I don’t know about you, but there have been Valentine’s Days where I have wondered if I were really loved or cared for because I had no one who loved me romantically. Other Valentine’s Days I felt unloved because my valentine didn’t meet my expectation for the holiday.
God is in the details of our personal love story. We are the main character and He is loving us. But sometimes when we really want Him to show His love and care for us, we are left feeling like we have no valentine and have been overlooked or forgotten.
But is He really not there? Is His love truly far away? Does He really not care about me?
Often, I look for His love and care by noticing those things that show up, look up, feel better, get solved or come to me. I rarely, if ever, notice the Lord is showing His love in the things He doesn’t give me.
President Monson said, “He who notes the fall of a sparrow surely hears the pleadings of our hearts.”
Twenty-seven years ago, when I met my husband, he was a single dad awarded full custody of two small children. He had been through a painful divorce and was confused about where God’s hand was in his life. He had prayed so fervently over four years that God would heal his family and bring them back together or show him another way to heal.
We had met, married and blended our families with three young children between us. I can still picture where we were sitting our first Valentine’s Day, when he invited me to listen to the song “Unanswered Prayers” by Garth Brooks. As I listened to the song, my husband, obviously touched by the words, wept.
When it was over, I opened a beautiful letter he had written explaining how grateful he was that God had not answered his pleadings, but instead taught him that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
Corrie ten Boom’s story
Megan, one of our fellow warrior mothers, sent me this beautiful story and it got me thinking about how God shows us His love and care in our lives.
There were times when even Corrie ten Boom felt cut off from the Lord. In such a time of despair, she once said to the Lord, “Have you forgotten your Corrie?”
In the following story Corrie tells about a time when she and her sister Betsie were in the concentration camp in Ravensbrück, and she had this terrible cold. She told her sister Betsie how much she just wished she had a handkerchief. Of course, handkerchiefs were impossible to find in that place. Betsie then suggested that Corrie pray for one, and Corrie just laughed at that ridiculous idea.
So, Betsie prayed. She said, “Lord, you see my sister, Corrie, here, has a very bad cold, and in Jesus’ name, I ask you TODAY for a handkerchief for her. Amen.”
Corrie tells that, shortly after that, she heard someone call out her name. She went to stand near the window of the barracks, where she saw a friend of hers, also a prisoner, and who worked in the hospital in Ravensbrück.
“Here,” her friend said. “Take this! I’m bringing you a little present.” She pressed it into Corrie’s hand.
“I opened the little package,” said Corrie, “and it was a handkerchief!”
“How did you know I needed a handkerchief? Did you KNOW that I have a cold?” Corrie asked.
“No,” said her friend. I was sewing handkerchiefs from an old piece of sheet, and there was a voice in my heart that said, ‘Bring a handkerchief to Corrie ten Boom!’”
“That little hanky, made from an old piece of a sheet, was a message out of the Heavens to me!” tells Corrie. “It told me that there is a Heavenly Father who hears, when on a tiny planet, the Earth, one of his children prays for an impossible, small thing; a handkerchief. And the Heavenly Father says to one of his other children, ‘Bring a handkerchief to Corrie ten Boom!’”
Corrie continued, “That is something the Apostle Paul calls ‘The foolishness of God’… that is so much wiser than the wisdom of mankind. You can read it yourself at home. It’s found in 1st Corinthians, chapter 1 and 2.”
“Does God answer all our prayers? Well, most of the time He does,” she continued. “Why? you might ask, not every request we make? Well, you see, because He knows what we do not know. He knows everything. Someday, when we are in Heaven, we will thank him for all the answered prayers, (where he gave us what we asked), and maybe even more for the unanswered prayers. Then we will see it from his point of view, and that God never made any mistakes.”
Words to live by
It’s difficult in the challenges of our lives to remember that we are in a love story and that God is orchestrating things for our greatest good in His perfect, loving way. Too often I find myself more vulnerable to the father of all lies because I fail to consider that my unfulfilled expectations, hopes and prayers are also evidence of God’s love for me.
I am waiting for the “hosanna moments” Brother Cracroft articulated so beautifully: Many of you know what I am talking about when I talk of “hosanna moments,” those transcendent moments in our lives when, without warning, we are overwhelmed by a close encounter with eternity, a surprise of the spirit—those moments when, while engaged in the temporal rhythms of our daily and earth-encrusted lives, comfortably duped by familiar routines, we are suddenly brought face-to-face with the holy, swept by the Spirit of God into a transcendent reality, overwhelmed by undeniable evidence of a literal Father in Heaven who knows you and knows me and is somehow interested and involved in our lives. The “We’ll-Sing-and-We’ll-Shout” moment is that moment when our God, Brother-of-Jared-ing us, reaches his hand through the veil to startle our sensibilities, to reassure, to comfort, to guide, to prod, to change our course. Then our spirits soar, our souls are renewed, and we can never really be the same again. (https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/richard-h-cracroft_well-sing-well-shout-mantic-celebration-holy-spirit/)
Elder Holland reminds us not to miss the love sent from heaven all around us:
If we constantly focus only on the stones in our mortal path, we will almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by the loving Father who outlined our journey.
Each day can bring more joy than sorrow when our mortal and spiritual eyes are open to God’s goodness.
Joy in the gospel is not something that begins only in the next life. It is our privilege now, this very day. We must never allow our burdens to obscure our blessings. There will always be more blessings than burdens—even if some days it doesn’t seem so.
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Enjoy those blessings right now. They are yours and always will be. (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2006/10/what-i-wish-every-new-member-knew-and-every-longtime-member-remembered?lang=eng)
This Valentine’s Day, let’s keep an eternal perspective of how loved and adored we are!