It’s Valentine’s Day. A day of romance. A day to celebrate love. I think every person has a God-created desire to be fully known. We long for someone to comprehend our deepest heart’s cries…our longings, our dreams, our fears, our visions, our struggles, and our hopes. To be known for our true selves, to be loved as we are, to be accepted and affirmed is our greatest need. We may not even be aware of it, but we are looking for it always.
When we are young, we look to our parents to fill this need. And as parents, we desire to meet it for our children. As we grow, we look to others…teachers, coaches, pastors, counselors, and friends. We hope that we will have at least one person who will fully understand our deepest self. It’s not long before we begin to look for our soul mate…the perfect partner who will be all that we long for and understand us in a way no other person can. This is where romance comes on the scene. The feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.
We continually seek this knowing and being known. And we continually find difficulty. The mystery of it all confounds us. Broken hearts and broken relationships make us cynical that this kind of love even exists. Yet, our hearts still cry out for it, and the search goes on. Even when we find “the one,” our fairy tale dreams burst at the first argument and soon we see that even our perfect love isn’t perfect. It is a dilemma to be sure. We find that love isn’t always a feeling…it is a commitment. It is work. It is hard. Somehow it doesn’t feel as if being fully known should be this difficult. Underneath it all, the longing is still there, waiting to be met. Even in relationships that are healthy and good there are some gaps that no person can fill.
I read 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, and I SEE the love we are all looking for. I also SEE how short of that kind of love I fall. But it brings tears to my eyes when I read it, because my heart recognizes that for which it has been searching. It leaps at the possibility that it exists…that all the searching hasn’t been in vain. See if you feel it.
“And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all the mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love I gain nothing.”
No matter the talent or gifts…no matter how much I think I know…no matter what the argument, which side I am on…or if I am right or not…no matter what I believe…or what I do to serve others…if I don’t have love…it is nothing. And then this next part, I take out the word love and put in my own name. This shows me just how far I am from true love. Try it.
“_______ is patient, _______ is kind, ____does not envy, _____does not boast, ____ is not proud, _____ is not rude, ____ is not self-seeking, _____ is not easily angered, ____ keeps no record of wrongs. ________ does not delight in evil, but _____rejoices with the truth. _______ always protects, _______ always trusts,_____ always hopes, ______always perseveres. ______ never fails.”
Yikes! Now do it again, and add the name of Jesus. Does your heart flutter? To be loved like this…a dream that I thought was impossible. The masks fall away in this kind of love. They are no longer necessary, because I am loved AS I AM. No false fronts needed. Just the true me, being loved by my true love in a way that is incomprehensible.
“Where there are prophecies they will cease, where there are tongues they will be stilled, where there is knowledge it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror, then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”
There it is. All the things I chase are not important. When I found the perfect one…the one my heart loves…all the searching for the imperfect ways of love disappeared. The promise, the beautiful promise is I am fully known. And with that promise comes rest for my weary heart. The search is over, love has come and it is the greatest thing of all! Happy Valentine’s Day…may you find true love and may your heart finally rest.