A Valentine that Won't Disappoint!
Happy February. This is the month of Valentine’s Day. I don’t know about you, but I always seem to end up disappointed on this day. And it’s not my husband’s fault. This ONE day has been held up to such a high standard that our poor men are almost paralyzed, knowing that no matter WHAT they do or say, they will pale in comparison to the latest commercial or even to your friend’s husband or boyfriend. So often they decide that it’s not even worth it to try!
So whether or not your loved one will celebrate with you, try focusing your energy on a LOVE that will live up to your expectations. I’ve been meditating on Ephesians 3:17-19, where the apostle Paul is praying for his beloved friends in Ephesus. He writes,
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how WIDE and LONG and HIGH and DEEP is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
As I wondered what it might mean that God’s love is WIDE, I remembered Psalm 103:12 – “…as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” This is a love that flings our sins outside the dimensions of this world (a width with no end). I also think about the width between each of Christ hands as He was nailed to the cross. Our Savior and Redeemer, stretched out his arms and said, “I love you this much”. I also was reminded when Paul says here that we are to grasp the meaning of this love “together with all the saints;” so I imagine all of us saints, hand-in-hand, stretched across the globe, stretched across time – and I remember that there is ONE body of Christ, I am not alone, and I experience His love more fully when I experience it in community. His love is WIDE.
His love is also LONG. When I think of His love being LONG, I think of time. How long has He loved me? How long will it last? Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world, before there was time. In Romans 8:38 we’re told that neither the present nor the future will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing you do today will be able to keep Him from loving you; we know from 1 Corinthians 13:5 that His love keeps no record of wrongs. And when you and your children and their children wake up tomorrow and the next day and the next day His love will already be there because “His love endures forever” (Ps. 136). His love is LONG.
His love is HIGH. This is the hardest for me to imagine, because I think it’s describing a love that is above my ability to grasp with my finite mind. His love is higher, richer, fuller, grander and more wonderful than we will ever know with our minds or experience with our bodies or souls. But I am reminded that “neither angels nor demons, nor any power” (even powers outside this 3-dimensional world) will be able to separate us from this love. Just as I know that the air I breathe is higher and more full than just what I experience in my little space, I know that God’s love fully embraces me as it also fills the heavens and the earth. Without it we would cease to exist…for this love sustains all life. His love is HIGH.
Finally, His love is DEEP. To me, this is the most personal aspect of God’s love to me. I imagine my deepest longings, my desires, my thought life, my secret sins, my shame, the deepest part of me, parts I would love to hide. But His love reaches those places and NEVER draws away in shock, dismay, disappointment, or condemnation. The psalmist declares, “if I make my bed in the depths, You are there, O God” (Ps. 136:8). The fullness of His love meets me in those places and takes my breath away because of the purity of His devotion to me. Ephesians 2:4-5 says that “because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” In Psalm 86:13, David declares, “For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.” This is what God’s love does for us: it climbs down to our depths and lifts us up. And the hurts within me, the wounds, the scars, the aches of grief and sadness – God’s love can find these places and redeem the brokenness. The apostle Paul says we can be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. That blows my mind! His love is so DEEP.
So are your expectations high for this Valentines Day? Our God of Love is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
Written by guest author, Lori Ann Bach. Lori Ann Bach has been married for 28 years, is mom of 3, and realizes that love is more joyful when we don’t try to control it. TRUE love is messy and painful at times. It is also absolutely glorious when given and received freely – with no strings and no expectations. That’s easier said than done… but a journey worth traveling in the “muck” of real life!