Beauty in distress rescued by a worthy suitor… A perfect match disrupted by calamity or misunderstanding, and fate or heart-following or serendipity must find a way to set things right… Sparks fly in a moment where two eyes meet for the first time, and instincts assure a future together… Lovely stories that wrap you up in a blanket with a bowl of popcorn, leaving you feeling starry-eyed and hopeful as a child and somewhat incomplete as you mature.
The kind of earthly love I’m after isn’t as romantic as those in story books. It can’t be, for they, with their strife and sacrifice and rewarding endings bear a slight but unsatisfying resemblance to what I already have in Jesus. The heroes and lovers in fairytales are not even worth comparing with the Word who became Immanuel. He is unlike any human that ever lived! He is the ideal mixture of strength, courage and tenderness- a true picture of manhood. What’s more, he wasn’t after that which was beautiful or breathtaking like the protagonist in so many other stories. He came for the lost, the overlooked, the ones clothed in rags. When he walked the earth, His piercing gaze saw right into the hearts of others. Yet even knowing all the details about the people He walked and dined with, He chose to love and serve them anyway, extending the same graces to all who follow Him today. I am among these graced subjects, redeemed by a story with a plot to challenge all the common ones.
He moved heaven and earth to win my heart, leaving a throne to walk rough Roman roads in human feet. The rocky paths led to an unjust trial he bore with grace and a cross-shaped punishment in the greatest display of His power. One word, one flinch, one breath could have forever silenced His mockers, ended the agony, and unleashed His supreme heavenly army upon matchless oppressors. But he knew the true enemy, a dragon with an Achilles heel. And so, exceeding power shone with every clang of the hammer, every unsilenced critic, and every lot cast for His stolen garments. Suppression in the slaughter. Even as death hung His head, all was not lost. The battle was taken to the grave, where the dragon realized his error. As morning light poured into a cave on the outskirts of Jerusalem, Jesus stood victorious, a Savior to rival all other tales of salvation, romantic or otherwise.
This Prince of All sought my heart in a story that spans millennia and he’ll have my heart forevermore. To seek a better provider or pursuer would be fruitless. To dig in the earth for that which He has promised me in the stars is silly.
And yet, He allows some of His children the privilege of retelling His story in a covenant called marriage, little caves that let in the morning light. That’s the kind of earthly love I’m after- the kind that humbles itself into its proper place, knowing that it can’t compete with the bigger story. Instead, it finds ways to authenticate it- A little love that finds its source, passion, and purpose in the unconditional love of Jesus.
It’s not the kind of stuff you’ll find in the sparks of romantic novels or the appeal of Hallmark movies. It’s the kind of stuff you’ll find in quieter corners, where revolving front doors, early morning plea-ful prayers, and wrinkled smiles build God’s kingdom on the coals of covenant-blessed love.
That’s what I’m after. Anything less is at worse, futile competition and at best, an ignorant substitute.
Single readers: have you had thoughts of settling? Have you pondered fruitless relationships in your prolonged season of waiting? You need to remember that true faith is found when the promises of God are enough, like they were for those awaiting a Savior in the centuries of silence before Jesus burst onto the scene. Or perhaps you find yourself holding out for the sparks and perfection of fairy tales. If so, you need to hear that a marriage that builds God’s kingdom can’t last on sparks alone- it takes coals to warm and light the dark. And we all need to remember what we already have in Christ- the One in whom our hearts are filled to the fullest, with whom all other little loves are humbled.