Valentine’s Day and the Price of Love
- Monday, January 26, 2009
Although she still puzzled over what was bothering her husband, Lisa had ceased to ask. Her attempts to discuss the problem—or even to intimate there was one—had elicited only angry, defensive responses. Now, she realized, he was finally ready to talk about it. And suddenly, she was the one who wanted to avoid the discussion.
Lisa’s heart raced as she sat across from him at the kitchen table. The children had gone off to their rooms as soon as dinner was over, but when Lisa had stood up to clear the table, Dan asked her to sit back down, explaining that he had something to tell her. And so she waited, the sense of dread growing within. She knew her life was about to change, but she had no idea how drastically.
Through the ringing in her ears, Lisa heard her husband tell her that he wanted a divorce, that he had “found someone else,” and that he wanted to “get this thing over with as quickly and cleanly as possible for the kids’ sake.” After fourteen years of marriage, she couldn’t think of one word to say to him in response. She sat there, shocked and devastated, wondering why God had allowed this to happen and what He would do to “fix” the situation.
But the situation did not get “fixed”—at least, not the way Lisa had expected. They did indeed get a divorce, and Dan drove off into the sunset with his new love, leaving Lisa and the kids behind with nothing more than a promise to send the court-ordered child support and to visit whenever possible. The kids were angry, hurt, and confused. Lisa was bitter and furious—not just at Dan, but at God. She vowed she would never be hurt again.
Chuck, on the other hand, had shared thirty-three years of marriage with his devoted and loving wife, Sarah; together they had raised two sons. Matt, the older son, had gone into the service right after high school—against his parents’ wishes—and had been killed in a freak accident before he even finished basic training. Chuck and Sarah, devastated by their loss, had then turned all their love and attention on their remaining son, Joe. Joe had always been the more daring of the two boys, handsome and reckless, charming and witty. Sarah worried that Joe was too rebellious and might end up in trouble, but Chuck reassured her that he was just “a bit rambunctious” and would settle down in time.
Although Joe had a lot of aptitude, he never lived up to his potential. His grades in school were slightly below average, and his teachers commented on his lack of consistency in completing and turning in assignments. But somehow Joe managed to graduate high school, and Chuck was then determined that his remaining son would go on to college and make something of himself.
Chuck borrowed against his life insurance policy to send Joe to the finest school he could find. Within six months, Joe had been expelled. He returned home, only to go through a series of dead-end jobs, never staying at any one of them for more than a month or two. Chuck and Sarah tried to talk to him about his future, about their concern over the type of company he kept, about recommitting his life to Christ and getting back into church. Joe would have none of it.
When the phone call came in the middle of the night, Chuck felt as if his life were over. Joe, high on drugs, had been arrested for armed robbery. As the jail cell door clanged shut on his son, Chuck closed and locked the door of his heart. The price of love had proved too great, and he vowed never to pay it again.
Is there any greater pain than that of the betrayal of a loved one? I think not. And most of us will experience it—and possibly even perpetrate it—to one degree or another, in our lifetime. Divorce, abandonment, disappointment, disillusionment, rejection, abuse—not to mention the growing ease with which we “dispose” of unwanted lives for the sake of convenience—all are prevalent in modern society. And they don’t take a vacation for Valentine’s Day.
On a holiday that’s supposed to be centered around hearts and flowers, why are so many hearts broken and so many flowers wilted? Why are so many people starving for love, yet never finding it?
I believe one of the primary reasons is that somewhere along the way, they paid the price of love—and decided never to do it again. They bought into the lie that love was all about finding someone else to meet their needs and to make them happy. When the object of their “love” failed to make the grade, they slammed the door and swore never to try again. The price of love was just too high.
But where did we get the idea that love was free? True, God’s love is just that—at least for us. But it certainly wasn’t free for Him. He gave His only Son, remember? In turn, Jesus gave His life—and it was not a painless or easy gift. As Christians, isn’t that the example of love we should be following?
If so, then we should expect love to cost us something. If the focus of our pursuit of love is self-fulfillment, then we will never find the love we are so desperately seeking. But when we follow the model God has laid out for us by asking ourselves how we can give of ourselves to show love to someone else, then we are surely on the right path—and love will soon find us.
It has been said that he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Are you looking for love? Then why not make a commitment this Valentine’s Day to give yourself away as a model of selfless love in someone else’s life? Then, unlike Lisa or Chuck, you will have opened the door to gaining the love that lasts forever.
Finding real love will cost you everything, but the rewards will more than compensate the price. And you just may help someone else find love along the way….
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