By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist
Remember that first love, that excitement, that tingling, that burst of fireworks that made every day July 4th? Just being in your sweetheart’s presence made your heart go “pity-pat.” When apart, remember the anticipation of being together again? I married my first love and I still see skyrockets. He is a valentine to me every day.
I have learned some things about love in life’s journey. Through the years I discovered that love is seeing and hearing with your heart. It is accepting the responsibility and the willingness to go the second mile. Love means sacrifice, patience and most of all forgiveness. It is a lifelong commitment between a husband and wife. It is a story of a relationship with a person who has faults just like you do. It is overlooking offenses. It is being there for one another. Love supports, defends, protects and honors. Love is two people becoming one, united to each other. I’ve also learned something else: God is love.
Even though Valentine’s Day comes once a year, God sends his Valentine every day and it contains love unsurpassed by any other. It expresses the greatest love the world has ever known. His Valentine tells you how unique and special you are. It contains comfort, confidence, counsel, protection, favor, abundance, healing, wisdom and knowledge.
God’s Valentine is filled with love and that love goes beyond anything this world could ever understand. It is love in its highest degree. His love letter reads: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV).
I thrill to the story of sweethearts in Song of Solomon. It’s a romantic love story.
The love between Abraham and Sarah impresses me.
I think of the love Jacob had for Rachel by working fourteen years for her hand in marriage.
Joseph was put into a pit and sold as a slave by his brothers because of their jealousy, yet Joseph’s love and forgiveness won out. His statement touches my heart: “But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20)
Wicked Haman had devised a scheme to have the king issue an order that would kill all of the Jews. If someone approached the king without being called, they were put to death. Mordecai, Queen Esther’s relative, knew that she was the only one who could save their people. His question to her was: “…who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Queen Esther answered with an answer of love and strong faith: “I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
Who can fathom the love of Ruth for her mother-in-law Naomi? When Naomi encouraged Ruth to return to her mother’s house, Ruth replied with these unforgettable marvelous words: “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).
All of the above incidents speak with an extraordinary amount of love, selfless love, sacrificial love and overwhelming love. The Bible is about someone who loves you dearly. It holds the most beautiful words ever written and it is just for you.
Open your Valentine today. Begin a love affair with the One who loves you the most. He died for you and it is written in red.
Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: