“I have to go now,” I said the words, but my heart broke. The time was nearing. I didn’t want to let her go, but I had to do this… for her. “I love you more than the deepest of the ocean, and higher than the heavens. I’ll always be with you.” Tears fell from her russet eyes down to her chest like drops of spring rain falling from vibrant leaves. I pulled her close and wrapped her into my arms; I felt her sorrow with every beat of her heart. “Please, receive this book of my story. Let each morning bring you a word of my unfailing love.”
She took the book and traced her thumb over the gold bold letters. BIBLE. In this moment, she didn’t understand why I had to leave. But one day, in her pain and sorrow, she will. One day in her brokenness, or when she has made an unforgiving mistake, this day will be enough to pay her debt if she’ll adhere to my word. Most importantly, I hope she will know how much I love her.
In a modern day biblical movie, this would be how I would imagine a scene of God speaking to me precedent of making his poetically beautiful sacrifice.
Nicholas Sparks, author of countless beautiful love stories, portrays an idea of what people would consider the “ultimate love story” in several of his books — love, anger, hurt, betrayal, sacrifice, and everything that goes into making love come alive. I like to presume that God fulfilled the ultimate love story with me. I remember the numerous times that I’ve become angry at God, and the times I’ve had to work with him to overcome hurt and bitterness. Still, he pulls me close to tell me how much he loves me, waits patiently, and continues to fulfill his promises. What love is this, that he would do that for me? For someone so unworthy and undeserving?
But oh so dearly, God’s love is not solely for me. This is a relationship that God wants with you. Not only that, it is essential to our spiritual survival that we have an intimate relationship with the author of our love story. His love for us is so deep and intimate. Naturally, I can imagine that when God was ready to give himself as a sacrifice, his humanity shook. But because He loves us so graciously, He gave himself so that we didn’t have to live by the standard of our sin.
How can we have a close relationship with God?
An eloquent love story written in the 21st century portrays two ordinary people implementing an extraordinary action. The couple must overcome an obstacle that will enhance their love for one another. At times, the couple may stray; but once they overcome, their journey will continue. Similarly, God went through many hardships, pain, and suffering for us. He gave up his life to live a life with us. God’s sacrifice was extraordinary for us — the ordinary. We will fail him. There will be times when we stray. Life may not offer the Nicholas Sparks fairy-tale and you may not have your prince; but God, the author of our love story, will offer so much more.
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us; and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” (Ephesians 5:2)
To build a close relationship with God, we need to first make him the priority in our lives. This means to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). In accepting marriage, God wants us to know true love and to learn how to be passionate in loving others. More importantly, He wants to know that we will love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). God wants intimacy with us, and desires a relationship much like our human connections. He wants to know our fears and struggles, our desires, our passions. He wants to know that when we wake up in the morning or go to sleep at night, he is the first and last person in our minds. How can someone be so intentional in their love for someone, who can go a full day without stopping and saying, “I love you, Lord!” Life is busy, but taking time to surround yourself with God is so important in walking in his will.
How can God become the center of your life?
For God to be a priority in your life, it means you must be willing to sacrifice a part of yourself. Various scriptures in the bible associate love with sacrifice (John 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Romans 5:8). Accordingly, in order for a relationship to stay abode and remain sacred, it costs a great amount of time, energy and putting someone else first — much like God did for us. I’m sure those of you who have been in a relationship know how much energy it takes. Frankly, my non-dating relationships take a great amount of energy, time, and effort. However, God desires that we love him enough that it is not a daily hassle to fantasize being close with him, holding hands, or engage in deep conversations with him. Take some time to develop your relationship with God — a few minutes opening up his word and hearing what he has to say. Study his word. Pray in your mind throughout the day because God is continuously thinking of you. What’s more, the Bible goes to say he is a jealous God. When we show our affection to worldly things, and our minds are faithfully dwelling on them, we are creating ourselves idols put before God (Exodus 20:4–6).
This is not about waiting in singleness or what to do when you are in a relationship. It is having a relationship with God before, during, and after those instances. Relationships will fade. Your time of singleness may come and go, but God will remain. His love for you will be there regardless of your sin or your relationship status. No one will ever be deserving of what God gives, but he loves us so much that he overlooks our imperfections. We need to build the foundation of our lives on God’s love and his promises. We need to be vulnerable with him, pure, and honest. Let him see who you are. Let him get to know you, because the “you” that he created is who he loves so dearly. When we commit to put God first, build a relationship with him, and trust our lives to him, he will guide us into being where he wants us in life; and one day, he may give us over to our human prince charming. But for now, let God be the one.
“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I’d hoped to give you forever.” -Nicholas Sparks