Summary: Romantic love is to be celebrated because the whole redemption plan of God's love revolves around the romance of human love.

Sir Wilfred Grenfell, the famous medical missionary to

Labrador, was a fast worker when it came to falling in love.

He was on board a ship returning to England when he

spotted a charming lady on deck. He was 43 years old, and

so it was not as though he had never spotted a charming

lady before. But this woman had such an appeal to him that

he proposed to her shortly after he met her. She naturally

resisted saying, "But you don't even know my name." He

responded, "It doesn't matter, I know what its going to be."

Here was a case of love at first sight, and history is full of

such romantic stories where people find their mate in a

moment and live happily ever after.

Others who are equally open to God's leading have a

tough time finding their life partner. Billy Graham is a

prime example of this side of the coin. Graham was going

steady with Emily Cavanaugh in college. He felt she was

beautiful, talented, and spiritual, and he told his parents he

planned to ask her to be his wife. She admired Billy a great

deal, but she came to a point where she told him she had

reconsidered his proposal, and she could not accept it. He

was devastated and felt the world had ended.

Later Graham developed a relationship with Ruth Bell.

Their love grew, but it also hit a snag. She was a missionary

kid and felt God wanted her to be missionary, but Billy felt

called to be an evangelist. They became engaged in 1941,

but at Wheaton College Ruth told Billy she was unsure after

all. There were tears and struggles before Ruth could make

a commitment to be his wife. She realized he needed the

balance she could give him. He was too serious, and she

could add the lighter touch to his personality. They have

had a long and happy marriage, but the point is, there was

struggle and a lot of adjustment.

Love stories can be romantic love at first sight, or

tangled webs of struggle type stories. In one of the great love

stories of the Bible we have a case which is both. The story

of Jacob and Rachel is a classic case of love at first sight.

She came with her flock of sheep to the well, and Jacob

became an instant servant by rolling away the stone from the

well to impress her. A short time after he was negotiating

for her hand in marriage. But the story takes on the

characteristics of complexity and struggle as Laban throws

his oldest daughter Leah into Jacob's bed, and thus began a

lifetime of conflict and competition in Jacob's love life.

Out of this both simple and complex love story God

brought forth His people-the 12 tribes of Israel, and the

blood line to the Messiah, and the greatest love story of

all-Christ and His bride the church. Romantic love is to be

celebrated because the whole redemption plan of God's love

revolves around the romance of human love. You cannot tell

the story of God's love without the story of the love of

husband and wife. Romance is at the very heart of God's

plan of salvation, and it becomes an effort in futility to try

and separate love into the sacred and the secular.

Romantic love is a vital part of the sacred plan of God to

save a lost world. It is valid, therefore, to celebrate the gift of

romance. God does so Himself by making romantic love such

a major part of His revelation. It is exalted to the highest

level in the Song of Songs where we read of romantic love in

8:6-7, "It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many

waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If

one were to give all the wealth of his house for love it would

be utterly scorned."

Jacob's love for Rachel illustrates this. He wanted her as

his mate so strongly that he would work for 7 years to

possess her as his own, and v. 20 says the 7 years were like

only a few days because of his love for her. It was a small

price to pay for such a treasure. Love was his motivation;

love was his energy, and love was the fire that could not be

quenched even though one wet blanket after another was

thrown on its flame. There is no escape from the emotional

side of love. It is a passion, or an intense feeling. The story of

Christ's suffering for his bride is called a passion play. His

intense feelings were a passion. Passion can be torment, and

love sick people can go through torment in what they are

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