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