I admit it, there was a time when I didn’t want a boy to give me flowers. Or so I thought. That was until I got my first bouquet of flowers, twelve long-stemmed roses from my father. Then I changed my mind.
I did not, however, get any flowers after that from a man, that I can recall, for about 14 years–except for one bouquet of half-frozen roses on Valentine’s Day waiting on my doorstep. It was after ending a relationship, but he couldn’t stop them from coming. As if on cue, it was a frosty Valentine’s Day, and they were half-frozen by the time I got home from college to find them.
If I’d known how hard it would be to find a man to buy me flowers, I’d have paid even more attention to my father’s roses! I thought it was the first in a long series of bouquets, and I was sort-of right about that, but if I’d had any clue that it would be more than a decade before that series would have continued, well, I’m not sure at fourteen-years-old I would have handled that very well.
Ben has bought me far more bouquets than I would have ever imagined a boyfriend would buy me, unless I managed to walk into a fairy tale. Well, I am way too clumsy and foolish to manage to walk into a fairy tale, but God did push me in one, and I’m so thankful for the shove.
The last flowers Ben got me were sent to my work. I was having a tough day, and I was called to the office to pick up a huge bouquet of brightly colored flowers. The roses were tie-dye, and there were neon green, purple, yellow, and aqua blue daisies. I was beside myself with joy.
But what if . . what if Ben had sent a note with those flowers and said, I know you like flowers. I picked expensive ones out for you. I hope you like them a lot, because these are the last flowers you’re ever going to get from me. Take nice pictures of them, and you can look at them when you want more flowers. Love, Ben
I would not have received the flowers with joy, but instead with grief. My outlook would have been totally changed. The last flowers . . ever? As beautiful as they were, they are already starting to fade. My roses are wilted, and, no matter what I do, I cannot make them last for the rest of my life.
For romance to thrive, a man can’t send a woman flowers one day and expect to never need to show another token of his love for her. For a romance to die, a man needs only to think he’s already “given enough”.
Love itself is like a bouquet of flowers. As beautiful as an act of kindness is, if it’s given on a one-time basis, the love will wilt and, sooner or later, disintegrate altogether. From what little I know about relationships, I know that if either husband or wife believe they have ‘done their part’ to show love, that they’ve met their quota, that the rest is up to their spouse, the relationship is sure to wilt. Love is constant. Love keeps going. God says it best:
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)
Not once in a while. Not until some ‘quota’ is met. Not only if certain conditions are met. Love keeps presenting itself as a fresh bouquet every day, a new surprise and delight in an ever-more-joy-bursting relationship.
God knows all about how to love. In fact, He is the perfect example of love persevering. Just look at what He has done for us. He gave Himself for us. He could not have given a more beautiful or wonderful gift. And no one, no one could have raised a finger of accusation against Him if He’d never tried again to reach us. If He’d died on the cross for us and then left us to figure out what He’d done for us. If He’d claimed He’d filled infinitely more than His quota, exceeded even the highest expectation, gone above and beyond what anyone could ever have dreamed, and didn’t need to pursue us any longer.
He could have done that, and He could have done it even more so because, unlike a bouquet of flowers, God’s love is eternal, meaning it never fades. God doesn’t have to keep offering up more love to us. The love He’s already given us is constant forever (unless we reject His love). The gift of Jesus Christ doesn’t wilt with time. God would have been beyond-belief merciful if He had given us Jesus and offered no more.
But that’s not what God did. Scripture tells us that God is love. That means there’s nothing about love He doesn’t know. When He tells us that love perseveres, He isn’t just asking us to persevere in our love. He Himself perseveres in His love, pursuing us even after we ignore Him, deny Him, spit on Him, and try to destroy Him. He stayed with us even after we killed Him. There is no other love like that; only the most perfect love, only the source of love. That is, only God Himself, the great I-AM, could have done such a thing.
Do you realize that He is still pursuing you? Do you realize that He still wants you to be His child, still wants you to belong to His Kingdom, still wants to add your name to the population of Heaven?
If you do know that . . then what are you doing about it? Do you send God a bouquet of love every once in a while, and then expected for your heart not to wilt? I spent many years of my life as a pseudo-believer, shipping off bouquets of guilt offerings and petitions for forgiveness to lay on His doorstep. But before they had even reached His door, my unfaithful heart had already begun following another idol.
Even as a believer, I am ashamed that there have been many times I have sent God what I thought to be a “wonderful offering”, something big with my time or money or effort, and expected that to “last Him a while”. Rather than act in love, I have acted in obligation or half-heartedness or with another unloving motive.
But the longing of my heart is to give God a fresh bouquet of my love every moment for the rest of my life. I don’t want wilting, rotting flowers from me to sit on God’s table. I want to present Him with new tokens of my love each and every day.