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Love After Valentine’s Day

Is it always a good time to talk about love? I didn’t really expect me to talk about such a mystical and yet ubiquitous subject matter like love but I got quite a handful of readings about it the other day, which I intend to share with everybody.

I’m reading the book Inferno for the second time. As I was going through Canto V, where one of the most celebrated writers in history, Dante Alighieri, illustrated the damnation the lustful suffers in hell, these lines caused me to pause for a little bit so I decided to read it over and over again:

Love, that can quickly seize the gentle heart, took hold of him because of the fair body taken from me—how that was done still wounds me.

Love, that releases no beloved from loving, took hold of me so strongly through his beauty that, as you see, it has not left me yet.

Love led the two of us unto one death.

Such beautiful composition! Aren’t they?

Then I remembered that for this week I’m actually studying the life of Rachel, Jacob’s second wife. And her story tells us of a predicament about love—presently a cliche—the love triangle. It was Rachel whom Jacob loves and adores but Leah had him first; it was her who bore Jacob his first sons. God sees the unloved Leah as He sees the barren Rachel, and both He blessed (Genesis 25 – 35).

All these make me wonder. Do any of us in this world know what love really is? Are all the definitions we have assumed, reflected, analyzed through the course of our experiences enough to grasp its full meaning?

Relationships isn’t really my strength. In fact, I already had six failed relationships and currently have several complicated ones with family and friends. I discovered that love is too big a word for me that I could never truly understand it apart from what Jesus did on the cross. The thought of love without God, without knowing who He really is is an impasse, a dead end. Love is too incomprehensible because that is who God is.

It is funny that as I think of ways to end this post, I found out that the devotional I read today was wrong. I accidentally advanced to the next chapter. But it did provide me a fresh insight about God who has purposefully plotted all the details of my life. I skimmed through the page that I was supposed to read today and I truly felt God’s love speaking to me.  Earlier this week, I was being skeptic about Genesis 30:22 that says, “God remembered Rachel; He listened to her and opened her womb.” And I felt dismayed because to me it implied that God forgot about Rachel, but I am wrong. To prove that He listens to my thoughts, He answered me straight to the point and with such great humor and love; my devo reads:

God remembered Rachel, but He had never really forgotten her. When the Bible uses the word remember, it doesn’t mean that God forgets and then suddenly recalls. As if the all-knowing, all-powerful God of the universe suddenly hits his forehead with the heel of His hand and says, “Oops! I forgot all about Rachel. I’d better do something quickly!”

No, when the Bible says God remembers something, it expresses God’s love and compassion for His people. It reminds us of God’s promise never to abandon us or leave us without support or relief. He will never forsake us. He will never forget us. He will always remember us. (Source: Women of the Bible, Spangler and Syswerda)

To give my short musings about love a perfect ending, let me part not with happily ever after but with this verse from Luke 1:49 which to me is equally romantic:

The Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is His name.

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