This morning, when I read my man Oswald in My Utmost for His Highest, I saw a connection with the day. Valentine’s Day. I’m sure Mr. Chambers did not intend this when he wrote his message back in WWI, but I love the timeliness of his timeless words.
Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and God puts us into “the shadow of His hand” until we learn to hear Him (Isaiah 49:2)….
When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else once you are back in the light.
You may be thinking, what does this have to do with Valentine’s Day? Bear with me as I explain.
Today can feel like a dark place to many people. It can remind the Have Nots of what they have not.
The greeting card and florist industry made a huge leap when they started marketing this holiday. Its beginning was far from happy. St. Valentine was tortured and murdered for his faith, which he refused to denounce. While suffering in prison, he healed his blind jailer’s daughter and won her over to Christ, which does infer love, but not romance. He was decapitated on February 14 in the year 207. Somehow, we’ve stretched the anniversary of his martyrdom into a day of fattening up your sweetheart with chocolates and going into debt over the roses you buy.
A few years back, when I was freezing on a vacation, I was tempted to buy a tourist sweatshirt reading “I HEART _____ _____.” But I didn’t love the place so I shivered instead. However, if I had bought the sweatshirt, I decided to paint over the heart with black fabric paint when I got home. That’s what today feels like to many among us. A blacked-out heart.
I’m not a fan of any of the sickeningly sweet invented holidays. Call me crazy, but I just don’t see the fun in excluding people and making them feel sad. Those who have romantic love often flaunt that fact in front of friends who are single, widowed, divorced, or in a relationship that’s not a good one. Usually this is (merely) a matter of being insensitive, not investing the effort to see life and feel things from another’s viewpoint, but the flaunting can feel like it’s intentional.
During my single days, of which there were many, I remember going to a dinner with teammates one Valentine’s Day. All were married, happily so, except for me. We had to go around the room and share how we fell in love. Really? It’s not like I just showed up, unannounced. They knew I was coming.
Maybe you’ve decided to try a little empathy and you’re putting yourself in my husband’s place right now. Probably, you feel sorry for him. What a fun dinner date you’ll have tonight, you may be thinking. But that’s just it. The dinner or cards that we share is just between us. He knows I love him and I know he loves me. Our daily actions bear that out, so we don’t need to broadcast it.
If the Haves see their loved one as a gift, and realize they did nothing to earn this gift and the Have Nots did nothing wrong to deserve their “punishment,” maybe they can start to see the singleness as a gift, too.
All you have is a gift from God, coming from his character of grace and mercy. He has a purpose in every gift, asked for or not, which you just may not see for a while, if ever. You don’t choose what you’re given but you can choose how to respond to it. When you’re in those dark places, he speaks to you. Just listen. And find your voice for the song you’re given.
Can you sing in the dark place?
What do you hear in your dark place that can help the rest of us?