Can you resist a 70s-era smile when you sing this song in your head: "Love is all around, no need to fake it. You can have the town, why don't you take it. You're gonna make it after all" (Sonny Curtis)? Can you picture Mary Richards tossing her hat in the air?
We can learn something about love from television. For some reason, I've taken to watching Family Feud in my off hours. As its name implies, each of two teams is composed of family members. There are several answers hidden on a scoreboard, and each family member must give an answer that matches one on the board. No matter how far-fetched, foolish or fatuous the contestant's guess, the other family members, after a brief shocked pause, with the possibility of losing lots of money, in front of millions of viewers, clap and shout, "GOOD ANSWER! GOOD ANSWER!" That is true love!
April may be named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, known to the Romans as Venus. In the northern hemisphere, it is a spring month, when flowers bloom and "a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love" (Tennyson). Many animals, as well as humans, seek to attract mates with courtship displays peculiar to their species. Gifts, fancy homes, odd dances, and puffed-up chests serve both man and beast alike.
The greatest love stories are found in the bible, and no wonder: "God is love" (1 John 4:8). He doesn't just love--he is love. Everything he does is wrapped in a love more pure and permanent than can be imagined.
Sometimes, it can seem hard to love a child or spouse that doesn't love back. Imagine having millions of "children" who don't return your love. When the children of Israel ignored God and showered their love on idols, he lamented, "I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them" (Hosea 11:4). "What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?" (Isaiah 5:4).
God gives rain and grain, protection and possessions, health and wealth to those who love him and those who don't (Deuteronomy 11:14; Jeremiah 33:6). He does this, not only because he is love, but to draw people to himself. "Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?" (Romans 2:4). The mercy of God in withholding judgment should cause men to appreciate his love and turn to him for forgiveness and gratitude for his provisions.
Above all, God gave a gift that no man could match, no less conceive of: He sent his son to pay the penalty for our sin and lack of love for him (John 3:16). "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?" (Romans 8:32).
God is not the type to "love 'em and leave 'em," "because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'" (Hebrews 13:5). Once we have given our heart to him, he will never lose it: "Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).
Because of our relationship to him, Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35). Our lives will reflect his: "Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" (Psalm 29:2). His security is ours: "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27).
Unlike the Venus de Milo, the beautiful, loving God has two arms to save, support, and supply you (Isaiah 59:1). Reach out to him today!
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