“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV).
In just a few short days, we will be celebrating Valentine’s Day. The day traditionally marked with chocolate candy, long-stemmed red roses, expensive dinners, and sweet cards speaking of unconditional love, romance, and the promise for tomorrow.
However, not everyone has a “special someone” to share Valentine’s Day with. Maybe your spouse of fifty years has died after a long illness or maybe after seven years you were left unexpectedly when he or she filed for divorce. Maybe you are holding onto unresolved anger and as a result haven’t talked to your extended family for years or your grown children are too busy with their own lives to call and say “hi.”
Maybe you just haven’t found “the one” yet but long for a lifetime of “happily ever after.” Instead of eagerly anticipating the upcoming holiday, maybe you feel lonely, empty, and a little sorry for yourself. Maybe you’re jealous of what your married coworker has and secretly wish her bouquet were for you. Have you stopped to think, though, just because your co-worker wears a wedding band doesn’t mean she feels filled by her spouse. She also might be lonely, empty, and feeling a little sorry for herself. Maybe she received a huge bouquet of flowers delivered to work, but she’ll be going home to a house filled with people but void of meaningful conversation or the intimacy she longs for.
I’m here to celebrate with those who are happily married as well as to encourage those who aren’t. No matter your status in life (single, married, divorced, widowed), Valentine’s Day should be less about whether or not you’re with that special someone and more about filling up with the only One who can fill those empty places inside of you. Expecting once you get married that all your dreams will magically come true and you’ll never be lonely again is the same as presuming to drive your new car off the dealer’s lot but never having to fill the gas tank. Subconsciously demanding that your spouse, children, or friends meet all your needs isn’t fair to anyone – not to them, and not to you. People disappoint. We all make mistakes, so therefore, it’s inevitable that you’ll be unintentionally let down by the ones you love the most.
However, God is consistent, unchanging, and always present. He does have the capability (and willingness) to fill us, even in spots we don’t know exist. That’s just one of the amazing things about our Heavenly Father. When we truly ask Him to take away the loneliness and fill us with Him, His love reaches into every area of our life, leaving us more peaceful and more fulfilled than we could have imagined.
Just like with human relationships, in order for that to take place, we need to spend time with Him, getting to know Him, allowing Him to get to know us. Now He already knows everything there is to know about us, but He wants us to share our thoughts, our secrets, our pain, our happiness – every detail of our life with Him so He can fully embrace us and fill us with His peace. When that happens, and it will, your circumstances won’t automatically change, but your perspective probably will. Personally, it wasn’t until I handed my loneliness, my longings, and my deepest desires over to God regarding a future mate that I then was introduced to who became the love of my life. I’m not saying that when you tell God you’re okay being alone then you will automatically become engaged. No, I’m saying that every one of us needs to acknowledge in our lives there is only One that can and will fill us completely. One who will always be there, one we can depend on and trust with every part of ourselves. He loves us unconditionally. Until we come to that place, we’ll never be satisfied with the position we find ourselves in in life, single or married.
My challenge to you today is this. It’s okay to eagerly anticipate the roses, the sentimental card, or the fancy dinner – but instead of making one day out of the year over the top, why not start today focusing on growing closer daily to the One who loves you the most in this world and will never stop loving you for eternity? Once that relationship is on track, all your other relationships will reap the rewards.