“I love you!” What wonderful words when spoken by someone who truly means them and lives them. Flowers and chocolates and cards will fly off the shelf at this time of year as people scramble to express their love to someone special, but do they mean it?
Sometimes the outward show, the things other people see and what can be posted on Facebook is all there is to the relationship. The message is more, “Look what I did!” than “I love you!” Sadly, the shelf life of these relationships is usually not very long. True love is more than gifts and cards (though these things are nice): it is the day-in and day-out gifts of kindness, encouragement, helpfulness, generosity, patience, a listening ear and words of love.
Some people think that the more “romantic” the proposal, the fancier the wedding, the bigger the splash, the better the relationship must be. But if romantic proposals are the measuring stick of what makes a good relationship, Lise and I are in trouble. I am terrible at preparing romantic settings, and my biggest failure would have to be the day I proposed to Lise.
We were in Calgary, on choir tour, representing the college we attended. We had been dating a couple of years, but in the quiet, romantic moments Lise would say to me, “I am not ready yet!” so I never dared to “pop the question.” Then as Lise and I sat talking in the hot, smelly cargo van that carried the choirs’ gear, she suddenly said, “You can ask me now!” Well, I had no ring, flowers, violins to serenade or even a camera to record the event, but I was not missing my opportunity. Right there in the old delivery van I asked Lise if she would marry me. And she said “Yes.” Not very romantic, not very flashy.
Nevertheless, that day started a commitment we confirmed at an altar before God, and it continues strong to this day over 35 years later. It is not about the “setting and ambiance.” It is about the heart commitment. We meant it when we said, “I love you!” We still do. We don’t always get things right, but we know we can count on the commitment of love to pull us through.
Speaking of love messages, listen to this one from God:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
– Pastor Gary