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On the back of a street sign in front of the LaSalle St. Theatre, currently showing Jersey Boys, in the heart of Chicago’s Loop, you’ll find (if it’s withstood the weathering these past few months) a sticker that humbly proclaims this message.

Is it true for you?

I thought it was true for me. I found it for the first time, deftly guided, and I nodded in deep agreement. I knew love wasn’t easy; I could testify; I even loved the poeticism that embraced the metaphor. I’d seen too many romantic comedies that end happily ever after with all the glitter and gold of romantic love. There’s just no way, I thought. That’s not the way it really works.  Heartache is true, and so is this.

But I was wrong. I was wrong to agree. I can’t deny the lyrical stepping that the phrase achieves, and no, everything about love isn’t always pretty and the romantic comedies still aren’t right. But. But love is not, it’s certainly not lonely and empty. If love is lonely and empty for you, let me gently suggest that it’s not love. It could be a thousand other things, but don’t be fooled to think that it’s love.  Love, perfect love, never leaves you lonely or empty.  Not a chance.

Christ’s love for me is real. I may feel lonely or lost at times, but at those times my understanding of God’s love for me isn’t complete. Jesus doesn’t make everything glitter and gold the moment you trust Him. No, sir. But can I readily admit the gaping hole in my comprehension? Is it even possible that I might be missing something? Or am I too proud to say so? When I’m properly understanding the big picture, God’s love for me is deeply sacrificial and meets every single need I could even imagine having. In His love, as He is love, God does the best possible good for me, His child, every time. Isn’t that better than candy and flowers? Sometimes I don’t even know what the best possible good is for me.  But God loves me unconditionally, and whatever the elusive “best” is, He acts in that direction on my behalf. It’s better than every amazing stereotype that love gets. It’s life-saving, literally. And it’s how love between you and me should at least try to function.

Much love.