“Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.”
Photo by marie kelley photography
While traveling through Europe, love padlocks appear in unexpected places. The love padlocks shown above were observed in Rome, commonly an adornment to bridges. There are varied explanations for the origin of the love padlocks, but it is reported that love padlocks started appearing in Europe in the early 2000s. Typically the sweethearts’ names or initials are inscribed on the padlock, and its key is thrown away to symbolize unbreakable love.
Throughout history, there have been many symbols used by lovers to illustrate their affection for one another. In years past, couples names encircled with a heart were lovingly carved into tree trunks. Weathering storms and standing the test of time, the tree’s emblem served as an enduring image of love declared. In this 14th year of the 21st century, one of the most personal ways to express one’s love for another takes the form of a tattoo.
Today’s culture embraces tattoos that encourage the lover to demonstrate loyalty and unending devotion through the enduring ink marks made on one’s body. As the tattoo itself forever marks the body it symbolizes the indelible mark the beloved has made on the lover’s heart.
And so it is with God. His love for his children has been expressed in many ways and has taken many forms. The Bible is filled with examples of God’s declarations of His unconditional love for mankind. Beginning in Genesis, God’s providential care for his creation is witnessed as he fashioned a perfect environment for man’s survival. His symbols of love are displayed in the daily sunrise and sunset, the provision of food and nourishment in the form of plants, animals and water. The earth is full of his unfailing love (Psalm 33:5).
God’s love was profoundly displayed through Jesus Christ. John 3:16 reads that, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The thought of exchanging one’s beloved child as a ransom for another is inconceivable to the finite mind, but is God’s ultimate and conclusive expression of love. The resurrection of Jesus Christ “turned the key” in the gates of Hades and death — liberating us to eternal life. His resurrection demonstrated dominion over death and our liberation grants us freedom from the bondage of the fear of death. Finally, God provides another emblem of His love in the form of His Spirit. Romans 5:5 reads, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” God’s Spirit is an ever present confirmation of His love, reassuring us that we are the very children of God (1 John 3:2). God’s Spirit is God’s padlock of His everlasting love.
Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and want to be right with you. I ask you to forgive me of all my sins. I believe that your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin. The Bible tells me that if I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I will be saved (Romans 10:9). This very moment I believe with my heart and I confess with my mouth and accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.