This is a featured post by Emmeline Zhu, a freshmen studio art major at Messiah College who plans on concentrating in Graphic Design. Aside from everything art related, she enjoys spending time listening to music, hanging out with friends, playing ultimate Frisbee, or just simply quietly observing the details of God’s incredible creation.

Happy Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day :). In light of this day marked by heart shaped chocolates and cheesy Hallmark cards, I thought it would be appropriate to share a little bit on love. I mean the unconditional, everlasting, never-failing love that comes from the One who is love, also the One who first loved.

Recently, through a NYC service trip I went on and in reading assignments or random discussions, I came across the topic of God’s love many times and am reminded of just how great His love for us is. One of the things I feel that God has been teaching me lately is how to love others the way He does. This is something I have wrestled with a bit. To me, it is easy to love those around me when things are fine and happy, but when opinions differ and mistakes are made, judgment and other negative emotions suddenly bury that love and make it very difficult to uncover.

During my service trip, God gave me the opportunity to get to know the leader of my group, Hanna. Throughout the trip I saw her absolute confidence in the love God has for her. In turn, she extended this love to everyone around her. What God has helped me understand is that the only way I can love like He does is by making Him the source of my love for others: by receiving His unconditional, never ending love and letting it overflow onto those around me.

A metaphor that Hanna shared with me: imagine God’s love as a beautiful waterfall and you standing under it with your arms stretched over your head and palms facing upward. As the water flows down and hits your palms it will splash out to those around you. Whether others choose to stand under the waterfall or not, they will all receive splashes of this refreshing water.

“We love because He first loved us.” -1 John 4:19