Valentines Day. The very idea strikes fear into the hearts of even the most noble of men. I’m one of them. That is, until a friend told me a secret. “I don’t buy flowers for my wife” he said, as he walked into the building carrying a bouquet. “I’m buying a happy wife!”
Wait, what did he say? He doesn’t like buying expensive flowers either. They don’t last long. But, he’s not buying flowers. He’s buying something that makes his wife happy. In fact, he buys them a week before the holiday and delivers them to her office. Why? Because she then gets to show them off to all her coworkers for a week and that makes her even happier.
Now, I’m may be somewhat cheap, but I’m not stupid. I realized I’d been looking at this thing all wrong. The problem wasn’t the cost of flowers, the issue was that I’d forgotten how to make her smile. How to love her!
I think in our relationship with God we sometimes reach a similar stage. We say we love God. But when it comes down to it, love is not an emotion, it’s a verb. Paul says that God demonstrated His love for us through the cross. The cross!
We want a sanitized version of love. Not this messy stuff. Just like Valentines Day, we want roses, candy, nice card, and a romantic ending. We want God’s love sanitized, too. None of this bloody cross stuff. That doesn’t work. If God really loves us then it ought to look like the American Dream. Big house, nice car, a couple of kids, and every other weekend at the lake house.
But, love can’t be sanitized. It is messy. Really messy. Love cannot expressed only one day a year with roses, candy and a hand written note. It has to be expressed daily in the midst of dirty clothes, runny noses, and oil changes.
God’s love can’t be sanitized either. It’s messy. Bloody cross messy. God loved you in the midst of your mess (Rom. 5:8). He wants your love even when your life is messy.