Happy Valentine’s Day to all you God Girls (& Boys!) out there! If we were all in a 2nd grade class together, I’d be dropping a card into every one of your Valentine mailboxes right now. :) But since we’re all over the world, I thought a little post about LOVE might be sweet instead!
Every great writer in history has tried his hand at defining love to no avail. Each has their own interpretation of what it is and how you know when you’re in it. The one thing all these writers seem to agree upon is that love is utterly indescribable, but when you feel it, you know. Wonderfully vague, right? I fell in love with my husband Ian in the fall of 2006; our Freshman year of college. We were just babies, but there it was: unexpected & just as inexplicable as all those great authors said it would be. If you had asked “College Elaine” to define love, she would have said: “Love is pulling an all-nighter helping him write his Spanish paper the night before it’s due EVEN THOUGH you told him a billion times not to procrastinate, but he did anyway because he’s educationally irresponsible.” Hahaha And while that does elude to the deeper truths of what love is, it doesn’t paint a broad picture.
If I were to ask you to recite a scripture passage about love, probably 99% of people would call to mind Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) This passage is gorgeous. We’ve all heard it recited at weddings, anniversaries, in greeting cards, & especially on February 14th. It gives us one of the more clear definitions of what love should look like. But this Valentine’s Day I wanted to uncover a different passage; one slightly less traveled than 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. So I give you Song of Solomon.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I personally haven’t spent much time in this book of the Bible. (And why not!? The title of the book literally beckons!) So as I read through it, the final chapter resonated with me. As I read Song of Solomon 8:6-7, I felt that I had just read the best description of love’s strength, power, & depth that I have ever read in my life:
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”
I mean… speechless. That’s not just powerful scripture; that’s some powerful literature in general! For some, the metaphor comparing love to death might seem gruesome, but it really defines the power behind it. Death is the one thing in this life that we can’t escape. I was just so moved by this passage that I started putting paint down right away. I want to remember this scripture. Someday when I have a daughter in college tell me that she’s in love, I want to have Chapter 8 of Song of Solomon bookmarked for her. And probably an extra large coffee to keep her awake after the night she just spent doing his homework. ;)
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