Tuesday, 19 September 2006

You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs...

I’m not cynical of romantic love. At least I don’t think so. Sweet and mushy talk make me sceptical of the person saying it, but that’s only because I’m naturally wary of trusting people at face value.

I’m certainly not an unbeliever in this thing called love. Although I tend to stay away from romantic comedies and romance novels, I’d be the first to admit that there is still this little girl desire to have my feet swept away by my Prince Charming.

No, there is nothing wrong in love. There is nothing wrong with people being in love. My struggle has been the point of being in love, especially in relation to God.

What purpose does being in love have with doing God’s will, spreading God’s word and living a life as God’s servant? You date this guy, or are married to this guy, but it’s not as if your love life has any real function in doing God’s work right?

But maybe certain things are given to you by God to enrich your own life and hence indirectly enable you to actually continue serving God.

I used to believe that things happened to me so that I can be strengthened and grow in my understanding of God. My relationship with God deepens, I gain an insight I never had and am eventually able to write about it and share my story with others in the hope of encouraging them in their walk with God.

How in the world was I supposed to do that by being in a relationship?

As a couple, we may discuss spiritual issues and even learn from each other. We go to church together and we could strengthen our walk with God. But isn’t it all a little too self-focused?

Sure, there is a possibility that we may become an evangelistic duo, travelling around the country spreading God’s word. That would certainly be doing God’s work. But seriously, you don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to form a dynamic and powerful partnership. Besides, how in the world am I supposed to be part of an evangelistic duo when I really have no desire to be an evangelist in the normal sense of the word even on my own?

As an individual, we all have the ability to do amazing things if God wills it. We can be complete, whole and effective without ever having to be married to someone. God doesn’t require us to be with someone in order to do his work. And that’s precisely it – what is the point of being in a relationship if we can go about life alone?

This could be simply stating the obvious, but it wasn’t till recently that it suddenly dawned on me. Thing is, not everything that happens in life has that much of a direct impact on one’s “evangelical” work. God blesses and gives because of his unconditional love for us. And just as we don’t expect anything in return when we give someone we love a gift, God can provide us with a wonderful present that has nothing to do with what we can do for him in return.

Life is a school of hard knocks. In comparison to the Sudanese genocide refugees, I know I have a pretty rosy life. This is not a “woe is me” article, but the number of deaths, separation, struggles and events that brings tears to my eyes has been enough to make me tired of my existence on earth and yearn for its end. (No, I’m not suicidal or depressed, I just get tired sometimes.)

These are events that eventually strengthen my relationship with God. These are incidents that give me inspiration to write and the ability to encourage others. That is how I’d been trying to approach the reason why romantic relationships happen till I realised I had been going about it all wrong.

The main reason for a romantic relationship is not so much about a lesson learnt, a strengthening exercise or a tool to do God’s work.

The reason for a romantic relationship is God’s way of providing a tangible demonstration of his love, a shelter from the storm, an immovable support for when bad things happen, but most of all, it’s one of the truly good things that God blesses us with as opposed to all the other bad ones we have to deal with.

Just knowing that there is someone there who will be there, who will provide a tangible show of strength and support, and whom one can go to at the end of a long and challenging day is enough. It’s enough to give one the courage to take on the world and its typical obstacles that one faces in the course of doing God’s work.

At the end of it all, being a recipient of romantic love not only uplifts us and brings a smile to our souls, it refreshes us and gives us the strength and ability to face the gruelling challenges of being God’s child in a sinful world. It keeps our spirits alive to maintain our walk with God, experience incidents that strengthen and develop our relationship with God and continue serving him.

Romantic love may not help spread God’s word per se, but in an indirect, intangible way, it serves a purpose.

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Anonymous said...

Hey Mel,

This is an awesome piece! It expresses something I too have contemplated. Considering the fact that Paul said 'if you must, get married' - implying that you are more capable to do God's work alone. Great stuff!
Luv Jess

The Misery Chick said...

Hola Mel,

Smtimes I think pp place too much emphasis on romantic love. Honestly. In the throes of heartbreak, they forget that there is a greater love that is always there, that has always been there.

Melody said...

Agree with you Maya. Romantic love is fine, but when it becomes the be all and end all of life, consuming even the love of God, things get a little messy.

There is a place for romantic love in life, but I guess it really isn't compulsory.

Mansfield said...

I think the western world has placed too much emphasis on romance, and in the process lost much of the essence of agape love.

Having said that, I think the statement "it is not good for man to be alone" implies that God has deliberately made humankind interdependent on the opposite gender.

It seems enigmatic that we are made that way, yet from a purely logical point of view being single is more productive...

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