It’s February. The month when we celebrate romance can trivialize love into pink cards and candy. This Valentine’s season, I can’t help thinking about hearts I know who cry out for healing. Picture this:

You are accused of a crime you did not commit. Your dream job dissolves, your community rejects you and your marriage implodes.

Your daughter’s physical heart is literally broken by a congenital defect. At three years old, she will be undergoing her third major heart surgery.

You are sexually abused by someone you know and trust.

Your mother dies by homicide.

All of this and more has happened to people I love. What can I do with all of this pain and heartache? My anger and sadness overwhelms me. So I cling to an impossible paradox.

“Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it” (Song of Solomon 8:7, ESV). The floods are drowning me. I’m swirling in the raging tides and I’m not going to make it. 

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34: 18-19 ESV). If you’re so loving, God, why do you allow my heart to break? Why am I so afflicted I can barely breathe? Deliver me!

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us” (Romans 5:3-5, ESV). I’m in pain. My eyes are downward and inward. Look up. Look up, despite the weight that threatens to crush me. 

As my heart breaks, the Holy Spirit pours in something stronger: love. Love that weeps, and yet hopes without shame. Love that endures.