A couple of days agoÂ I opened up my weather app to check the day and saw this:
-9999 F Tuesday night, brrrrrrr!!!
A friend on Facebook pointed out that is also Valentine’s DayÂ andÂ I jokingly responded that it appeared that hell may actually freeze over for this year’s holiday celebration.
The whole thing made me chuckle.
Valentine’s Day has never been my favorite. I’ve spent a mere two years having someone to celebrate it with and, clearly, those guys didn’t work out.
This year is no different in that regard and honestly I would love nothing more than a romantic dinner with a handsome guy that sees a possible future together, but since that is guaranteed to not beÂ happening this upcoming Tuesday, I have accepted my singleness for at least one moreÂ Valentine’s.
As disappointing as that may be, this year I have not felt the annualÂ dread of February 14th. Instead of feeling like Cupid is mocking me yet again, I’ve been noticingÂ the many relationships in whichÂ I have the honor to love and be loved.
Beyond that I look at a community, a nation, and a world that is desperate to know love. And after joking about hell freezing over next week, I thought:
What if the love of God overflowing from my life could be what stops the enemy’s advance in someone else’s?
What if God’s love made visible to another through my words or actions could actually freeze over the hell in someone’s life?
What if the smile, the kind word, the listening ear matters?
If I believe the words I speak truly matter, then won’t I be more careful with my speech?
If I believe that random acts of kindness can show the love of Christ, then wouldn’t I be more intentional with my time and resources? Be more attentive to the quiet whispers of the Spirit wanting to share hope and joy and life with others?
After all, aren’t big changes born out of little choices?
So then wouldn’t it make sense that the life altering, world changing greatness that we seek for and hope will happen might just start with the seemingly mundane and minuscule?
Personally, I love this idea because I don’t have mind-blowing ideas or solutions to the issues of the world or even to the problems in my own family, but I can buy a cup of coffee for someone and discuss the good and the hard of life. I can offer a few minutes of time to lend a helping hand. I can do a chore to serve my family without being asked. I can sit with an elderly person and ask and listen and care in order to stave off the loneliness for just a little while.
I can give what I have, though it may seem like so very little in my hands. But in the hands of Jesus a couple of fish and pieces of bread were broken and fed thousands. So what’s to say He cannot do the same with my tiny offering?
I think I read it somewhere earlier this week, probably inÂ The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, butÂ real love is always a sacrifice.
It puts someone else above yourself. It says to another, “I’ll make time for you.” Â It squeezes itself out of a comfort zone and sits joyfully uncomfortable Â if that’s what is needed.
“For God so loved the world that He gave…” (John 3:16)
One of the first verses every good Christian kid learns, quoted so many countless times it has become cliche.
God so loved that He gave.
He gave a little child to the world that would grow into a sinless man who would reach out across cultures, reach past diseases and death, and reach past earthly time to give of Himself to everyone, to love even those who would reject Him, to sacrifice His life so that we all could have life.
This is love, sacrificially giving of oneself for another.
It’s messy and vulnerable and scary and uncomfortable, and it’s what we are all looking for.
So, while I wish and long for the love of a husband and silly romantic gestures to warm the chill of winter, this year I’m pushing aside the icy bitterness and listening for the whispers of Love Himself.
Maybe the sacrificial giving won’t look like much, maybe it will even seem a little silly to some, but maybe it’ll be exactly what someone desperately needs in order to know that God is listening, He cares, and He loves even them. And maybe, just maybe, the consuming, destructive fires of hell will be frozen over in someone’s life.