In the past few weeks, my spam folder filled with emails offering me pictures and promises of love. Romance is just a click away. Love is guaranteed if you open this. Read now if you want to secure true love. Needless to say, my delete button has seen a lot of use. But seeing all these emails stack up reminded me how many people are searching to fill an empty place in their hearts, to feel important to someone and loved.
So much of what pretends to be love in is counterfeit. A recent news story revealed how many people are duped by scammers on online dating sites. After establishing a “relationship,” the scammers provide a convincing fiction of an urgent need for money and cheat their mark out of hundreds or thousands of dollars. While it’s easy to think people are stupid to fall for this scam, it underscores how much people want to be in a loving relationship, how they push aside wisdom and reason, and risk almost anything to attain that.
On Valentine’s Day, the focus is all about romance, flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and other expressions of love. Love is portrayed in various scenarios: couples dressed up and dining out, looking dreamily into each others’ eyes, or planning a romantic getaway. But true love, a love that endures, isn’t always about romance. In fact, most of the time, it’s grittier than that. Enduring love sits by the hospital bed of a seriously ill or dying spouse, child, parent, sibling, or friend. Real love encounters deception, misunderstandings, hardship, financial distress, addiction, chronic illness and hangs on. Genuine love faithfully makes the journey of grief with a friend or loved one. True love forgives.
Today, on a day that focuses on romantic love, shift you focus instead to an enduring love that values you, cares deeply about you, wants the best for you, comforts, sustains, forgives, and has a plan for you. That love is the love God has for you. It is like no other love. It is constant, redeeming love. God’s love doesn’t disappear when you encounter situations that feel hopeless. His love doesn’t fail when you need it most. While your circumstances may remain unchanged, or you grief may feel as acute as it did when loss first occurred, God’s love is an abiding presence and will see you through. Move forward with the assurance of God’s love.
” 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)
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.” (1 John 3:1 NLT)
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:3-7, 13 NLT)