When was the last time you wrote a letter? No, not an email or a long text message. No, not even a thank-you card. I am talking about a handwritten, heartfelt letter to a loved one. If you are like me, you probably have not written a letter in the past 5 years. Decades ago, long before social media and smartphones, young couples would write letters when they were in love. Love letters, as they were known, contained messages of humor, reality, and of course, expressions of love. Young people looked forward to receiving mail in the expectation of hearing from their “special someone”.  Like winter snowflakes, no two love letters were alike. Each was unique its own way.  Love letters were a revelation of the nature of the couple’s relationship.

Did you know that you are a love letter? The apostle Paul once wrote, “You are like a letter from Christ.” (2 Corinthians 3:2 CEV). You, my dear reader, are a uniquely gifted and potential packed letter from Jesus to the world. That question that begs to be asked is: what message are you communicating?

As a Christian young adult, I have noticed that my generation struggles with a pessimistic faith. We tend to focus on our difficulties, often at the expense of our faith. Let’s face it. Life is hard. School can be challenging. Work can be overwhelming. When faced with the realities of everyday life, we often stow our smiles and complain of our busy schedules to any listening ear. Sometimes, instead of verbally complaining, we muse over our difficulties and internally whine. We trudge through life with heavy burdens. Burdens of fear, worry, excessive stress, and haunting memories.  Instead of leaving our financial, academic, and social burdens with Jesus, we snatch little pieces of our burdens from His back. As our burdens become heavier, our outlook becomes darker. Gradually, many of us turn away from Jesus, only to wonder why hearts are filled with sadness.

When life is difficult, we easily forget our purpose. We forget that we are love letters in a world devoid of love. We forget that joy is an essential aspect of the Christian life. Perhaps, we struggle to be joyful because we do not understand what the love of Jesus truly means.

From personal experience, I have learned that I am happiest when I rely on the love of Christ. If you have been blessed with loving parents and siblings, you can relate to the feeling of being consistently loved. Like the love of Jesus, family love looks past your imperfections and sees your potential. Such love is inspiring and motivating. Personally, it drives me to courageously strive and joyfully conquer. Knowing that I am loved gives me confidence when I have none. I can’t help but be happy when I am truly loved. If earthly love is this powerful, consider the love of God. It is infinitely deeper than the love of family and friends.  Understanding and experiencing this enables me to conquer life’s challenges. When I feel like a failure, Jesus reassures me that despite my weakness, He will always love me. Through His word, He reminds me that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate me from His love. This gives me hope and empowers me to smile when circumstances dictate otherwise.

Unfortunately, there have been many times when my attitude or actions have misrepresented the love of Christ. Like an empty envelope addressed from a special person, I know I have often failed to relay the message of God’s love to those around me. Instead of being a love letter, at times I have allowed myself to be an empty envelope. At times, I have unintentionally been a misleading letter, leading people to make wrong assumptions about character of God. Maybe you have felt the same way, and have become discouraged. Slumping into the discouragement, my friend, is not the same as falling at the feet of Jesus. The love of God that was displayed at the cross does not leave the fallen in tears. It heals the broken and motivates the crestfallen to try again. Empty envelopes can be filled. Misleading letters can be re-written into beautiful messages of love.

You and I can fulfill our purpose as love letters from Jesus. We do not have to succumb to the pessimistic pitfalls of our generation. We can show the world that living for Jesus can be, and is, a beautiful experience. In a world devoid of joy and happiness, we can be sources of hope and confidence. Let’s stop sending conflicting and disappointing messages to the world. Instead, let us allow the love of Jesus to transform our hearts, and help us to appropriately express His love. Experiencing this, my fellow love letters, is the secret to rejoicing in Him. It’s that simple!