Chocolate, candy, flowers, and true love.

Red roses.  Teddy bears.  Jewelry.   Why does Valentine’s Day come only once a year?

Of course, I am really not in any danger of being drowned in too many red roses, or smothered by too many teddy bears, or decked out in too much bling.  For one thing, I don’t have a boyfriend or husband.  My dad, who was my red-rose, puppy-dog-with-the-heart-over-its-left-eye, velvet-box-jewelry-giver died over 7 years ago.

The funny thing–no, the amazing thing–is that, this Valentine’s Day, I’m not bitter.  I wouldn’t even exactly say I feel sad.  Sure, I want to be married–I think.  But there’s not this incredibly lonely longing for a man to ring my doorbell tomorrow, bouquet of flowers in one arm, teddy bear in the other, one hand holding out a box of chocolates, the other a velvet box.

Nah.

I want to be married someday, but, to be honest, if I ever do get married, he’s going to have to realize he just can’t compete with the competition.  You see, I already have been swept off my feet.

Diamond rings, well, even the most beautiful diamond ring is going to sit on my rotting finger one day when I die (if the ring is even left on my finger!).

–And chocolate–well, let’s face it, girls, chocolate is, at times, a more appealing gift than a jewelry store on wheels (is this why I’ve been single for so long?).

Candy, candy is tasty–but forgettable.  Thinking about it, I can’t really say after I eat a chocolate that I spend the rest of my life thinking about how unforgettable it was.  To confess, I had a box of candies yesterday that I wasn’t going to eat because they had modified food in them, and I *try* not to eat modified food.  I did very good, and put them in the pantry to be given to someone else.

I did very good for one whole day.

Then the next day–and to help you feel extra sorry for me, you might want to know the doctor has given me a mild steroid to help my viral cold I’ve been having (and having), which I’m sure gives me a crazy side effect for artificially flavored chocolates–I ate the whole little box of 6 chocolates.  Even the cherry taffy chocolate one.  I do not like cherry.  Or taffy.  I even ate that one.

The chocolate was, well, pretty forgettable.  Except than when I went to the grocery store today, I saw a bigger box of modified, artificially flavored chocolates.

Now red roses–red roses are even better.  Oh, I love red roses.  I really love red roses.  I love red roses with those beautiful little white spriggy flowers bordering the edges like little breaths of lace.  My father got me red roses when I was 14 or so.  He said he wanted to be the first man in my life to buy them for me.  (Hopefully, Daddy, you are not the last.)

But now let’s talk about stuffed animals.  Anybody who knows me (a.k.a., how childish I am), will know my affinity to stuffed animals over jewelry boxes or chocolates or red roses.  In later years, I’ve become more mature.  I guess that’s something that happens when you start getting close to thirty and stop enjoying the game “Old Maid”.  But still, I love cute stuffed animals.  I used to this was perhaps kiddiesh, until I read enough of The Five Love Languages to realize I am a “gifts of love” person.  (That translates to, I am not childish for hugging my stuffed animals.)

You know what, though?  Not even a truckload of stuffed animals on Valentine’s Day–even really cute ones with plastic teardrops and squishy eyes–would be enough to make me think twice about who I’m committed to loving above all.  In fact, all the rocks and cocoa beans and gardens and teddy bear factories in the world couldn’t change my mind.

It isn’t any man’s fault.  And I don’t want anybody to think I’m demeaning the role of men.  I have known many great men in my life, who have blessed me beyond any amount of candy or jewelry.  My father, for one.  Pastors I’ve had.  Friends.  My grandfather.  And men I’ve dated who are real treasures from Heaven.

But none of them–not even all of them altogether–would have a chance of sweeping me off my feet like my Savior.  This isn’t because of anything they’ve done wrong so much as it is because of everything He’s done that couldn’t even be dreamed up in a fairytale.

Take a beautiful, exquisite, perfect world.  Enter a deceiver, who tricks a woman into giving up the one best thing she ever had: God’s love.

Enter scorn, derision, abuse, confusion, neediness, loneliness, and a heart broken beyond anything a father or husband or friend could ever fix.

A fallen, sinful, broken world.

And go forward a few thousand years.

Now enter a Man, who claims to be God, who stops men from throwing stones at a good-for-nothing, disgusting harlot.

A Man who asks a woman reeling from so many rounds of relationships she can honestly say she’s not just committed to one . . for a drink of water . . . so He can open the conversation to invite her to drink eternal life.

A Man who defends a woman openly, unabashedly, refusing to be ashamed of her just because everyone thinks He should be, that she’s wasted too expensive a gift to pour out on His head.

A Man who protects a woman who has been so utterly forgiven by Him that she finds no fear He will demean her if she wipes His dusty feet with her hair and washes them with her tears.

A Man who, hanging from spikes in His hands and feet, remembers His mother and gives her–gives His mother–to His closest friend to be cared for as his own mother.

A Man who, instead of appearing first to a room of men who would have been reputable witnesses, appears to a person of very little importance, or credibility: a woman.

This is the Jesus I love.  This is the Jesus I’ve fallen in love with.  This is the Jesus who has captured my heart.  This is the Jesus who makes me think about Valentine’s Day, and, with a little smile, say, “Lord, You are my Valentine’s Day.”

“Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, KJV2000)

The earth moves and You find me, alive but unworthy
Broken and empty, but You don’t care
‘Cuz You are my rapture, You are my Savior
When all my hope is gone, I reach for You
You are my rescue
You are my rescue.

— “Rescue”, by Seabird

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Questions after watching The Sobbing Stone

  • Do you believe the crucifixion really happened?
  • Is there a difference between remorse and repentance?  If so, what?
  • What do Judas and the upset science professor have in common?
  • If you were a murderer, would you deny it . . when you already have someone extending you a pardon?
  • At one point, one of the characters asks, Why didn’t Judas repent?  How would you answer that?
  • What do you think are the different ways of coping with regret?
  • How do you cope with regret?
  • Do people refuse to believe in the resurrection more because it is a miracle, or because we are all implicated in the guilt of the crucifixion?
  • If our ideas in science are in conflict with the resurrection, what do you think needs to happen?
  • If the crucifixion and the resurrection really happened, what kind of respect do you believe Jesus is worthy of receiving?
  • Do you believe Jesus is real?  How does your belief, or unbelief, change your life?
  • What do you think stands in the way of people putting their faith in Jesus?
  • Does anything stand in your way of putting your faith in Jesus?  If so, what is it?
  • When the “paranormal specialists” discover the origin of the seeing stone, they encounter Jesus and fall down in worship.  But the scientist who brought them the stone had already seemingly discovered the same information, yet he is unworshipful.  What is the difference?
  • Why does the science professor seem so haunted throughout the movie?
  • Are there benefits of denial?  Are there drawbacks?
  • If Jesus’ crucifixion paid the price for sin, how serious is sin?
  • If we are sinners, how serious is our condition?
  • If we can be forgiven, but we choose not to be because we deny our sin and/or refuse to accept Jesus to take our place, what do you think our punishment should be?
  • The Sobbing Stone is the idea that the sounds of the crucifixion have traveled across time and involve all of us.  If God is outside of time, and He knew Adam would sin before He had even created Him, and He made a way to save Adam’s race, how long do you think He knew the sounds and saw the vision of what the crucifixion would be like?
  • God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit are all radically a part of the crucifixion.  And yet, from the time of pre-creation to the cross, God actively chose to follow through with His rescue plan.  What do you think this says about God’s love, courage, and mercy?