We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4 (NIV)
It started off as a great day. I got plenty of sleep the night before, was up early and out the door early to go to my Church History class at Taylor Seminary. Just being in that class makes me very happy.
I was there early enough to make a hot chocolate and settle in for an exciting discussion around John Calvin, his life and his theology. An interesting, controversial and prominent figure in the Reformation of the church. Calvinists have an interesting theology. Without going in depth at all, Calvinists typically believe that some of us are chosen by God for salvation (the elect). The rest are chosen by God to be reprobates. One of the problems this creates for Calvinists is in establishing assurance of salvation. On this particular morning in class, I learned that one of the typical “signs” for a Calvinist that a person is one of “the elect” is personal wealth. This put a damper on my morning as I pondered that if they are right, then I am likely a reprobate. However, I chose to be amused as opposed to concerned.
And then it happened…
A Valentine’s Day discussion. There’s nothing like watching people struggle with whether or not they should ask you anything about Valentine’s Day, or tiptoe around the subject around you, etc., because you are single and…ahem…let’s just say you’ve heard the “29 again?” reference many times already. There have been years when flying solo has bothered me on Valentine’s Day, and there have been years when it has amused me. This year, I was just looking forward to getting a valentine from my niece, Olivia.
Back to Church History after that discussion, and onto a discussion of Henry VIII and presentation on the life of Anne Boleyn – not exactly a match made in heaven or one we would hold up as an example of everlasting love on this Valentine’s Day! I guess it was sort of ironic to be focused on Henry VIII on this particular holiday. Still, the study of the tyrant and pondering his effect on the church was an enthralling, though disconcerting, way to finish off the morning before heading off to work at North Pointe.
I needed to make one stop on the way to work, to drop off a request for a police check at a local police station for employment purposes at my church. I waited in line at the police station for over 45 minutes at the police station before they told me I would have to make the request in St. Albert instead of Edmonton, since part of the request is clearance to work with a vulnerable sector (working around or with children). This day was just not going all that well after all – too many downers in too short a time and I couldn’t rise above all of them. I was angry and frustrated when I left the police station to go to work.
As I drove to the church, my thoughts were not stellar about anything as I boo-hooed about my “horrible” day so far. (Yes, it embarrasses me to write and confess that, but I try to keep it real in these devotionals.) I approached the office in this toxic state, and Pastor Bob was the lucky recipient of my complaints. Empathy is one of his strong suits and I was the beneficiary of that gift on this day. I tried not to spread my poison around the office for the few hours I was there, and then finally took off for home.
Later that night, as I was laying in bed, face turned upward, I began praying and seeking God in my miserable state, little tears seeping out of my eyes. And as I asked him “Why?” about so many things, my mind’s eye spotted a piece of paper floating downward from the heavens as a feather descends from the sky…back and forth, back and forth. As it neared me, I could see it was a valentine. I plucked it out of the air and read it.