14 February 2014

Repost: Watch Your Step This Valentine's Day

This is a repost from 14 February 2013. 

Today is Valentine's Day and I find myself reminded of a quote from Wild at Heart author John Eldredge. (No, this is not in any way an endorsement of that book or of Eldredge). Tim Challies posted this bizarre story from Eldredge's book Beautiful Outlaw back in October 2011, but somehow it just seems more appropriately marveled at on February 14:
I was going to call this book 'Jesus of a Thousand Hearts', because of the way he continually breaks into my life. He “speaks” to me through hearts. I’ll find stones in the shape of hearts in rivers where I’m fishing. I’ve seen them almost step-by-step up a mountainside when on a grueling climb. Praying in the morning I’ll look out the window and passing by will be a heart-shaped cloud. Dinner rolls, seashells, stains on my jeans. I’ve won the lottery when it comes to hearts from Jesus. But I am ashamed to admit that last summer, I grew a little impatient with them. I was going through a trying time and seeking God for the answer to many questions. Often, he would simply give me a heart in reply. I’d be walking down the sidewalk, and there in the cement see a heart-shaped hole, made by a bubble when they poured the sidewalk.
I actually grew a little dismissive of them. I didn’t want hearts—I wanted answers.
So, Jesus stopped giving these treasures of our friendship.
Last fall, while walking through an alpine meadow bow hunting, I was asking him, 'How come you don’t give me hearts anymore?' I asked it in a pouting kind of way. At that moment something gray caught my eye. I looked down midstride, and there in the grass, about as big as a dinner plate, was a dried piece of cow manure—in the perfect shape of a heart.
If I didn’t know Jesus adores me, if I didn’t know he is playful, and if our relationship didn’t allow me to receive a playful tease, I might have misinterpreted the icon. But I loved it. It was both, 'Oh, so now you want a heart?' and, 'I adore you still.' A cow-pie heart. That is so Jesus. Wish I’d taken a photo of it—we could have put it on the cover of this book.
As Challies declared: Worst. Gift. Ever.

So this Valentine's Day, watch your step, I guess.

Further Reading


  1. Is it presumptuous to think the Jesus puts signs (like a cow patty) in our path to show us he loves us? I ask because we had a lady in our SS Class at a bible church share a story of the times she has seen an owl and a bluebird.... she said she knew that this was Jesus' way of telling her he loved her. She grew up in the mission field - so people typically didn't challenge or question anything she shared. I just thought it was strange because the bible doesn't talk about God sending birds- or heart shapes for that matter.... to show us He loves us.

  2. Back many years ago when I was still trying to figure out this Christian life and how to live it to the glory of God, I was taken in by many false ideas and teachings because of my immaturity. I was reading all sorts of books by all sorts of authors...all trying to tell me about my God with out using His Word all that much. Sad that I didn't see the error in that at the time. I do not remember what book it was or which author...but I read that we should ask God to show us He loves us by asking Him for something out of the ordinary. Like (as I asked) to see a butterfly in the middle of winter. I did see a butterfly...three in fact. Metal decorations stuck on the side of a house. Did that count? Was it God? Or was it my stretching imaginations that wanted it to mean something?
    Since then I have learned of God's love for me (for ALL of us) from His Word. But I still run across people all the time that are looking for metal butterflies or heart-shaped cow poop.
    This practice has the feel of superstition or sign watching or something else less than mature or solid.... and I'm afraid it feeds our ideology of how wonderful/special WE are.... look how God loves ME!!
    And He does....Romans 5:8.


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