My flesh and my heart may grow weak,
but God always protects my heart and gives me stability. Psalms 73:26 NET
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
God is rock-firm and faithful. (MSG)
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever. (NLT)
Valentine’s Day! These words evoke extreme emotions. Contrasting feelings of joy to feelings of grief. Hearts are everywhere – candy hearts of every color, hearts on cards and paper, priceless hearts of gemstones and broken hearts of loneliness.
As a counselor I have asked people, involved in a relationship, to give a metaphorical description of their heart as it relates to the relationship. I have heard descriptions of hearts “beating fast, bright red on the inside with a brick wall on the outside” OR “my heart is in a million pieces, dark and cold.” The descriptions are endless, often describing hurting, limp, damaged, unstable, weak hearts bearing scars of unmet expectations and broken trust.
LOVE YOU, BE MINE, REAL LOVE, SURE LOVE, HUG ME….are some of the words written on those candy hearts. They can be sweet reminders of sincere love or hollow echoes of a lost love. Our needy hearts are vulnerable to the actions of others if it not stabilized by an infusion of trustworthy love from our Holy Father.
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. 1 John 4:17-18 (MSG)
God’s love is not hollow or wavering, it is solid and permanent. His love is the only reliable source that can heal our needy hearts. “Heart” is mentioned in the Bible over 500 times, depending on the version. Our heart condition is a primary focus of God’s message to us. “Heart” in the Hebrew language, the language of the Old Testament, includes in its meaning “the emotions, the reason and the will”*. It is the center of one’s being, the source of courage, an anchor of thoughts. It is the crucial component of our identity. (*Vine’s Expository Dictionary)
Self-identity, dependent on the imperfect love of the world, will be heartbreaking! However, self-identity focused on the true love of our Father it will be securely anchored, allowing growth and development into its full potential.
Let God’s love be the banner over your heart. “The Lord is my Banner” is the translation of the Hebrew Yahweh-Nissi. Yahweh-Nissi is a name of God in the Old Testament. Acknowledging that His love is the banner over your heart indicates that you are identifying with God as your conqueror and savior. Life’s journeys will be more secure if they are traveled under the secure banner of his love.
The hearts of Valentine’s Day can be a reminder of the source of secure love, the steadfast presence of God in our lives.
My flesh is fading.
His love is eternal.
My flesh is flawed.
His love is flawless.
My flesh is foolish.
His love is wise.
My flesh is fickle.
His love is loyal.
An eternal, flawless, wise and loyal love is my covering, completing me, as I trust, always seeking His truth to light my path to life. His love is mighty! His love is expansive…
O Love, How Deep
O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
It fills the heart with ecstasy,
That God, the Son of God, should take
Our mortal form for mortals’ sake!
For us baptized, for us he bore
His holy fast and hungered sore,
For us temptation sharp he knew;
For us the tempter overthrew.
For us he prayed; for us he taught;
For us his daily works he wrought;
By words an signs and actions thus
Still seeking not himself, but us.
For us to evil power betrayed;
Scourged, mocked, in purple robe arrayed,
He bore the shameful cross and death,
For us gave up his dying breath.
For us he rose from death again,
For us he went in high to reign;
For us he sent his Spirit here,
To guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.
All glory to our Lord and God
For love so deep, so high, so broad;
The Trinity whom we adore,
For ever and for evermore. Latin, 15th C.