A barista shoots me glances of confusion while I slump over my laptop and coffee-stained notebook. I squeal like a teen girl at a boyband concert while rereading conversations between my book couples. I’m the author of their story, yet I delight in each sentence of their journey. Why? There must be a reason for this insane, geeky reaction, a connection to someone greater than me and my fictional stories.
Over the past five years of having my books on shelves, I have learned people crave stories with romance. Some of my friends won’t read a book or watch a movie unless there is a prominent love interest. What gives us this need? Why do we hunger for hope in someone else’s happy ending?
Books hold incredible romances, but our love story began at the cross where the Prince of Peace, Son of the Living God, sacrificed Himself in a wild, unrestrained, indescribable gesture of desire. Love-struck and infatuated with us, He did the one thing others have written into their stories for millenniums. He demonstrated love in its purest form.
“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
– Romans 5:8
Before documentation of Jesus Christ, there isn’t a recorded case of sacrifice in the name of love, so why has society accepted the selfless giving of one’s own self as the most extreme expression of care?
We, the authored, radiate with our Creator.
Our hearts ache and break for a cinematic meet cute; boy and girl make eye contact from opposite sides of the room—maybe they sit next to each other, begin an awkward first conversation—and they fall in love. Easy. Fast. Straightforward.
We want to be able to fit a love story into a few chapters or a two hour movie because for the duration of our lives, we’ve been taught by the media that love happens fast and concludes with a couple lounging on a park bench, hopelessly enthralled with each other as the camera zooms out or the final paragraph comes to a sweet conclusion. Although we all have a victorious ending in Christ, our stories read different. They’re each beautiful and captivating in their own way, but their plot graphs differ in rising action and climax.
I met a dear friend for coffee a few days ago. As we sipped our fancy Cubans, she reminded me of a truth that has stuck with me—Love may start with sparks, but it comes softly with time.
God delights in our love stories more than we could ever “fan girl” over book characters and their climactic, romantic breakthroughs. He is writing our love interests into existence, smiling as we move toward each other. He reveals His own love for us as we grapple with the uncertainty and fear of opening our hearts. Softly—a word saturated with the deep richness of all beauty and excitement that is to come through our intimate relationship with the Author.
Time is irrelevant to God. In fact, He uses time as a buffer between plot points, a suspense-builder and a catalyst to merge His glory into the romance. He manifests Himself when the story reaches a prime moment, when the unfolding beams with evidence of His inspiration. As heroes and heroines in the God-authored saga, we must ask Him to sync our souls with His will for our stories and be confident in all that is to come because . . . it will come . . . in forms we may or may not expect.
Uniting the threads between writing and resting in God’s composition is the simple truth: Without the author, there cannot be a love story. Relationships in books require the author’s inspiration and the characters’ willingness to subject their independent nature to reliance on the author’s care for them. Three entities. Three lovers. One story.
Genesis 24 holds the love story that has haunted my mind for months. I often feel like Rebekah, carrying my jug of water to the spring, waiting for God to choose me for His Isaac. I have been like Abraham’s servant, asked for signs, watched closely to “learn whether or not the Lord had made (my) journey successful.”
Hearts cry out with joy when the Lord taps His podium, raises His conductor’s baton and signals destiny to erupt in a symphonic celebration. The audience sighs when the story unravels at the pristine instance, when both characters mature to perfection and merge lives. They clutch their mouths when Rebekah appears on the horizon, clothed in her wedding garb. They weep as Isaac moves across the field, captivated by her. They cheer as the Author unites both characters in a scene of desert breezes, canvas tents and ordained lovers standing face-to-face, hand-in-hand.
Crafting a romance between pages or on a screen is nothing more than an allegorical representation of our lives with Christ Jesus. When we write books, we reflect what God is doing with us, the craving He has for our attention and faith. Write with this fact in mind, know that perfect love takes three entities and Jesus-inspired sacrifices.