Occasionally in my life, something irreversible happens that ultimately influences my behavior or thought process from that point forward. There are many such happenings, but today, on the day put aside for the commemoration of all things love-related, I cannot help but remember a particular book I read over this past summer. It was I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. I won’t spend time articulating the particulars of the book here (suffice it to say I wrote a 9-page review about it because I simply could not contain my fascination and love with the ideas presented), but rather state that it did indeed serve to change the way I think.
Throughout the book, Harris presents an underlying theme of love for God and a relationship with Him before those with others. It was intriguing to read a book that was about love for others and yet find that in reality, it’s not about us at all. Every time I found myself thinking in terms of “me”, Harris would turn the script around, zoom out, and include God in his narrative. That is one of the primary reasons I adored the book so much.
This being said, as I ponder Valentine’s Day this year, I find myself realizing that it really isn’t about me. It’s not about what I want or what I wish I had, about all the alternate realities I could be living. It’s about the Almighty Creator who fashioned me, put me together piece by piece, and brought me to where I stand this day. It’s about understanding the power and depths of His love for me and how I need to love Him with fervor and passion as well, every day of my life.
There are countless verses in the Bible that articulate these points far better than I ever could, the most powerful of which is “God is love” (1 John 4:8). It is simply stated and yet cannot be clearer. God loves us with a power that we are not even able to fathom. It’s not easy to imagine giving your life for someone that you love, and perhaps completely impossible to think of dying for someone who has wronged you or even unassociated to you. And yet, “God so loved the world, that He gave His Only-Begotten Son” (John 3:16). This is a fact that all Christians are accustomed to hearing and seeing, but personally, I glaze over it far too often. I need to stop and remind myself of the extent of God’s love for humanity and learn to trust Him unwaveringly in all aspects of my life, knowing that His love for me allows for all things that happen in my life.
There is another set of verses that always strike me as remarkable, written in the book of Psalms. The entirety of Psalm 139 is an amazing reminder of the goodness and pure love of God, but the verses that stand out most to me are verse 13 and 14: “For You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” The first time I read these verses, I took a moment to look up and meditate on them. The truth that David speaks here cannot be placed into words. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Me. How humbling it is to imagine that the One who crafted the universe, from the galaxies within it, to the smallest undetectable microorganisms also crafted me, piece by piece. My heart belongs to the Maker of the Stars. He is the One who fashioned it, the One who made me who I am. I owe everything to Him. I want to reach the point in my life where I truly comprehend the marvelousness of everything God has done for me, and actively thank Him and love Him steadfastly every day, as David did in this psalm.
It is because of this that this Valentine’s Day (and every day for that matter) I will make it a priority of mine to truly remember and be mindful of this great love of which I am not worthy. Too often we become entangled in everyday life and the humans with whom we interact. This is not to say we shouldn’t love everyone around us (“love your neighbor as yourself”), but rather that no love for another human or anything pertaining to this earth should be greater than our love for God. Hence, I am beginning to question the attention given to others on Valentine’s Day. I feel that we must first learn to love God and then draw from this love for our relationships with the people around us. It’s not easy to look up from the very tangible ways of humanity to the unlimited and incomprehensible Creator, but I know that when we do, we will truly find the most perfect and pure form of love in existence.
"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8