“It’s almost as if the world wants to rub my loneliness in my face.”
St. Valentine’s day is a cruel holiday. In the shadow of all the pink hearts and flying cupids are scores of people hiding their grief and heartache.
Hearts, flowers and discussions of “perfect dates” cover up the wounds that are carried by many people.
In our church we set aside one Sunday to address the challenge of relationships and also the heartbreak of relationships.
Often widows, singles, and persons with wounded, broken hearts will find something else to do on that Sunday. Their loss is something they believe is to great to bear, to tender to the touch, to display so openly in public.
The day brings back memories and opens up unhealed parts of love that has not healed yet. They’d rather catch up on reading, gardening, shopping or even sleep than “do the church thing” be out in “public.”
Some know that the inevitable question: “How are you doing?” will be asked, and in the context of a Christian community, will really be meant. And so they’d have to answer, honestly. And they are not sure they are ready or able to answer.
It’s a private thing, a privacy thing.
The world expects movement, growth, healing. The world expects new love to replace old, hearts and flowers to cover thoughts of loss and grief, smiles when it’s all one can do to simply exist.
Where does one go with such pain? What does one do when the hole in our hearts cannot be filled?
It takes courage to face such loss and pain. It takes a heart “ready” to risk renewed wounding. Most of us would rather put that off as long as possible.
The power of the cross of Jesus is not a “magical” power in the sense that simply looking or “believing” will make everything whole again.
Simple biblical words repeated over and over again are not a mantra that changes what has happened to us or what we feel.
We cannot pretend that things are better simply because we want them to be or because we’ve gone through the motions.
We’ve tried that. It doesn’t work.
Healing needs to happen at a much deeper level. A level of understanding, of forgiveness and of trust.
We need to understand that the world’s love of transactions and exchanges, one act for another, one consideration for another, time for me and time for you is deeply flawed. It exists because we settle for what scraps of caring it offers.
Likewise, family love only goes so far. Remembered history and cruel words, often said in the heat of anger, aggression and defensiveness, linger far longer than we think possible.
There is a love that goes deeper than those limited loves. It’s a love that built on a more challenging idea that simply: “We have lots in common” or “We have a chemistry.”
It’s a love build on forgiveness and commitment in a mutually trusting relationship that respects each other.
And it doesn’t stop there. A deeper love exists that is built on unconditional love that never let’s go, even when faced with the tough love of facing our less than adequate actions and less than perfect thoughts.
These loves are the loves that have their deepest source in God. They come from the desire of what’s really best for others and for ourselves and are not content to rely on worldly love, transactional love, exchange love.
Love is not a business, it’s not a commodity that fills our empty hearts so that we no longer ache anymore.
Treating it like that only encourages it to leak out of our broken places and leaving us much more empty than before.
Love is the fabric of relationship itself, woven with small acts of trust, affection and kindness. It is carefully and gently constructed not so much in the heat of physical passion as in the longing to be with another, the daily commitment to renew the relationship.
That’s what makes the widow, the single parent, the broken-hearted stay away from marriage events.
They don’t know is such love can happen again. They don’t know if they want such love to happen again. They’ve been disappointed when they’ve opened themselves to love and found it wanting, more of the world’s love and little of the deeper, Godly, forgiving and unconditional love.
So, they avoid the very place where it can be most easily found. The times and places where the church, the body of Christ struggles to understand such love.
Let’s be honest. Love leaves so many of our wounded and broken. That’s why the Dr. Phil show is the top rated talk show in the nation and has been for a long time.*
It’s all about love and people are looking for answers.
Take a step, trust God can heal. Read 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8. It may be painful, difficult and challenging, but put yourself in a place that dedicated to a deeper love, a love that has no limits.
Join us on Sundays as we explore the wonder, the power, the healing of God’s eternal love.
What scripture has stayed with you this week?
What have others learned about Jesus Christ because of you?
How goes it with your soul?
Grace and Peace,