Today, much of the world stops to celebrate those they love. As cliché as it may sound, my husband Jamie and I got engaged on Valentine’s Day in 1984. We were young, in love, and what better day than Valentine’s Day to get engaged? My engagement ring wasn’t expensive at all; some might say that the diamond was the size of a microchip. Years later that little diamond fell out and got lost while we were living in Zambia and I cried buckets of tears. So many beautiful memories were tied to that little diamond.
One of God’s greatest gifts to us in life is the gift of being loved by Him. All of His gifts to us are a direct result of His love – He doesn’t give anything to us because He has to or because He owes us. He gives to us because His love compels Him to give to us those things we ask for and need. Sometimes He gives us things “just because.”
Those “just because” gifts are the best gifts. I remember about 10 years ago around Christmastime, I admired a painting of lions that I saw in a shop in Lilongwe, Malawi while we were shopping for gifts for our children. Money was tight and we concentrated on getting our kids’ gifts; there wasn’t money to buy something unnecessary like a painting. The painting wasn’t in my thoughts again until Christmas Day when the kids had been given their gifts and Jamie disappeared into another room. I didn’t think much of his slipping out until I saw the beautiful lion painting I had admired in Jamie’s hands and him smiling ear-to-ear. “Why did you do this?” I asked, knowing our money was tight. He simply said, “Because I love you.” My heart was overwhelmed that he went through great lengths to give me a gift and I was left without giving him anything at all in return. That’s the nature of love – giving without expecting anything: just because, that’s why.
There’s no way any of us could ever earn enough money to buy God’s love or do deeds that are good enough to merit His love. He loves us – just because – and His delight is to bless us and be a Father to us. We fail to understand that He loves us just as we are – warts and all – but He does! It is His love that draws us into relationship with Him and then His love begins to heal the pains of life’s disappointments that we’ve hidden away in the depths of our souls.
It may be that today you feel alone, wondering if anyone could ever love you unconditionally. Unfortunately, people will fail us; even those closest to us will sometimes fall short and wound us. Those whose marriages have “made it” know that one of the keys to happiness in marriage is not putting our hopes for happiness in our spouses. There’s only One Who loves us completely, with all of our faults and morning mouth, and He wants to be the One giving you those “just because” gifts right when you need them.
Jeremiah 31:3 NKJ “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”