- Posted on February 12, 2019
by Joanna Hopkins, first grade teacher
This week is Valentine’s Day, and we know what that means. Love is in the air!
As children, we all dream about happily ever after. We pine away waiting for the knight on the white horse or daydream about love that is never anything less than perfect. When you think of perfect love, who do you think of? While many of you probably think of Cinderella and Prince Charming; when I think of perfect love, my thoughts turn to Adam and Eve.
Kind of a bad choice for “perfect love” you might say; but Adam and Eve, while best known for the single worst mistake in history, were still the first couple ever made for each other in the literal and spiritual sense. God made Eve especially for Adam. She was made for him and from him. Their relationship was God’s handiwork and despite the whole apple thing, they created quite the life together.
Just like many love stories today, I have never turned a pumpkin into a carriage and my husband has never trotted in on a white horse to save me from some wicked queen. However, I have turned lemons into lemonade many days, and he makes the cutest neigh when he gives our kids piggyback rides around the yard. We bicker from time to time. We don’t go dancing on Friday nights or awake every morning to breakfast in bed. He snores. I nag. He watches too much Sports Center and I watch too much Lifetime. But while we two are far from perfect, we love each other perfectly. God created our marriage in His perfect manner, in His perfect way … as only He can do.
God tells us in 1 John 4:12, “If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
So, even though Adam and Eve were the epitomes of imperfection, their imperfection was made perfect in their love for one another. No matter how flawed they were, their marriage was created in perfect love because the Master created it and He dwelt within the midst.
Don’t stress over living up to the fairytale. Your love story, no matter how simple or how elaborate, was designed by God. He perfected it. He wrote it. He even illustrated it and signed his name on your copy. He’s the author and the finisher. (Hebrews 12:2)
Happily ever after doesn’t always come with ball gowns and white horses. Most of the time, it comes with sweat pants and minivans. But that’s ok, because if it comes from God, it’s perfect and nothing less.
In modern day, when we think of love in the Bible, we think of 1 Corinthians 13:
“Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
There are a lot of expectations for Valentine’s Day. Someone, probably a Hallmark employee, decided that February 14th would be the day to declare and demonstrate your love to that special someone. Cards, flowers, and chocolates caught on quickly and became a near requirement even for preschool children. But what gets lost in finding the perfect card or gift is the very essence of what love is and how we can best share that with those around us.
I Corinthians 13 is the famous biblical love chapter in Christian circles and beyond. It’s beautiful because it describes the kind of perfect love that God has for us and through him we are able to love our spouses, children, extended family, co-workers, and neighbors this same way. It’s an active love; a love that is more committed to that person than our own feelings at the time. Gift giving isn’t even mentioned because this love, God’s perfect love, is worth so much more than anything money could ever buy.
Sometimes a gift is a hit and sometimes it’s a miss. In any case, as either the giver or recipient, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking the gift is the sum of how much we love or are loved. We can enjoy Valentine’s Day as a good excuse to spoil the ones we love and share God’s love in a special way with those who are lonely and hurting. But let’s stay focused: no material thing or sentimental card can ever replace the simple gestures of God’s love expressed every day. So remember as we love others this week and beyond: Love them like Jesus.