Valentine’s Day is not a day single people usually like to observe. When you don’t have a Valentine, the day seems pointless—or even like a slap in the face. Valentine’s Day can be a day people feel even more alone because they hear about all of the flowers, candies, and fancy dinners enjoyed by friends and acquaintances.
For me, Valentine’s Day was just another day. I went to work and was at a vantage point where I saw what people were buying their Valentine for later that evening. So many people poured into the store seeking out flowers and candy. Roses. Chocolates. Hours passed. Then someone came up to me with a single carnation. We didn’t sell single carnations. The lady handed me the carnation, smiled and said, “Everyone needs a Valentine.”
I looked down at the slip of paper attached to the flower. It was a church outreach with John 3:16 written along with their church information. I smiled and placed the flower to the side. You see, some people might consider themselves alone on Valentine’s Day, or any day for that matter, but you always have a Valentine. For God so loves you. You are never alone. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not on Valentine’s Day. You are loved.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]
When considering a change in life, do you consider if you can do it? When you are facing a difficult situation, do you consider if you can do it? From what I have seen, many people consider their own strength. Whatever they are faced with, they consider if they alone can do it. If they cannot physically, financially, and emotionally do it, then that is it.
Moses was told to go lead the Israelites out of Egypt and he immediately considered if it was something he could do alone. He said “what makes you think” that I can do that? More or less it was an excuse because Moses considered his own strength and knew it was impossible. But it wasn’t impossible for God.
Too often we consider our own strength but we are not doing life alone. We have a God who is all-powerful. We have a God who is mighty. We have a God who created the Earth. We have a God who sustains us, who provides for us, who helps us, who blesses us with all that we see, feel, and know. Today, remember that God is with you, and consider what you can do through Him rather than without Him. So much more is possible when you see things through Him.
“Moses answered God, ‘But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?’
‘I’ll be with you,’ God said. ‘And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.’”
– Exodus 3:11-12 [MSG]
I was at my desk calling out to my daughter. It was very loud in the next room but I heard a response. I responded only to hear laughter. My son was pretending to be my daughter. The noise level made it hard to hear and it was not so easy to detect what was happening. He found it hilarious. I told him to turn down the television.
We have had much advancement in technology to make it easier to connect with people. The downfall of technology is the fact that there is a lot of noise. Nearly everywhere you go you will find noise. If you are at the supermarket, you’ll hear the beeps from the cash registers. You will hear the self checkout area’s robotic register voices conversing with customers. You will hear music sometimes interrupted by announcements over the PA system. You will hear customers catching up in the middle of an aisle while others have hour long conversations on their cell phone as slowly making their way through the store. You will hear the sound of boxes being opened to restock shelves and the rattling of shopping carts. This is just one example.
Today, look around and see where you can turn down some noise in your life. It is important to have some quiet time to spend with God—time with no distractions so you can hear properly. If you do not have that time, consider a way to accomplish this quiet time today.
“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” – Matthew 14:22-23 [ESV]
I always remind the kids to shut the door behind them as they are heading outside on the cold days. By doing this, they keep the cold air outside where it belongs. There are two times in 2 Kings 4 where we read “shut the door behind.”
First there is the widow who is instructed by Elisha to take her two sons and enter their house and “shut the door.” Then they were to pour olive oil into empty jars they collected from neighbors and continue that process until there were no jars left so that they could pay for their debts. Then later, when Elisha went to raise the Shunammite’s son, “he went in alone and shut the door behind him.”
Both of these instances they shut the door behind them. Both of these instances included miracles. Sometimes we need to shut things out so we have no distractions and can watch as God performs a great miracle. Everything from the world was shut out so all focus was on God and what He was doing for this widow and her sons and this son of the Shunammmite woman. Today, perhaps you need to shut the door and see what God has waiting for you.
“Then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” – 2 Kings 4:4 [NLT]
“He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the LORD.” – 2 Kings 4:33 [NLT]
In Exodus 2, we read about Moses committing murder. Verse 12 mentions how Moses looked around in all directions before acting. The NIV states: “Looking this way and that and seeing no one.” Moses knew what he was doing was wrong. In the same way, we sometimes look around to see if anyone is watching before we do something we know we shouldn’t be doing in the first place.
We cannot hide anything from God so why do we look around? Do we look around in hopes that no one else will see what we are about to do? Do we care what people think? Are we already feeling guilty for something we have prepared to do in our hearts? No matter the case, when we are looking around before we are doing something, perhaps we should not be doing it—perhaps we should consider doing something else.
If you catch yourself looking around today, take a step back and ask yourself why you are looking around. Ask yourself what is guiding your steps.
“After looking in all directions to make sure no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand.” – Exodus 2:12 [NLT]
On September 13, Australia had celebrated a day that is known as R U Ok?Day. RU Ok?Day is actually a national day there, and it’s held the second Thursday of September. This day is focused on building awareness of people– asking people if they are okay and being genuinely supportive. Too often we overlook our fellow man and neglect to see the struggles they are going through in life. Sadly, some people are hurting so badly and would feel so much better if someone would ask the simple question, are you okay? My family has personally been affected by depression and suicide. It is the sad, but all to real truth.
I remember so many times in life when I was going through a tough period and did not feel like I could talk to anyone. There is the fear of judgment, the fear of rejection, the feeling of hopelessness and lack of support, and a sad road to depression. Sometimes a person simply needs to have support– but it seems like support is hard to come by and then there is the feeling of being alone in the world. I know; I have been there. People need people. God made us to need community.
As Christians, we are never alone. God is always with us. We have the promise of the Holy Spirit so no matter if we are in our car driving along the highway, in the middle of a park, or at home all alone, we are never truly alone. Even so, there are times when it seems as if the world is crushing down upon us and we do not feel like we can handle it. It is at these moments, we really need a hand to reach out to us. The Bible says we are to be there to support others. We are to help the poor, to encourage our fellow Christians, to teach, to share, etc.
Today might be a good day for you and you may be feeling just fine. At the same time, the person next to you might not be doing so well. R U Ok?Day was created to encourage people to ask other people if they are okay. Perhaps you are not from Australia or it is not even the 13th of September where you are located. Even so, when you come upon the next person wherever you may be, ask them if they are okay. Not simply to ask and pass by quickly. Invite them to answer. Be the support that you wish to have on your worst day. That person may need it more than you will ever know.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:23-25 [NASB]