Love Freely Given


images 7On a bitterly cold and blustery day, one of the most depressing days for many young college women, I witnessed something that warmed my heart.

Young women today have been inundated with the world’s philosophy that their worth is measured by snagging a guy, compounded by a second lie that only the beautiful girls (or ones who give a guy what he wants) can do that. If they don’t have a boyfriend, they’re left with the despairing thought that something must be wrong with them. On top of that, they’re subjected to their friends flaunting romantic Valentine gifts from their true loves.

As I walked into the student union on campus, I saw a table outside the doors that advertised flowers for sale (at a steep price tag for college kids) for your sweetheart. I overheard one guy tell another, “If you buy her a flower, she’ll probably give you something back. You know what I mean?”

af6b9298e543d994e72bcdafb985dd17Inside, another table manned by some of the Cru guys, provided a marked contrast. This table was different. The pink, red, and white carnations were freely given by guys I know. These guys desire to be conformed to Christ and to respect their sisters. The stems of the flowers carried words of much deeper and lasting significance than the usual Valentine’s Day gesture. Wrapped in a ribbon, the cards read, “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. Ps. 139:14.”

The flowers, like God’s grace, are free. They are a gift, no strings attached. Freely these young men have received God’s love and freely they are giving it on to others.

I’m reminded of Isaiah 55:1:

“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”

We are all paupers, unable to pay for God’s great gift and undeserving of the riches of His grace. But He lavished it on us anyway. The water He offers truly quenches our thirst and brings life that never ends. Nothing else will satisfy the deep needs of our soul. We’re not entitled and it’s not our due. We can never be good enough (or beautiful enough) to earn it. His grace comes out of His character, not because of ours.

Many of the college girls who will be handed a free carnation with a smile today are feeling unloved. Maybe this simple gesture will speak to their hearts and they will begin a journey to finding their one true Love.

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