Be My Valentine

valentine.jpgThis is February 14th…Valentine’s Day.  For some girls and women, it’s an exciting occasion to enjoy the love of their special guy.  But for single women who want to be attached, it can instead be a painful reminder of what they don’t have.
    
Most young girls dream about getting married.  Oftentimes, a bride will have definite ideas about her wedding ceremony, that were formulated years before she even met her fiance.  Maybe we’re wired that way.
    
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule.  But nevertheless, marriage is a fascinating topic to girls and young ladies, even from very early on in their lives.
     
Many successful career woman with prodigious degrees and levels of learning declare themselves completely willing to give it all up if they could only find “the right guy”.  Deep in our hearts, there is a strange yearning in all of us for true love and a happy marital state.  I truly believe that even women who try to supress that feeling, have it deep inside, and someone with the love and skill required can and will draw it out.
        
Do you remember Ava Gardner?  Maybe you’ve seen her in one of her numerous films, like Showboat.  She began acting in the early 1940’s and soon gained a reputation as being among the most beautiful actresses in show business, as well as one of the most talented.  She had it all, right?
         
Here is a quote from Ava which was added in an article, dated January 27, 1990, in the Arizona Republic, which was written about her following her death.
            
“I act for money, no other reason.  Since I made my first picture in 1941, I haven’t done a thing worthwhile.  I have never enjoyed making films, and I don’t like being a so-called film star.  I haven’t the emotional make-up for it, nor the love of exhibitionism.  I am much too shy.  [I’d rather find] one good man I could love and marry and cook for and make a home for, who would stick around for the rest of my life.  I never found him.  If I had, I would have traded my career in a minute.”
             
This quote breaks my heart.  Though Ava Gardner is listed as one of the American Film Institute’s greatest stars of all time, it is obvious that she was never really happy.  Her three failed marriages to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra, her abortion; these things must have plagued her.  We would think that someone like Ava Gardner would have it all…fame, beauty, talent, prestige.  But her own words are a testimony to her inner unhappiness.
         
But the truth is, not even our deepest longings can truly satisfy us apart from Christ, and God can give us peace no matter our circumstances.
           
Oftentimes, we can follow the extreme of idolizing marriage and love.  I think this especially happens among Christian young women.  We truly feel that God’s calling in our lives is marriage, and so often focus all our hopes and energies on that one point.  This, too, is erroneous.
         
Only when we find our satisfaction in Christ will we find ourselves truly contented, regardless of our circumstances.
       
But sometimes we become so obsessed with the gifts of our good God (such as marriage) that forget the Giver.  This is exactly what we should not do.  Those very gifts should point us to the Lord, causing us to give Him more glory, rather than distracting us from Him, His goodness, and His benevolence.  We should never think God a selfish ogre, good things like wealth, beauty, love, friendship, etc. are His gifts to us.  He provides them!  All He asks is that we keep things in perspective.
      
God is not trying to steal our joy, He gives us every good thing we possess.  Remember the famous words of James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  He desires to give us good things, for He is the good Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children, and He loves us.
      
A woman once told me a story about her engagement to her beloved.  He secured the promise with a beautiful diamond ring.  This young woman had never owned such a valuable, beautiful thing, and grew to cherish the small ring to such a point that she almost idolized it.  In her zeal for the gift, she even neglected the giver.  Whereas the diamond ring was meant to remind her of the love and devotion of her suitor, she focused on the sparkling beauty of her jewel.  Whereas the ring was meant to increase her love for him, it distracted her.
       
This is what happens when we allow God’s gifts to divert our attention from His goodness and mercy, and often leads to the sad conclusion that God is trying to spoil and wreck our happiness when He demands that we give Him the glory He deserves, and focus on Him, rather than the things He has given us.
      
Dear sisters who are married, engaged or dating, enjoy this Valentine’s Day with all your heart, and the affection of a man whose love for you mirrors Christ’s. You are truly experiencing one of God’s richest gifts.  But remember, always remember, to focus your eyes on Jesus.  In Him alone will you find true satisfaction.  Even when your beloved fails you, He will not.  He is faithful, steadfast, true, the picture of love 1 Corinthians 13 was painted from, the promise  of fidelity in Hebrews 13:8 that will never be broken.  Your Father adores you as His perfect princess, and sees you as truly beautiful.
         
And to those who are still “waiting”…don’t wait any longer.  You are deeply loved by the only One who can satisfy your heart’s deepest longings.  Do not focus your attention on the gift of matrimony, but on the Giver.  Go about His business, make your life profitable for His glory and His people’s good.  And if your prince should someday come, he will not find you idle, but deeply content and richly employed in God’s service.  A truly godly man will find that more beautiful than the fairest face.  And you will find far greater happiness as a married woman if you have already learned to find your true source of inner peace in Christ alone.
      
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death or life, nor angels or rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39
             
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