Love: a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
A mother looks down at her three-year-old son. Dirt is smeared across his face, though a brilliant smile shows his baby white teeth. His once yellow shirt, is now covered in splattering’s of strawberries, purple paint, and something else that she decides is better left unknown. “Yes, sweetie?”
The toddler raises up his chubby arms – asking to be held.
She complies, settling him onto her hip.
Golden curls giving him an angelic appearance (perhaps she is biased, though, she concludes humorously, her little one would certainly be one of the most mischievous of all the angels), he wraps his arm around her neck and lays his head down with a heavy-breathed sigh. “I love you mommy.”
Love: the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration
“No.” The college undergraduate frowns at the poor, pitiful looking faces. She shakes her head, brown locks falling over her face. Pushing her red-rimmed glasses back up the bridge of her nose, she sighs. Why did they have to look so utterly adorable? Cute little cinnamon rolls…she thinks.
Two puppies, bounding over each other in their haste to get her attention, wag their tails impatiently. The smaller one’s chocolate eyes look up at her as if to say, pick me! I’m right here! The bigger one, not to be outdone, puts its white paws up on the glass – head cocked to the side as though it knew this made it look priceless.
“Oh who am I kidding?” mumbled the twenty-year-old, “I love you both!”
Love: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
The father drags his attention away from the newspaper he had been reading, turning to look at his eight-year-old. She has on a yellow gown with a cut, pasted, and crayon-colored paper crown on top of her head. Sassy as always, one hand is on her hip – lips pressed tightly together. “What is it Bella?”
She comes closer, placing both hands on top of his forearm. Her facial expression is utterly serious as she leans in to whisper in a not-so-quiet way. “You’re supposed to dance with me. Since I’m the princess, you’re the prince.” Tone confident, she waits for his reply – dark eyes blinking.
He chuckles to himself – though quickly stops when he remembers how seriously she takes this. “Why, I would be delighted to princess!”
A bright grin stretches itself across her face, and she has to use every measure of eight-year-old self-control to retain the dignity of royalty. Minutes later, when the music from Beauty and the Beast drifts through the kitchen, and she is held in his arms – head upon his shoulder, her childish voice says, “Love you daddy.”
Love: a beloved person
“How could you do that?” he yells, dragging a hand down the side of his face. What on God’s good green earth had she been thinking? She could have been killed! Not to mention, that her car was pretty much totaled.
She huffs in annoyance. “It was nothing, and I am perfectly fine.”
“You almost weren’t!”
“But I am!”
“THAT’S BESIDES THE POINT.”
“WELL, I WASN’T GOING TO LET THAT KITTEN GET RUN OVER.”
He groans loudly, running a hand through his black hair. “How are you such an idiot….”
She glares furiously at him, blue eyes sparking despite the fact that a gash of blood is still dribbling onto her skin. The gray and white kitten, held securely in her arms, makes itself smaller as though it realizes it is the topic of this…unfortunate conversation. “Why do you even care!?!?”
Before he even realizes what he is saying, his mouth is already open. “Because I love you!”
Love: an assurance of affection
“I swear if they ever – ” The eighteen-year-old grits his teeth together, infuriated by the fact that some people seemed to think it was a peachy idea to make fun of his sister. He had several choice words for them, and all one-hundred-percent of them were words that were probably better left unsaid.
His twin sister, glanced at him, sad smile on her face. “It’s fine, we’ll both be gone next year anyway.” She tucked a red curl behind her ear, the afternoon sun casting a glow onto her freckled face.
Suddenly, he wrapped her in a tight embrace. “Don’t believe them, ok? You’re the best person and friend I know.”
She nodded against him, pushing back the tears. “Thanks…you’re pretty awesome yourself,” she stated, adding softly, “I love you.”
“Love you too sis.”
Love: the fatherly concern of God for humankind, unselfish loyal and benevolent, concern for the good of another, an assurance of affection.
Psalm 116:1, “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.”
“I’m sorry Lord, I should not have disrespected You like that.” Her eyes filled with tears, fear wanting to grasp hold. Why had she said that? The peer pressure…she should have been stronger. And now, what if He did not want to forgive her? Sure, she knew that the Bible said He forgives…but this? She was not certain, why would He want to forgive her when she had disrespected Him, even after He had died for her?
“You are forgiven.”
Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ”
He was angry. Angry at God. Angry at Him for taking his mother. How could someone who claimed to literally BE love do that? He sure as heck did not know. And he was hurt, pained, and angry over it.
“I know you are angry, but I see past that. I see to your hurt, your tears, your struggle with wanting to know why. My child, even if you do not want to talk to me, I am here with you – amidst your pain, amidst your struggle. My love is still here.”
1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
Stupid. Ok. Sure, she had been at school all day and then rushed to work her job after that, and then needed to complete all of her schoolwork, and maybe it was midnight…and most people would probably call it quits (or think she was crazy), but she had not read her Bible at all today. Actually. She had not read it in three days, and boy was she feeling guilty for it. Never mind the fact that she was doing her best.
My daughter, I see how hard you are working – and how much you desire to please me. Your high expectations and perfectionism are wearing you down. Rest in me and let my peace become the rhythm of your life.
Isaiah 49:15-16, ““Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”
He threw his books down, having just returned from work. Shaking his head, his heart felt lonely…empty…forgotten. He felt like no one really saw him for HIM. He was just another face in the crowd. Another number.
You are not forgotten, my son. Even if other people may pass over, neglect, or cause you to feel insignificant, you are not. You are my child, part of a royal priesthood with a legacy of brothers and sisters who have gone before you. You are mine, and I love you.
Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
She was excited! And happy! For one, she had been surprised with an adorable black kitten with white paws (already named Mittens, of course) by her boyfriend. Yep. He was the best. Secondly, she had been praying for a while that she could manage to find a job – and TADA, this morning she had gotten the call. Today. Was. Awesome.
I love to give my children good gifts, daughter. Take care of Mittens, he has a bit of a mischievous streak.
John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
For some reason, the past few days he had been feeling depressed. He shouldn’t be – by all worldly standards at least. He had a wife, two children, and a good job. What was wrong with him? “God,” he prayed, “I-I’m not sure what’s up with me lately, but I just need to know you are here.”
My son, I am here. You have been worrying and fretting over the future. Rest in my love. You are safe.
1 John 4:9-10, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Family. Friendships. Pets. In our world, there are so many wonderful, different forms of love. Yet, the greatest of all of this is the love of our Savior, who loved us unconditionally without receiving anything in return and to such an extent, that He died on the cross – still knowing that many would choose to reject Him.
This Valentine’s day, let us remember the true meaning and definition of love: Jesus Christ.
Note: the definitions for “love” came from Merriam-Webster.