In my almost 40 years on the earth, I’ve experienced the four emotions of Valentine’s Day—loneliness, euphoria, pressure, and apathy.
From puberty through my high school graduation, mid-February was a lonely time. While my friends bought flowers and planned dinner dates, I continued my streak of being girlfriend-free, dateless, and yet-to-be-kissed. These days, I joke that I was protecting my purity from a mob of couldn’t-keep-their-hands-off-me girls, but back then I didn’t find my relationship status a joking matter. I was lonely.
(And the prime reason I was keeping that no-sex-before-marriage rule was because I couldn’t find someone who wanted to break the rule with me . . .)
Once I went to college, however, my loneliness streak ended. Kim and I became “official” on November 22, 1999, and my millennium was euphoric with love. Even a Minnesota winter couldn’t stop my heart from burning with excitement for this young woman, an energy that spilled over into handwritten poems (that Shakespeare surely would have plagiarized) and Kim’s favorite songs,which I learned to play on the piano (despite having taken zero lessons!). Needless to say, I counted down to that first February 14th like a child on his first trip to Disney.
But now, as we pass the 20-year mark of our relationship, that euphoria has morphed into either pressure or apathy. While I’m an extremist in my commitment to date Kim until I die and love her in more practical ways than ever, February brings the annual question that most middle-aged couples ask, “We doing anything this year?” Depending on the answer, we either feel the pressure of finding the perfect gift or the apathy of not caring about the commercialization of our affection.
That’s my Valentine’s Day story. What’s yours?
I have a hunch that you have experienced/are experiencing one of those four emotions, which seem to be amplified by our smartphone world. That’s why I want to give you some really good news today, news that I gushed about in a recent book I wrote called 3 Words That Will Change Your Life. Ready for it?
No matter what your relationships status, GOD is here.
Those three words, and their proper punctuation, have the potential to change your Valentine’s Day. Let me explain why:
If GOD is here, then loneliness has met its match. GOD isn’t over there with the hand-holding couples at school. Or over there with the coworker whose desk is plastered with romantic pictures of her significant other. Or over there with all the social media sweethearts who need to stop it with their digital displays of affection.
No, GOD is here. With you. Right now. Stop for a second and think about his presence in the place where you now are.
In addition, he is GOD. Not “god,” some generic higher power or vague spiritual force. Not “God,” the official divine being of the theology syllabus. No, he is GOD! The GOD who is better than the best people you know. The GOD who is more satisfying, more selfless, more kind, more creative, more patient, more peace-giving, more loving, more likable than your high school sweetheart or Mr. Blue Eyes from sales.
That’s the truly euphoric fact of Valentine’s Day. If some human being, who is here today and dead tomorrow (no offense), can make me feel happy, imagine GOD! If getting a text from that guy or a “want to grab dinner” DM from that girl would make you run around the room with joy, imagine GOD! Imagine an invitation to spend time in his presence! Imagine being the object of his love! How good must GOD be if he is better than Valentine’s Day’s best?
Even better, there’s no pressure to be good enough for GOD. Singles often feel the pressure of a competitive dating environment (think the Hunger Games with less death) where only one girl gets the guy. This is why we obsessively compare ourselves to others and why we have to constantly work on our hair/makeup/body/online persona/etc. to get and keep someone’s attention. It’s a love treadmill that never lets you rest and never guarantees you’re getting anywhere anyway.
But GOD isn’t like that. GOD shows up just when you think all you’re getting is a Hallmark movie and a tub of Chunky Monkey ice cream. He shows up with a box of grace, tied up with a red ribbon to remind you of Jesus’ sacrifice (Titus 3:5-7). He shows up and smiles as you stand there, makeup free, in your raggiest sweats. GOD chooses to love us now, even if we are at our spiritual worst, to be there even when we’re fully aware that he shouldn’t be (1 Timothy 1:15). Jesus lived and died so that anyone who believes in him, even you, could be here with GOD, even now (John 14:6).
Those three words are packed with spiritual potential this Valentine’s Day. All of your best moments, romantic and otherwise, move your mind to remember how good GOD must be if he is better than this. All of your worst moments drive you to the one thing you can always rely on, the GOD whose presence isn’t based on your performance.
So, I can’t promise you a hot date this Valentine’s Day. But, through faith in Jesus, I can promise you something even better, something that will make those Instagram couples’ candlelight dinners seem lame by comparison.
GOD. Because of Jesus, GOD is here.