A Love That Won’t Let Us Go

The “official” day of love is on our doorstep.  Yes, February 14, Valentine’s Day, when love will be expressed in flowers, cards, chocolates, going out to eat, dancing, and the expression of other “heart felt” overtures specifically designed to show our deep devotion and care to those special persons in our lives.  While these signs of affection and romance are so very important and sincerely warranted, we also realize that love is much more than a piece of cardboard which spits out a song when opened, or a multi-colored, hard candy in a shape of heart, which shares a cheesy slogan along with being hard on the teeth.  Love is sacrifice.  Love is truth.  Love is action.  Love is presence. Even in this sometimes hard, apathetic and self-centered world, we are still touched by a self-less love that is not bent on just receiving, but giving.  I was blessed to encounter this in my very own family.  In 1965, my maternal grandparents were suddenly killed, as their car was picked up, and thrown into the ditch by a night time tornado.  My two aunts, aged 10 and 14 were also in the automobile as they sustained serious, and long healing injuries.  After this horrific event my mother became her sister’s guardian, and when my parents were married a year later, all the parties began to live together under the same roof. Along with all this I was added to the mix many months later.  Through the years I came to understand that this was not an easy scenario.  There was grief, little money and limited room.  But that didn’t matter, because it was about sacrifice and love. So how is it possible for us humans, even imperfectly, to share this sacrificial love with another?  Because this love comes directly from God, and his Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  A love that will never let us go.  In the New Testament Book of I John 4:7 it is written, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. And whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”  Clearly, love only exists from God, and this love is provided to us to share.  So how do we know that God is serious about this sacrificial love or not?  Is it just words or are their actions behind it?  In I John 3:18 it says, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.” These days we are so inundated with words, aren’t we?  Whether it’s the internet, cable television or even a phone solicitation, how do we know if the things being said are true, or “fake news?”  Not long ago I received a phone call from an organization that wanted me to donate to their cause.   They wanted me to make a verbal pledge over the phone.  When I said that I wanted to see some information first, they balked.  So, I refused.  Some words seem hollow, but not the Word of the living God.  In John 3:16 Christ himself says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” In these true words we see that God is providing us with his sacrificial and eternal love in Jesus.  The greatest love ever known to humanity.  A love that will never let us go. As we come upon the recognition of Valentines, the worldwide day of love where the names of Hallmark, Russell Stovers and Cupid take center stage, let us realize that love is far more than just words and simplistic platitudes.  The foundation of all love itself is God.  And God showed us this sacrificial love by sending Jesus Christ to be our Savior.  As we are reminded by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”