and turning toward commitment. It is turning away from the ways of the world and turning toward the ways of God.
But, first, we must recognize and confess that our independence is sin. Confession is simply agreeing with God that he is right. When we confess, God is faithful to forgive us and restore us.
Is it time to show Jesus – by your actions – that he truly is your first love? Anyone can say, “I love you”, but it is by our actions that we prove it. Do your actions yesterday or today say “I love you” to Jesus?
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