It’s 2:45 am on Tuesday morning & as the rest of the house sleeps, my mom & I find ourselves awake in an all-too-familiar situation. She’s fighting sleep in the chair that stays beside my bed for times like these. I’m slumped over in my bed, head resting on my trusty pink barf bucket, & the tears pouring out of my tired eyes. I have yet to sleep this night or to find any relief from my all-consuming pain and nausea. After several hours of this I had to call my momma to come in-just having her there (awake or asleep) gives me a little comfort & reminds me that I’m not alone. She asks me if there’s anything she can do: fluff my pillows, give me more medicine, do I need some gum a drink a snack..? All the while I know she is lovingly doing the only thing she can to help: praying. Through my sobs I’m able to confess something to her, something I’ve had on my heart for some time but feel shame in admitting, “I feel like I’m being ignored.” Confused, knowing I surely can’t be talking about her, my mom asks, “By who?” My answer is silent as I point my index finger to the sky, obviously meaning God. I can’t stop crying.
Lately, in these dark moments I feel abandoned by my Father. Though I’m constantly in prayer, pleading for just one moment of relief, begging for Him to step in & DO SOMETHING, I can’t seem to find a reply. Like Job, I’m asking so many questions. Where is my help? Where is my God when I need Him most? Why won’t he listen in my desperation? How much more can I take–how can I continue to find joy when I’m drowning in sorrow?
I always know in my heart that He is with me and for me and no matter the situation– that belief cannot/will not be shaken. But honestly, sometimes, he can be so so hard to find. Lucky for me, I am blessed to have a godly mother, someone who can always find a rainbow when my sight is clouded with darkness. She reminds me that suffering builds perseverance, that worldly suffering is not permanent…to keep trusting. I’m instantly reminded of a wonderful bit of knowledge I heard earlier in the week while watching the IF Conference online. (I so wish I could have been a part of it at my church–thankful for modern day technology!) One of the women speaking said something along the lines of, “Having faith means that God does not have to explain himself.” I’m blown away by those words as I’m sure they are complete truth. God does not have to answer to me; He does not have to explain His will or His way. As stated before, the situation is not a unique one in our lives. In fact, Tuesday was the first of three of those nights– this week alone (last night included.) But, even through all of this I cannot stay angry, sad or disappointed with God when I feel myself wrapped so tightly in the arms of love.
In light of Valentine’s Day, I want to reflect upon & share with you these beautiful arms of love that come only from The Lord God. Valentine’s Day is the ultimate day of love with a specific focus on romantic love & the crazy sparks that come from two people who are deeply connected on every level. As I see it, Valentine’s is also a holiday to celebrate God & the ability He has given us to love, since literally- God IS love (1 John 4:8). We are only able to love others because He first loved us & demonstrated that love by sending His Son to die on the cross for OUR sins. When we are celebrating love we must recognize that love CANNOT exist outside of God & love is not true without Him in it. Whether you share this belief with me or not, whether you intentionally include God in your love or you intentionally leave Him out of it–where there is love, there is God. And the beauty of it all is this; if you have experienced love, you have experienced God. And even if this world has shown you nothing but abandonment or you’ve never felt the joy of love from another human being–rest assured that YOU ARE LOVED by The King of Kings who formed you with purpose and delights in you.
“Let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God, whoever does not love does not know God, because GOD IS LOVE.” 1 John 4:7-8
“…This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (V. 10)
“We love because He FIRST loved us.” (V. 19)
Many Christians (myself included) are guilty of putting romantic love on the throne of their hearts as top priority, above all else. We’re guilty of saying things such as, “That person is the other half to my heart.” “You complete me.” “I’m not whole without you.” And while I truly feel that way about my love, Tyler, & would be utterly devastated if we were not together– God’s love is more than enough for us. God’s love is complete, lacking nothing, & is the only love that can fully satisfy your soul. God’s love is the love that completes us, makes us whole, rounds out our hearts. Love from our Heavenly Father should not be on the sidelines of our lives or thought of as an “add-on.” Instead, it must take priority as it is the only true love in existence.
“…May have power together with all the Lord’s holy people 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.” Ephesians 3:18-19
The final message laid on my heart to share with you today, is a reminder of just how grand His love for you truly is. From family love, to romantic, from friendship love, to agape I see how incredibly blessed I am to have experienced love in all these forms. Sadly, I realize not everyone is so lucky. The first time I heard the song, “More” by Matthew West I was reduced to tears at the beauty of his lyrics. The song is an anthem from God to His children, telling us that he loves us more than all the rest of His amazing creation. As I listened, I began to consider all those around the globe who may not know this love. Those who are hurting, those who are considering ending their lives because they have searched & searched for true love but come up empty every time, those who feel hopelessly alone, those who are lost waiting to be found. If you fall into any of those categories, or even if you don’t, I urge you to listen to this song & feel the arms of love wrapped around you…the only arms which will never let go.
“I love you more than the sun
& the stars that I taught how to shine
You are MINE & you shine for me too
I love you
Yesterday & today & forever
I’ll say it again & again
I love you more
And I see you
And I made you
& I love you more than you can imagine
More than you can fathom
I love you more than the sun
And you shine for me.”
Today & every day I pray that you would fully believe it when the King of Kings sweetly whispers to your heart, “I love you more.”