Over the holiday season, I worked at Barnes and Noble. The quickest path to the break room through the shelves heavy with thousands of books was down the romance aisle.
Now, I’ve never considered myself a typical girl. Sure, I played with dolls growing up, but I also spent hours outside in the dirt. My instinctual form of flirting with guys is to beat them in some sort of competition—hasn’t worked so well thus far, but hey, it’s fun. True to form, my usual subconscious reaction upon glancing at the section label over the books as I headed to grab my nametag and stash my bag in my locker was to roll my eyes. “Romance books are just for saps,” I seemed to be saying to myself.
I’m also in the stage in life where friends are starting to get married and have kids. It was a long process to admit that I want that for myself—and then suddenly I entered the struggle of thinking, “I’m going to become an old maid! Where in the world are all these great single guys my friends have found? I’m soooo ooollldd.” One healthy response to this is that early twenties is by no means old, that there is plenty of life to live and I should be focusing on making the most of every day, not on bemoaning singleness.
Of course, more often, my reaction is this kind of pep talk: “Who needs men, anyways? Come on, you’re a smart, talented woman who doesn’t need marriage and a family. That desire’s just planted in you by a crazy society. Down with romance!”
Yet still, I find myself sometimes looking at couples who have been married longer than I’ve been alive and wondering, “Does romance exist anymore? What is it like?” It seems like a great mystery, a profound wonder—and, since I’m a product of the Enlightenment and scientific thinking, I start to wonder if it can actually exist if I haven’t experienced it myself.
I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. Why, countless people watch romances because on their own, they’d lose hope that love exists. How many of the leading females in those movies are independent business women who’ve thrown hopes of romance in the trash—until, of course, the hero comes in and proves to them that love is a real thing, and that it was made for them. On Pintrest, there’s a line going around that someone should write a story in which the narrator slowly falls in love with the reader. That idea instantly catches so many people’s interest (mine, too) that it’s been repined dozens of times.
We all have a deep, inescapable desire for love, and not just for any kind of love. The need for romance is somewhere near the core of our beings.
Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, my sister said, “I just realized. You know how everyone wants that book where the author’s in love with the reader? It’s already been written.”
“Huh?” I articulately asked to which book she was referring.
In her tone that means “duh,” she said, “The Bible.”
And since then, I can’t stop thinking about it.
The Bible is the one book in the world in which the author is completely, madly in love with the reader.
God’s love just struck me anew. He loves us so much, He poured thousands of years into writing us the perfect book to tell us about it. He told us who He is, so that we wouldn’t forget him; He reminded us of past things we’ve done together (like when He saved us from slavery, when He provided food and drink for us in a desert, when giants were threatening us and He was our knight in…well, our knight without armor, etc.); He showed us how deep His love went, when He sacrificed Himself for us; and He told us His dreams of our future, when finally we can be together.
The last few chapters of Revelation have been coming to my mind a lot over the past few months: The end of our separation, when the Bridegroom finally comes for his Bride, when Christ and the Church are wed beside a sea of glass. The City Harmonic wrote this beautiful song that I have listened to on repeat—and I’m not the kind of person to listen to a song more than once in the same day if I can avoid it:
Today, be reminded of how great God’s love is for you. He is completely, madly in love with you. He has done great feats to get your attention. He gave up everything for your good. He waits for you with eager expectation.
He loves you. The only, holy God loves you. We are part of the ultimate romance, and it is a beautiful thing.
And I just realized I never finished updating you on Dressember! Without any more delay, here are the last few days of December. For those of you who don’t know what Dressember is, check out my previous post or their website.