For me this year, the day after Valentine’s Day was even harder than Valentine’s Day.
On Monday, I really didn’t have a hard time with the fact that it was Valentine’s Day. I had a good time in the Word and, by God’s grace, was able to spend much time thinking about God’s love for me and Christ’s ultimate expression of His love for me–dying on the cross and rising again, so I could have new life. I was also given chocolate and roses and cookies and cards from friends and students and received two packages from friends in the States and a card from my brother and sister-in-law with pictures of my niece, so I felt loved by God, family, and friends.
But on Tuesday, when I started seeing pictures of flowers and fancy dinners and heard of relationship status changes and read sappy posts on Facebook, I started to have a more difficult time.
I recently read an article entitled “Why Facebook (and Your Church) Might be Making You Sad,” which provides a helpful explanation and corrective for the slight depression that can come from looking at pictures of happy couples and families. I reread this article on Tuesday, because I felt bombarded with pictures and reminders that I was alone and not posting cheerful pictures on Facebook.
I was embarrassed to tell my students how I celebrated Valentine’s Day: I went running with a dear friend (definitely a good hour in my day), ate a lovely vegetable stir fry (by myself), and then went to school and graded papers (also by myself). I was very much tempted to be jealous and to start feeling sorry for myself and my single state.
However, on Tuesday evening, as I was pondering “Singles Awareness Day,” as some of my friends called it, and wondering what a Christ-centered response would be, I realized that “Singles Awareness Day” was really a “Christ Awareness Day.” During Valentine’s week, I most needed Christ and needed to find my satisfaction in Him. Human love is all well and good (and most desirable–don’t get me wrong!), but Christ’s love must satisfy me completely.
5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
10 Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.