February 14, 2017
Today is Valentine’s Day, a great day to be in love. It is so special to enjoy one of God’s blessings – a romantic relationship with my best friend who we share so much of our lives together. To love her and feel her love for me is amazing. Unfortunately, I also feel convicted because I don’t express my love every day to my wife, Martine, as I should and like I do on Valentine’s Day. Like most holidays in our society, Valentine’s Day has become overly commercialized, but today, we’re reminded of God’s special gift of the beauty and spiritual magic of true romance.
No matter how we try to describe or define it, even with the help of the best greeting card, romance remains an awesome mystery. However, as with all aspects of life, the Bible remains the real source of truth, even when it comes to the essentials of romance! In Solomon’s Song of Songs, we get a glimpse of the mystery and power of romance. In this evocative description of romantic love, we learn that it means intimacy, connection, and intense emotional excitement. We see how deep affection inspires desire and complete appreciation for another … essentially, being romantic means pursuing the object of our affection at all costs. Just like the love-smitten knight who fights enemies and dragons, endures all hardship, and stops and nothing to protect and save the object of his love, the fair damsel in distress.
Isn’t that what Jesus did? Didn’t He pursue us all the way from heaven down to a dirty manger … giving up the position and perks of kingship to be subjected to a bunch of inferior knuckleheaded humans? He gave up comfort, safety, and ultimately, His life. He paid the harsh penalty for all the sins of the world. The worst was hanging on the cross for 3 hours, enduring excruciating spiritual separation from His Father and the Holy Spirit after having been eternally intertwined with them until that very moment when all went dark. He willingly endured all that to be in a passionate and intimate relationship with each one of us.
The book of Hosea tells that even though we stray towards superficial one-night stands, God still loves and pursues us. Oh, how He is saddened when we reject Him, just as our hearts break when others reject us. (And we haven’t given Him even 1% of what He gives us.) The most important thing we learn in Hosea is that God intended romance on Earth to culminate in the unbreakable bond of married love. It is a shame how we reduce the value of marriage, love, and sex. Instead, God wants us to follow His plan for romance … how it really plays out and fulfills us. We miss so much blessing and ask for painful heartache when we stray from His plan and redefine life and its elements to fit our fleshly needs and desires.
Today, in addition to (or as a replacement for) the card, flowers and candy, read passages from Song of Songs to your Valentine. Or read the Gospel accounts of the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. Our Lord and God would not have provided us with this scriptural celebration of love and romance unless He intended it to be inspiring and life-saving. Think about what Jesus willingly sacrificed and what God regularly does for you … all to romance you. Why wouldn’t you romance God and Jesus back? Whether you choose to return His romancing to Him and to the special person He put in your life, or you turn to empty one-night stands for your spiritual and lustful needs is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I thank You for the gifts of romantic attraction and love at first sight. You blessed me with both of these when I saw Martine that first night. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of Your love for me by sending her to love me. Please help me show her my love for her as a glimpse of Your love for her. I pray that everyone in the Stepping Stones community would pursue their spouse joyfully and creatively for all the days of their lives in a way that is pleasing to You. And for those who are still searching, help them look to You for love first. May you meet every need. For those who have been hurt in the past, help them turn to you for your comfort, healing, and peace. I pray this in the name of the One whom You sent to teach us how to love, Jesus Christ; And all God’s children say – AMEN!
My beloved is mine, and I am his… Song of Solomon 2:16
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Song of Solomon 8:6
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a