Paper, scissors, glue, and glitter peppered my desk each February when I was a kid. I have such lovely memories of making a card for each classmate, double-checking to make sure that I placed a checkmark near each name on the class list. Not wanting to forget a single peer. While most of these Valentine memories are sweet, there are some memories that were less than sweet. Sometimes, I was forgotten by a peer, got less Valentines than a more popular classmate, or had someone write something less than kind inside the card in my shoebox-turned-Valentine-mailbox that the teacher had us make each year.
Valentine’s Day is not an easy day for all, but for those of us in Christ, the day can serve as a great reminder of the One who loves us so. One of my favorite reminders comes from 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.”
This verse is rich with promises and hope. In fact, the components fall into four beautiful components: presence, power, pleasure, and peace.
God displays His deep and abiding love for us in His presence (“The Lord your God is in your midst…”). He chooses to spend time with us. The One who made the Grand Canyon, Hawaii, AND chocolate, made every human. He knows everything about us, and still wants to hang with us. The God of heaven and earth is always with us, and we can take great comfort in knowing that He is with us in good times and bad. His presence displays His love for us, even when we do not feel loveable.
God also illustrates His love for each of us in His power (“…a mighty one who will save…”). He wrote us the ultimate Valentine by saving us, overcoming sin and death on the cross, and displaying His power to raise from the dead. His love for us will never die. He never needs to be reminded that He loves us. He doesn’t have to populate His Google calendar reminders of our birthday and special occasions; He always remembers, and has the power to show us in various ways.
This is always the one that gets me. God takes pleasure in us (“…He will rejoice over you with gladness…” and…“he will exult over you with loud singing”). He thinks we are amazing. He knows the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), our natural hair color, even how much we weigh, and no matter how unhappy we are with those things, God REJOICES over us. Not just tolerates us, but actually takes great delight in you and me – even when we do not feel delightful.
Finally, God shows His love to each of us with His peace (“…He will quiet you by His love…”). When the stress of life leaves us feeling defeated, His peace can wash over us. This verse encourages us that it is His love that serves as the salve to our storms.
I hope you remember these truths as we get closer to this holiday of love. You are loved and I pray that Zephaniah 3:17 serves to encourage you and remind you of His great love for you without the need for glitter or glue.
Thoughtfully written by Amberly Neese.
Amberly Neese is a popular speaker/teacher, comedian, author, and all-around encourager dedicated to helping you become the joyful person you were created to be.
She helps people like you and your group experience the freedom found in meaningful relationships with God and others. Her bible study, “The Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive” was released in May 2020 by Abingdon Press. Her latest study, “Common Ground: Loving Others Despite Our Differences” and devotional “The Friendship Initiative: 31 Days of Loving and Connecting Like Jesus” are scheduled to be released May 4, 2021.
She and her husband have two teenagers and live in Prescott, Arizona, where they enjoy the great outdoors, the Food Network, and all things Star Wars.
Connect with her on Facebook @amberlycomedian
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