Valentine’s Day. Just the mention of this holiday can stir up a wide range of emotions. Some people grumble and complain much like a Scrooge at Christmas, viewing Valentines Day as yet another commercialized holiday for retailers to make a buck, while draining consumers dry. Others feel all a flutter, excited to celebrate relationships with loved ones. There are also the individuals who simply long to hear the question: “Will you be my Valentine?” That question communicates much in just 5 simple words; extending an invitation to welcome love from another. Not only does the question offer love, it offers belonging and speaks desire.
Let me extend an invitation to you, not to be my Valentine, but to invite you back, way back, to my sophomore year of high school. 6 months into a new school, 2 ex-boyfriends deep, and chasing number 3. My relationship with boy #3 had not been officially defined as “boyfriend/girlfriend” but there were strong indicators it was headed in that direction. Although, at this point most of our interactions were secretive, such as: late night phone calls, avoiding me at school but random and unannounced stops by my house. This guy was charming and the second I would start to question his feelings about me, feeling like his girl on the side, he would suck me right back into his spell.
Valentines Day was quickly approaching, and boy #3 had cooly mentioned an annual Valentines Dinner held at his church. He did not exactly extend an invitation to me, but it was assumed that if boy #3 would attend said dinner I would be his date. With the big day of love upon us I purchased the perfect red satin dress and awaited the details of our evening. The night before the dinner I attended our school basketball game, sure I would leave the game with all plans set for the next evening. After the game I made my way toward the locker room to chat with boy #3. As I rounded the corner to begin my decent down a flight of stairs, I saw and heard boy #3. His gaze was down toward another, his ex-girlfriend. Their conversation was concluding with great clarity that she would be attending the dinner of love with the one my heart desired. Eye contact was made and nothing was said as boy #3 brushed passed me, shattering my heart to pieces as he passed.
What I heard that night sent me into an emotional state of hysteria that only a 15-year-old girl can understand. I played that conversation over and over again in my mind. Surely I had misunderstood and my phone would ring that night to explain everything, but the next morning I awoke to the most difficult Valentines Day I would ever experience. Of course it was pouring down rain, my eyes opened to my beautiful red dress hanging on my closet door. That dress would not be going out for Valentine’s Day and neither would I. Late that afternoon my BFF busted through my bedroom door with a movie, junk food, and a shoulder to cry on. I wanted boy #3 for a Valentine, but he did not want me. His desire was for another.
Maybe you haven’t been dumped cold on Valentines Day, but I’m sure you can empathize with the desire to be wanted. You know the desire that runs deep within to be someone’s person and to have them be yours. It’s at the core of feeling deeply loved. Song of Songs is a beautiful love song, written to express a beautiful story of love shared between King Solomon and his wife, Shulamith. Within the chapters of this book we read of the longing, desire and satisfaction that comes of love given honestly and freely.
In chapter 2:16 Shulamith says:
“My love is MINE and I am his…”
(it also goes on to say how he feeds among the lilies, but let’s just say the lilies are figurative, and I’m committed to keep this rated G)
In the words of Shulamith, hear the conquest. Possession, her person has become hers.
In 6:3 Shulamith says,
“I am my love’s and my love is mine…”
Within these words there is a subtle transfer. Shulamith now recognizes that not only does she possess the love of Solomon, but that she belongs within it. This belonging is then affirmed in 7:10 with an added assurance of Solomon’s desire for Shulamith.
“I belong to my love and his desire is for me.”
This is the crux, to be desired, wanted, as we are. Shulamith knows that she is deeply loved, because Solomon wants to love her. Solomon is not cool or aloof with this desirous pursuit of Shulamith. He is unabashed with desire. There’s no holding back with his love as if eating a carrot stick, when really he would prefer chocolate cake. Solomon is eating chocolate cake. He wants it, and not just for dessert, we are talking every meal and snack time! Again, keeping it all rated G here.
There is one who desires you and I on an even greater scale than this. His pursuit is constant and His desire is deep.
“How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”
Ephesians 1:3-6 (MSG)
So maybe you need to hear this today. There is One Lover of your soul, who has you on His mind, settled the focus of His love on you, His desire is for you and He extends an invitation to you: “Be Mine.”
God is love. He didn’t need us. But he wanted us. And that is the most amazing thing. ~ Rick Warren