When I was in elementary school, each year before Valentine’s Day we would bring in an empty shoebox. We would cover those boxes with pink and red papers and heart shaped cut-outs, and then add our names in big, sparkly letters. When Valentine’s Day finally arrived, our classmates would drop cards into a slit cut out at the top of the box. Back then, kids only had to bring in cards for the people they liked. When you went home that afternoon, you counted your cards to see how many friends you had — it was a childish way to measure your worth.
These days, we don’t need shoebox Valentines for that, we have social media. Based on the number of likes, follows, retweets, and pins, we can tally up how many “friends” we have, still boiling things down to numbers. We keep record of how much we are loved based on how others treat us. Our relationships are based on quid pro quo— scratching backs and procuring favors. “What have you done for me lately?” is the theme song that defines too many relationships. We only give as much as someone else has given to us. We like to keep the scales balanced. Not only that, but our memories are long. We never lose track of what we are owed.
Real Love Cannot Be Measured
I once found a book on numbers for my kids to read. It listed the names of numbers higher than billions and trillions. Now when they want to exaggerate and say that something is so big, bigger than they can count, they say “googolplex.” Yet even a number that high is still quantifiable.
Real love isn’t something you can measure.
But real love isn’t something you can measure. The love God has for us is beyond numbers and can’t be tallied. When God promised to bless Abraham with countless children, he used the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore as a metaphor. These are things people simply cannot count. Paul described the love of Christ as surpassing knowledge (Ephesians 3:19). And the psalmist wrote, “Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds” (Psalm 36:5).
God’s love for us goes farther than even time itself, into the deep recesses of eternity past. It stretched all the way from forever, forward to the cross, and will continue into eternity future. “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4–5).
Written by Christina Fox
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