Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Real Love

My wife had surgery on Monday, and is still recovering. Our experience over the last few days reminded me of this snippet of a Matt Chandler sermon that I heard some time ago:

To be real honest with you, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It’s not because I don’t

love love. I very much love love. But I think our culture has no idea what it’s

celebrating. It has no real clear definition of “love.” If you’ll pay attention to our

culture, our definition of love can’t be defined outside of self-seeking or “what makes me

happy. . .how does it work for me. . .” So that’s a really lame, weird thing to celebrate.

If the idea is that love is this kind of emotional, stirring, mysterious thing that can attack

you from out of nowhere, that is so powerful that you can’t control it, that’s a dangerous,

terrifying idea. It’s not to be celebrated, honestly. So for those of you romantics who

think it should, let me just say this. Right now, I’m very much in love with Lauren. But

let’s say I go to the store tonight to buy a bag of chips and the baby angel in the diaper

with a weapon pops me in the back, and now all of a sudden I see this other lady and now

she’s the beautiful one, she’s the one that I love. That’s a terrifying idea and not one that

I think should be celebrated.

So I’d like to read a passage out of Song of Solomon 8, starting in verse 6. “Set me as a

seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love [ahava] is strong as death,

jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love

all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.

I have been with Lauren for 12 years, and we’ve been married for 10 years. There have

been these moments in our marriage and in our relationship where I thought, “This is a

really cool moment.” And few of those have anything to do with some hyper-emotional,

romantic, violins in the background, good glass of wine, beautiful scenery. Few of them

revolve around that. Honestly, they tend to be a lot more painful than that. I’ll give you

an example from this morning. Our seven-month-old is extremely selfish. I don’t know

if you’ve ever had one of these things, but she’s decided to cut all four of her top teeth

last night. So there was not a lot of sleep happening at the Chandler household last night.

But when they do radiation, specifically in your brain, you only lose hair where they

shoot the radiation. So I’ve got this real weird head thing where this is bald but then this

still grows hair. And I can grow hair like a Chia Pet. I could strain right now and make it

grow. I didn’t shave before I went to bed last night, so I had to get up this morning and

shave. And there are part of my head that I can’t see or reach. So at about 6:45 this

morning, despite the fact that we didn’t sleep much last night, I’m waking up Lauren.

I’m like, “Hey Boo, I need you to shave the back of my head.” To which her response

was, “They can’t see the back of your head.” So I was like, “I know they can’t see the

back of my head, but this can’t happen. You’re going to have to get up.”

So Lauren comes into the bathroom exhausted and shaves the back of my head so I could be pretty

for you. Now, that’s ahava. That’s a love of the will. That’s not, “Oh isn’t this

romantic? I get to get up with my sick husband at 6:45 in the morning after only getting

a couple hours of sleep and shave his radiated head.” But that’s ahava. That’s love.

That is a foundational, deep, full of guts, “I’m not going anywhere” love. That’s to be

celebrated. If we could celebrate that, then I’d be all about Valentine’s Day. But that’s

not what our culture is celebrating. It’s so much more emotive, so much more silly, so

much more hollow, so much more “I like you today. Let’s celebrate that.” So I’m not a

fan. That’s the mini sermon. Now let’s get to Colossians.

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