Thursday, November 02, 2006
Ah, romance. Brings certain images to mind, doesn't it? Candlelit dinners. Dancing under the stars. Fluttery feelings in your gut when that certain someone gazes into your eyes.
We all dream of finding romance, and lots of people like reading stories about it. You know the pattern. Boy meets girl. A bunch of stuff conspires against them. Boy eventually wins girl. They a) kiss, b) get engaged, and/or c) get married. Then comes The Happily-Ever-After End.
Most of us fall in love with this formula as soon as we're old enough for classic Disney movies. And I'm not knocking it. Fairy tales are delightful. Every little girl dreams of being Cinderella or Jasmine or Sleeping Beauty.
But then there's reality.
Life doesn't usually work out like a typical romance story. And maybe that's not what we really want anyway. Maybe we're longing for something else. Something better.
Maybe what we really want is a love story. A story about acts of self-sacrifice and kindness. Heroism, not of the Indiana Jones variety, but the Jesus variety. Love that sees us in our sin and filth and indifference, then lays down its life in our place anyway. Hosea-type love that knowingly marries an adulterous wife. Then, after she runs away, goes to the slave market and buys her back again.
God is the greatest Romancer of all, but His story doesn't fit the mold. He calls and woos his bride. When she loses interest in Him and goes after other lovers, He waits. Oh, how patiently He waits! And he even promises a happy ending. But the story world is broken, and there's only one way to reach happily ever after. The Lover must die for His beloved. And then He leaves--a long physical separation during which the bride learns obedience through suffering. She groans within herself, longing for a redemption of her body that will not come this side of death.
No candlelit dinners. No dancing under the stars. No gazing into the eyes.
Prince Charming may never carry you off into the sunset on a white horse. But Jesus is coming back for His bride, and He promises happily ever after. We’re all invited to be part of that love story. I'm in. How 'bout you?