I hate to say it, but depending on your particular schedule, it’s pretty much down to one more week of summer. One more week for that Francine Rivers novel, because, of course, you want to read a romance — something with high entertainment value that doesn’t require a lot of mental effort and rewards you with a guaranteed happy ending for the time spent. That’s what summer’s for, right?
So, in honor of the good-by-to-summer romance novel, we’re going to look at some of the great romances of the Bible. No, the Bible isn’t known for its great romances, but it should be, because, in essence, it is all one great romance. From beginning to end, it’s the story of God romancing the whole human race — making us in His image so that we could be one with Him, giving us the freedom to love back or walk away, watching us slip away to our own devices, and then doing what was necessary to buy us back, thus embodying that redeeming love that is the theme of the whole story; and not only buying us back, but washing us clean and presenting us to Himself as His Bride. I’m not sure how you can get much more romantic than that.
Of course there are stories within the big story like Jacob and Rachel, Ruth and Boaz, Hosea and Gomer, Mary and Joseph and the poetry of Song of Solomon. But it all started with Adam and Eve.
Adam was lonely. God saw his loneliness, and from his rib, He fashioned a counterpart to him, out of him, so that, indeed, there was something missing in him that he now needed to complete himself. This is something every man finds in the woman he marries — someone who completes what was missing. This is what he knows when he finds her. This is what makes him sure. Out of all the women out there, this one is “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23). This is what happened to me the night Marti and I met. I had met and dated a number of women, but this one I knew would complete me. This is what gave me the nerve to announce on July 3rd (not 4th), a new personal independence day for me: free to commit — free to say I could ask you to marry me, because I’d never felt this way before about anyone.
But there is one more part in the Adam and Eve romance that is often missed. When Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and offered it to Adam, he had a choice. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing I can see in the text that says he had to eat it too. God had said if they ate of this fruit they would surely die, and there was Eve, having eaten, offering it to him. Would he be right? Would he be obedient to God, or would he join his woman — his counterpart — in disobedience and the consequences? It doesn’t appear that he deliberated very long over it. If she was going to die, he would rather die with her than be separated. And I understand that.
What would have happened had he refused to eat the fruit — who can tell? But one thing’s for sure: you and I wouldn’t be here. And the rest of the story of redemption — of how far God would go to buy us back — would never have been told. And I think that’s pretty romantic, too.