Last week, we looked at what love was supposed to look like by going all the way back to the beginning of time with Adam and Eve. This week we look at a love story only God could write.
Valentine's Day brings flowers, chocolates in heart-shaped boxes, fluffy stuffed animals, and the chance meeting atop the Empire State Building as depicted in Sleepless in Seattle; however, is that what really happens on this day?
Some couples get engaged, some meet for the first time, and others carry on as if it's just another day. In some respect, it is just another day, but what if there was more? What if there was a chance that a love story could be written specifically for you, would you jump at the chance to have it?
Do you remember your love story?
It might have been a look across a room or a handshake or a blind date or a kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve. Every love story is unique to the people in that story. Overall, the stories may be similar but the way it happens for you or me is unique to each person.
My parents have a love story that started with a first date, then a four-year break, and then a look across a room at church, and their love story still has chapters being written after 53 years.
My grandparents on both sides were married for over 60 years. I come from a legacy of lasting love, and my brother joined the family legacy with his marriage just a month ago.
Along the way, our hearts get broken, and we question whether love is in the cards for us. Some of the heartbreak is of our doing, and other times it happens to us.
God's love stories fit into His plan for our lives, and we think we see what He is doing, and then He surprises us.
In scripture, Ruth was a Moabite who married one of Naomi's sons. For a while they had a happy life, but then tragedy struck and Ruth lost her husband, and Naomi lost her son.
When the time came, Ruth and Naomi ventured back to a little town called Bethlehem where Naomi was from. She begged Ruth to go back to her own people so she could find another husband, but Ruth replied,
“I will go where you go. Your people are my people.” – Ruth 1:16
And this simple act of love from a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law set in motion a plan and story God was already writing. The time of the harvest had come, and Ruth made her way to a field and was following behind the workers picking up any scraps of wheat left behind so Naomi and she could eat.
The owner of the field, Boaz, swung by to check the progress and noticed a new face, Ruth. He inquired with his workers as to who she was. He approached cautiously, but with a heart of compassion and told her you are safe in this field, don't go anywhere else.
So…she continued day after day until the harvest ended.
Naomi, being the good Jewish mother-in-law she was, saw what was happening. Maybe there was a spring in Ruth's step or a smile that surfaced when she recounted her day, but Naomi knew there was a spark brewing.
She sat Ruth down and told her what she should do. So…one night she slipped out of the home and made her way to the threshing floor at Boaz's place. She uncovered his feet and laid at them. He awoke to find Ruth at his feet and asked why she was there (although the romantic in me thinks he already knew).
Before the sun rose the next morning, Boaz sent Ruth on her way, and said,
Don't worry, I will do the honorable thing, but there is another redeemer ahead of me. I will talk with him. – Ruth 3:10-13
And as the story unfolded, Boaz went to the other family redeemer, to see if he would redeem Ruth. There was some back and forth, but eventually, Boaz became Ruth's family redeemer, and as they say, the rest is history.
They married and had a son named Obed, who had a son named Jesse, who had a son named David who would grow up to slay giants & lions and lead the nation of Israel.
And if all that wasn't amazing enough, the Savior of the world – Jesus, made his entrance into the world through a young woman named Mary. Her betrothed Joseph was part of the line of David that traces back to a story only God could write that began with a faithful woman named Ruth, and a family redeemer named Boaz.
What's Your Love Story?
Let me ask you, what does your love story look like? Were you swept off your feet or was it a little more like Ruth?
This time of year can be difficult for people. You might be asking when is it going to be my time – haven't I waited long enough, God?
You might be thinking, how could anyone love me – I am so broken. Maybe your love story includes multiple marriages and multiple divorces with kids from different fathers. Maybe your story includes falling in love, and that person is tragically taken from you through an accident. Or maybe…you never found the one, and you feel you are destined for a life of singleness.
God sees you at every bend in the road. He sees the joy you once had, and He sees the pain you have experienced. His heart breaks right along with yours, and He asks us to be patient while He writes the story.
Oftentimes, we get tired of waiting and take matters into our own hands, and that leads to more heartbreak. All the good and all the heartbreak lead to a story God is crafting for you.
As a young man, I asked God to write a love story for me. I asked Him to find me someone that fit me. I didn't want to settle, and I didn't want to settle for miss right now. I wanted a story like my parents and grandparents had. I wanted a story only God could write.
I am still waiting for my story to be written, but one thing has changed over the years. I became content. I stopped chasing the idea of love and marriage and started living a life filled with contentment.
As best I knew how, I told God that I was okay if He never brought someone into my life. I would be content to serve, work, and build friendships.
And then, it happened for me when I least expected it. You know that's what they say, it always happens when you least expect it. But my story is one that God had been writing for a long time.
In 2018, I joined the board of LATCOM Ministries – a mission serving in Bolivia to equip, train, and plant churches. At the time of my board introduction, the Executive Director's wife said to me,
“Have I got a girl for you.”
With an eye roll only God could see, and a heart not yet ready, I went about my time serving. In early 2020, ahead of the pandemic, I attended an in-person board meeting where I met this gal for all of fifteen minutes. With a handshake and a wave, we parted ways.
Fast forward to November 2021, and God was doing something in the background. When the Executive Director and his wife visited my church, I asked how this gal was doing, and his wife said,
“I wasn't going to bring it up, but she messaged you.”
“What I said, I never got it”
And so began the hunt for this message…Not in my email. Where could this message be? And then just as I headed off to dreamland, the thought occurred to me that it might be on Facebook. So, I downloaded the apps, and there it was from February 2020.
“Hey want to grab coffee or dinner?”
An innocent request from a hometown gal to an out-of-town guy, just to go hang while in town as a friend, and I had ghosted her for a year and a half. I never check Facebook, so I didn't see it. She also tried what she thought was my number, and that misfired.
All of these miscues as we see them were part of the story God was crafting for me.
After being mortified, I sat down and composed a message on Facebook and email to apologize for the unreturned message. What started with an apology, quickly moved into a casual conversation which turned into a budding romance only God could write.
Two people with their own stories from two different parts of the country brought together by a God who cares about the smallest details of our hearts. Our story needed time. Time for wounds to heal, and space to open in our hearts to allow God to do a work in us, and through us.
My story is still being written and yours may be as well.
You might have a similar desire. A spoken or unspoken request of God to create a love story for you. You might keep checking your watch wondering when is it going to be your turn for romance. There is nothing wrong with that approach as long as it does not breed discontent.
When discontent enters our hearts, we lose sight of the Lord. Believe me, I know this from first-hand experience. However, on the other side of contentment lies unspeakable joy.
God wants you to have a love story for the ages – whether you are seeking marriage or you are married.
For the singles, I encourage you to share your heart's desire with the Lord. Write it in your journal and pray over it. Establish your non-negotiable's whatever they might be, and ask God to write a love story fit for you.
For couples – married or with a partner, I encourage you to share your love story with those who are seeking a relationship. Invite them to a meal, and build into them. And most of all, be the example of what love looks like.
We are all beautifully broken in our own ways, and God uses all of our goodness and heartbreak to craft the best story for us. You are God's workmanship wonderfully handcrafted by the Creator of the Universe.
You are precious to Him. May today be the day you let go of your discontent, your fear, your worries, your brokenness, and live the life God intended you to live. Who knows, your love story may be just around the corner.
Lord, the deepest desire of our hearts is to love, but sometimes we get in the way of what you want to do in us and for us. I ask that you would craft a love story for those that want one, and express it in a way that makes sense for them. Please forgive our discontent, and replace it with joy. Thank you for caring about the smallest detail in our lives. We thank you and praise you for who you are and what you are doing in our lives.
- Meant to Be – Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line (song)
- Write Your Story – Francesca Battistelli (song)
- Thank You, Lord – Chris Tomlin (feat. Thom Rhett & Florida Georgia Line) (song)
- Where the Adventure Begins – Tim Halperin (song)