March is here! That means “the season of giving” and “the month of love” are both finally over. All across the world many people are breathing out a steady sigh of relief. For many of us that sigh of relief is a sign that it’s time to rebuild our bank accounts and restock our shelves; for some of us it means that we are grateful that we no longer need these dreadful reminders of our loneliness and loss; meanwhile for others it means nothing at all but we breathe a sigh of relief still because all the lovebirds and the Christmas carols can finally be ignored. Whatever the reason for your relief, the reality is every year there are hundreds of people who face the holiday seasons alone and with dread. Whatever our motives are behind celebrating the seasons, it simply isn’t the same for the widow who misses her husband, the children who must celebrate their first Christmas without mom or dad, the ex-fiancee who just broke off her engagement, the father who lost his son, or the student who spends his first Christmas alone in a land of unfamiliar faces and strange traditions far away.
Yet the interesting thing about the Christmas, New Years and Valentine’s seasons is exactly that, they are seasons – they come and they go. The truth is at some point in each of our lives we will face a Christmas, a New Year’s or a Valentines that wasn’t as enjoyable as the ones before simply because of some circumstantial separation or the departure of a loved one from our lives. This reality is but a steady reminder that the love of man, although comforting, enjoyable and worthy to be celebrated is anything but permanent. It is temporal and often short lived. Now this doesn’t mean that mummies or daddies or husbands or wives won’t love you until their last dying breath if they could. Not at all. The love of family and the warmth that you feel around loved ones is one of life’s rare treasures. But this month, as we embark on the remainder of the year and leave all the ‘warm and fuzzy’ celebrations behind us, we look towards a love that is greater. You see there is a love that is permanent and enduring, one that reaches far beyond time, space and distance. A love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. At the end of your life’s story it will not matter who you spent a single Christmas with, whose hand you held to ring in the New Year or who was your Valentine. The only companion that will matter is Jesus Christ, whether or not you knew Him, whether or not you spent precious moments with Him, whether you were a part of His love story. Every other love is second best.
Many of us have different views of who God is to us. To some of us, He is the Saviour, to others, He is the Judge and to others, He is the Bridegroom. God is all of these things and more. More things than we could ever imagine or understand. One thing that we are sure of is that God is a loving God and Father. He has an everlasting love for us and His desire is toward us. We are the apple of His eye and we were created for His glory.
“You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no longer be termed Forsaken nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate but you shall be called Hephzibah and your land Beulah. For the Lord delights in you and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:3-5 (NKJV)
In Isaiah 62, we see God’s love for us, His people. In verse 3, it says that we will be a crown of glory and a royal diadem in the hand of our God. Many of us cannot see ourselves as being that special before God but we are. We are special to the God that sits on the circle of the earth and who holds the water in the palm of His hands. God delights in us. He loves our different personalities, our voice and our love towards Him
“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret places of the cliff, Let me see your face, Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet, And your face is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:14 (NKJV)
Before the foundations of the world, we were predestined for His pleasure and for His glory.
“You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” Revelation 4:11 (NKJV)
In any wedding that you attend, you see the joy on the face of the bride and not only the bride but also the bridegroom. The bridegroom is happy and joyful to finally be called “his wife” and to finally hear Mr and Mrs. There is a joy and an excitement that comes that was never there before. God rejoices over us in that very same way. He is happy when He can call you His own when He not only desires you but you also desire Him. We are the Bride of Christ.
“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)
God rejoices over us. He loves us so much that He sings over every single one of us. Can you imagine that? The God of the universe rejoices over you with singing. Take a second just to think on how important that makes you in His eyes.
To some of us this is hard to believe because of past things that they would have done, thinking to themselves that they are not worthy, that they are not deserving. We often beat ourselves up with questions like: Why would God love me? I’m not a good person. Look at what I’ve done. I’m not even a good Christian. I get so many things wrong. I’ve hurt so many people in my life. Sometimes I’m not even sure if I love me, so why would God? Does He even know the real me? Can’t He see how messed up I am? Does He know?
The question is, Does He care? Does it matter to God what you’ve done in the past? Does He mind that you don’t have it all together?
Psalm 139 tells us that God has perfect knowledge of us, that He knows our every thought, He knew every single day of our lives that will come into being before we even existed – the good days, the bad days and the ugly ones. The days we would read our Bible like good Christians do and the days we would mess up and cheat on that exam because we didn’t study the night before. Yet He went ahead and formed us in our mothers’ wombs anyway, yet He went ahead and breathed life into us, yet He went ahead and died for us fully knowing that it was us who deserved death and not Him.
The truth of the matter is that every single one of us is both deserving and undeserving of the love of God. We are undeserving because of our sinful nature, our mess, our blatant resistance to God’s love and affection, our constant refusal to love Him back and give Him our all. Yet at the same time we are deserving because He said so. That’s our qualifier and it’s all we need to know.
You are deserving and you are worthy to receive the love of God. If only we could truly understand the love of God. God’s love is not like man’s love. The love of man cannot last forever. It needs to be reaffirmed and the majority of the time, it only seeks self. God’s love, the agape love is selfless. It is everlasting and it does not seek to satisfy the desires of self but the desires and needs of another. God’s love never fails. This is the beauty and the mystery of God’s love. We may never understand it but that should never hinder us from receiving it and allowing it to carry us through every season of life.
As we leave ‘the month of love’ behind I want you to remember the greatest love of all, the love of Jesus Christ. His love doesn’t need a season or a special day. His love is every day, for the rest of your life and even into eternity. His love is kind, it keeps no record of wrongs, it rejoices over you.Trisha Carter is the author of The Christian Life blog. See more of Trisha’s work at www.thechristianlifeblog.blogspot.com