It’s just a word.
It’s just a word but it says so much.
It’s just a word but it can have more than one connotation.
It’s the word love. Those of us who think, speak, and write only in the English language are at a disadvantage when it comes to this word. We have only word for love which is exactly that – love.
But how many varying aspects exist that encompass that one single English word?
I love the fall season. But that love is entirely different from the love I feel for my family.
I love donuts but loving to fill my belly with a tasty treat is not the same as the heartfelt caring, respect, and admiration I have for my husband.
I love a temperate, sunny autumn day with blue skies abounding but the love I have for my fellow humans is quite unlike that.
I love where I live in my country home, but my love for my Savior is so much greater.
And the love He has for me is infinite, unchanging, unconditional.
That is hard to wrap your head around, isn’t it? How can a love like that exist? How can we know we are loved by an everlasting, ever-existing God of the universe? Especially when we often feel so unworthy, so unlovable, so unloved in this tired, volatile world where there is much strife, discontent, anger, and just about every horrible and wicked aspect that comes to mind.
On those days when I feel distressed, weighed down and burdened by this world, I look for something to cross my path that I may have not noticed before. Something that brings a smile to my face, a bounce to my step, a moment of joy to my heart.
And I usually discover one. Do I think those little bright moments just happen? Coincidence when I’m feeling low? When I’m feeling unloved? When I seem churlish and bad-tempered? Or feeling unlovely and well…frankly, unlovable?
I don’t consider those uncanny glimpses of something ordinary becoming extraordinary as a coincidence at all. Instead, I find them to be simple signs in everyday life that might be unnoticed by most, overlooked by some, or even disregarded.
For me though, I count them as just a hint, just a little sign, just a nudge from the one and only true God, letting me know He hears me, He cares about me, and He loves me.
Unfortunately, I don’t always take the time to be observant, to listen, to watch for those signs from Him. But recently, one of those tiny taps on my shoulder arrived. And in a way that most folks would probably ignore.
During my daily morning walk with my long-time friend, I noticed something in the distance flitting and flapping around in the breeze. At first, all I could distinguish was its red color as it swooped and swayed, sometimes alighting on the street, sometimes sailing back up into the air again. It tossed and turned as the wind carried it to and fro.
As we neared it, we could ascertain what it was. A bright red mylar balloon, once filled with helium, but deflated and tossed aside. (Although since there are no residences in the area we walk, who knows from whence it came?)
I stopped to examine it, pulled out my cell phone to capture a photo, and read the message on the balloon.
I Love You.
Valentine’s Day was long ago, so chances are it’s not a leftover from that holiday. Perhaps it was part of a birthday bouquet of balloons. Who knows?
The message was simple though. I Love You.
And as I silently read those words, certain thoughts immediately came to my mind.
You are loved. You are my beloved. I love you with an everlasting love.
Words that seemed to evolve, not from my own mind, but from the heart of the One in whom I believe. Jesus, my Savior.
Coincidence on a day when I felt an overwhelming sense of burden for the times we live in? I don’t think so.
Upon returning home, those thoughts remained with me throughout the day and beyond. I opened my Bible and sought out a few passages that reminded me of God’s eternal love given to us through the gift of salvation offered by His very own Son, Jesus Christ.
- “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow — not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
- “See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know Him.” (1 John 3:1)
- “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” (Romans 5:5)
- And finally, these words from Jeremiah 31:3: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
I am loved. But I am not the only one. You too are loved. Beyond measure. How do I know this? A stray balloon and God’s Word told me so.
“God is unchanging in His love. He loves you. He has a plan for your life. Don’t let the newspaper headlines frighten you. God is still sovereign; He’s still on the throne.” ~ Billy Graham