Psst. I Have a Valentine For You.
Excluding the candy swaps in fifth grade, February 14 has never really been on my radar, but the older I get the more my heart goes out to those who see this day as a reason to feel lonely.
Romance is the backbeat of our modern culture. Every film, book, show, and song plays to the rhythm of written-in-the-stars romance and happily ever afters and "twoo luv," which—let's be honest with ourselves—is fun most of the time. Who doesn't love a good Hallmark or a solid romantic subplot or the click moment when Janey and Johnny finally get their acts together and tell each other how they feel?
Let's not pretend we don't appreciate a good love story because nobody said we have to. The kind of love that binds a man and woman in commitment to each other is a beautiful gift from God and it's okay to appreciate it. It's also okay and perfectly normal to want it—as long as that desire isn't an idol and we're willing to throw it away if God shows us a different path forward.
Because here's the thing. Like with any wish, and especially one that saturates our culture, we must be wary. We must remember that our culture does not dictate what is best for us, and while many people are living their love stories as we speak, you may be in a different part of your story and that is something to joyfully embrace. God is in control. God knows love in its infinite complex layers more fully than we ever will. Love is not heart-shaped chocolate boxes or store-bought flowers or Hallmark flicks. Love isn't a vending-machine match that will give you everything you want and ask nothing from you. Love outside of Christ will not complete you. It may distract you, may give you the warm fuzzies, may be wonderful in its way, but without Jesus, it will not complete you.
See, there's a little detail that our culture always leaves out. Romantic love is not the only kind. It's not even the best or most important kind. The kind of love that brings a king down from heaven to die brutally in place of the beloved—that's the best kind. That's the kind we actually can't live without, so ignore any love song that tells you the same rules apply to romance. In Christ, they don't.
Jesus, lover of my soul. Think about those lyrics. Think about that word "lover" in its purest sense, its quintessential meaning. Jesus, lover of your soul—the one who knows you intimately, adores you passionately, can never be disappointed by you and will never disappoint. Jesus, lover of your soul—the one who will complete you. Who knows exactly what you need and what you're ready for and what future will bring you closest to him. Jesus, lover of your soul—the only love you really need.
It's okay to hold romance as a desire of your heart, but don't let the world tell you that your life won't begin until you have it. Offer that desire to God in surrender; if it's to be, He'll bring it along in the perfect time and you can positively thrive in the joy of the Lord until He does. If it isn't to be, remember that you're already taken. You're already living your love story. Jesus, lover of your soul, is above and beyond any love you could find here. In his love and only his, you are complete. And if you haven't tasted Jesus' love yet, this is what you've been missing.
Go. Run to him. Meet him in that corner of your heart you've been trying and failing to fill. He wants to be your Valentine today and always, and he will not disappoint you.
When Jesus says he loves you, it's forever and ever, amen.