It’s that time of year when all is pink and red, hearts and candy. Love. Love is in the air. Who else is bit sickened by all the sappy, sugary, sentimental appeals to love? Even those of us who may have a “Valentine” find all the Valentine’s Day hype a bit over the top.
And what about those of us who are alone? Or are grieving the loss of a loved one? What if we find ourselves estranged from those we love? All that pink and red feels like a wound to our souls.
May I suggest that there is a love that is defined not by pink hearts and chocolates and flowers? There is a love that is not fickle but is fearless. There is a love that can transform even the most jaded of Valentine’s Day haters.
I offer this prayer, from the Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers:
Give me to love thee, to embrace thee,
though I once took lust and sin in my arms.
Thou didst love me before I loved thee,
an enemy, a sinner, a loathsome worm.
Thou didst own me when I disclaimed myself;
Thou dost love me as a son,
and weep over me as over Jerusalem.
Love brought thee from heaven to earth,
from earth to the cross,
from the cross to the grave.
Love caused thee to be
weary, hungry, tempted,
buffeted, spat upon,
crucified, and pierced.
Love led thee to bow thy head in death.
My salvation is the point where
perfect created love
and the most perfect uncreated love
for thou dost welcome me,
not like Joseph and his brothers,
loving and sorrowing, but loving and rejoicing.
This love is not intermittent, cold, changeable;
it does not cease or abate for all my enmity.
Holiness is a spark from thy love
kindled to a flame in my heart by thy Spirit,
and so it ever turns to the place
from which it comes.
Let me see thy love everywhere,
not only in the cross,
but in the fellowship of believers
and in the world around me.
When I feel the warmth of the sun
may I praise thee who art the Sun of righteousness
with healing power.
When I feel the tender rain
may I think of the gospel showers
that water my soul.
When I walk by the river side
may I praise thee for that stream that makes
the eternal city glad, and washes white my robes
that I may have the right to the tree of life.
Thy infinite love is a mystery of mysteries,
and my eternal rest lies
in the eternal enjoyment of it.
Where do you see God’s love around you? It is there if you but ask for eyes to see. My prayer for you is that you will be encouraged and surrounded by His love – not just in February, but for all eternity.