This week we will celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s a day where many seek after love with candy hearts and rose-colored glasses. For this one day, the world ignores their pain in the hope of finding love.
But true love will never be found in candy hearts or rose-colored glasses. In Jesus we see that true love is meeting people in the midst of the messy hard times rather than in the “perfect” moments.
In John 11:1-44, we read how Lazarus, dearly loved by Jesus, was sick and dying. Jesus was aware of all that was to come, but still felt the anguish and pain of grief with Lazarus’ sisters (vv.33-36). Instead of glossing over their pain and pushing to the joy of resurrection, the Lord paused in the pain—“He groaned in the spirit and was troubled” and met them with love (v.33, NKJV).
If we are going to bring the whole world the whole gospel, we must be willing to meet others in their darkest moments. The whole gospel of God’s true love is made up of both weeping in death and joyous celebration of life.
Prayer + Reflection
1. Pray for those you know who are in pain or grieving this Valentine’s Day. Ask God for wisdom on how to meet them where they are.
2. Ask God for the patience and grace to stay with people in their sorrow, even when you want to rush ahead to the joy.
3. Read John 15:12-13. Ask the Lord to show you that kind of “true love” in your community, and to enable you to share it with others.
4. Pray for Foursquare chaplains, who often meet people in their greatest hours of need or sorrow, and download a list of their current prayer needs.
Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.