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What do you love? I mean, really, profoundly adore? I’m talking about the kind of life and death bonding that has mindless resolve, unlimited passion, and, dare I say it, even self-sacrifice, attached to it. Take a heart-beat or two to consider, because the question is not as simple as it appears on the surface. Authentic truth may require a deep dive.

This is not a sentimental age. We’re not maudlin about emotion, rhapsodizing over shmaltzy themes of devotion or transfixed by ideals of beauty anymore. There is no more ‘’Sound of Music”. Oh no. We’ve gone retail. The digital age we find ourselves in has pragmatized romance into the highly-analyzed world of dating websites or the drive-through sexual encounters of Tinder. There’s an unlimited ability to ‘swipe-right’; primary decisions based simply on the favor of looks or presentation. The sweeping grandeur of love has been reduced to simple number-crunching.

Last week, Valentines’ Day was celebrated. The traditional rash of chocolates and boxed platitudes abound amidst the over-powering scent of roses. Once again, over-the-top proposals and other expensive and ostentations sentiments abounded. Grand gestures shouted down real feeling. It’s simply good form or fashionable vogue to be desired and feted at the highest possible volume. To compare enviable gestures at the water-cooler. We’re believing in the dream of true love, and climbing every mountain in search of it.

But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath-water. Honest, life and death devotion, desire and L’amour do abound, but not among the Hallmark cards. In the human heart, deep calls unto deep with tenacious persistence (Psalm 42:7). Like migrating birds, our desire returns instinctually for the pure, true, zealous, fiery, ardent and adoring heart of God. There is no substitute. He’s our sweetheart.

My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. 1 John 4:7-8

We love, because He first loved us. When we get separated from this essential truth, our loving becomes a twisted, selfish, violent, dangerous grasping that tortures ourselves and others. Yawning desire is the pit that draws us into perdition time and again. Our hearts are shattered on the merciless shoals of our own perverted desire and iniquity; embittered and envenomed with self-hatred. It’s a vicious downward spiral, redeemed only by the arms of grace and an encounter with the Great Lover.

God is literally, the Sweet Heart who will never, ever, break yours. Isn’t it time you ran home to His faithfulness, tenderness, devotion and trust-worthiness? It’s everything you’re really longing for. Enjoy intimacy, wrapped in forgiveness and reconciliation. The mercy and grace you seek are all here, like gifts to be opened. A luxurious valentine of unconditional love and acceptance waits for you. You’ll melt under His big, radiant smile and glowing gaze! Pleasure in the sweetness of love will once more gratify, and enable you to rejoice even in the imperfect fellowship of others.

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 1 John 3:18-20 KJV

In a life filled with many blessings, unfortunately, sustained romance has never been one of mine. Never finding a true mate is perhaps the single greatest regret of my life. No one understands the longing for love more than I do, so I can sympathize.

Many years ago, when I worked for a florist, I was there on Valentine’s Day. at 4:00 am, 1000 roses, arrived. Though I had no love of my own at the time, I remember the heady sensation of being in the cold-room, enfolded joyously by the most perfect of blooms. In a moment of profound intimacy, I received those 1000 roses; special delivery from the Lord, all to myself. His presence was a tangible thing in the room. At the end of the day, there were only stray petals on the floor, and I took home not one of them, but possessed them all.

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! 1 John 4:12

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