For thirty years, I didn’t have a Valentine. Guys had to ask my father for permission to date me. Dad was strict, few guys tried, so I gave up hope that I would ever have a Valentine.
But this post isn’t about what you may not have. This Valentine’s Day, I want to remind us all of what we do have.
Ephesians 5:31 is a verse we commonly hear at weddings: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Now why would the passage talk about the man leaving his father and mother, when in most cultures, the woman leaves her family? To answer this question, I’d like to share a story.
When Arianna was two, she started having nightmares. One night, she woke up crying that a fox was out to get her. After several nights of her crying for us in the middle of the night, we decided to set up a little bed for her in our room. It was easier.
One night, I woke up hearing her whimpering. I went to comfort her, only to discover that she was still asleep. She was having another nightmare. Even though I was exhausted, my mother’s heart hurt for her. I wanted her to keep sleeping, but I also wanted to wake her up and assure her that everything was going to be ok—that her dream wasn’t real.
That is what Christ did for us. Ephesians 5:32 says, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Marriage is a picture of God’s love for us. Jesus left His home in Heaven, His Father who loved Him, and all His glory to enter into our world—to assure us that our nightmare will one day pass away.
That’s not all. When it says that a man will hold fast to his wife, it’s telling us that Jesus came to pursue people who not only didn’t love Him in return but instead sought after other gods. We love romantic love, because it’s the feeling of being completely known and accepted by another person—but Jesus came to love people who ultimately rejected and crucified Him. I can’t fathom a love like that.
The last part talks about the two becoming one flesh—because Jesus loves us, He lived for us, suffered for us, died and rose again for us—He joined Himself to us, so that when God looks at us, He sees His beloved Son, so that we who were doomed to death might be saved and loved and accepted and completely known. This is the love of God—He became poor so that we might be rich. He took on our sickness that we might be healed. He bore all of our sorrows so that we might have joy. And the Bible tells us that not even death can separate us from the love of Christ.
So this Valentine’s Day, remember what you have—the extravagant love of God.