If you remember my life began this way. By the time I was a teenager most all of my dreams had dissolved into desiring a love story and family of my own. From a young age I believed and became increasingly convinced that a really swoony, romantic love story and a strong, handsome man that would sweep me off my feet instantly and spoil me rotten for the rest of my dreamy life would make me feel the specialness I was lacking.
As soon as I had that part of my life together, God would be free to make all my other dreams come miraculously true. God did bring me Andrew. It hasn't been all hearts and roses. But it has been music and sunflowers.
I read a post by Laura this week. A phrase stuck in my mind causing me to think and rethink about parts of my life that I've long tried to forget. "As long as there is love, there is always the possibility of resurrection." I'm learning no life experience is simply only worth forgetting. There is no shame in our failures. The only shame comes from not allowing Love's possibility of resurrection to bring the redemption of something greater from that which was lost.
Slowly, God is revealing His love story to me. He's showing me that authentic love doesn't have to start instantly and flow flawlessly. The main element to a fairy tale romance is the ending...And they lived happily ever after.
This weekend Andrew rented Slumdog Millionaire. He'd already seen it but wanted me to watch it with him. Before he started the movie, he bought me flowers and told me how much he loved me. He said the movie was good in lots of ways but the thing that most connected him with Jamal, the main character, was how much he loved the girl. He told me, "I love you like this." Then he started the movie.
Watching this movie changed me. I instantly fell in love with Jamal but it was Latika's life that moved me so deeply. She was a streetwise girl who would've survived just fine without Jamal. But there he was inviting her in out of a cold, hard rain. She was unprotected and alone yet strong and resilient. I identified with her immediately.
All the things Latika was I am. I have felt so alone. I have longed for protection. I have needed resurrection where I let destiny die. I need constant pursuing so that I never forget the truth of who I really am.
I saw the story of Andrew and me in this movie. I saw the story of Jesus and me in this movie. Just because I've felt unprotected doesn't mean it was so. Just because I've felt lost and abandoned doesn't mean it was so. Just because I've felt forgotten and used up doesn't mean it was so. Just because I said no one time or twenty doesn't make our love less strong. Just because the first rescue effort was unsuccessful didn't lessen the impact of ultimate salvation. Just because resurrection was slow in coming doesn't mean love ever lost its power or the hope ever really died. Just because it was meant to be my whole life doesn't mean it will come easy or even early for that matter. But because it is written it will surely be.
Latika and Jamal would come together many times in the story but life and hard, hard circumstances would separate them time and time again. Latika went through many painful, tough, heartbreaking situations. These circumstances were not a result of her own sin or selfish choices. They were simply the result of living in a fallen world full of the sin of mankind. Jamal would rescue her several times if only for a short while. The sin of others would then take her out of his protective hands and she would be in a place that seemed to be out of his grasp.
Jamal would prove that nowhere Latika could ever end up would be too far away from him. Throughout her life, Jamal never stopped searching for her. He used his fortunes over and over again to hunt for his lost love and to fulfill his destiny and hers.
Every opportunity he was given, he used to flame his undying love for Latika. Even when it seemed hopeless, even when she told him to stop, even when his own life was threatened, he kept pushing, searching, sacrificing, loving and waiting.
I became so moved as I realized that unfairness and this fallen earth had dealt her some crazy blows. I connected with something in the suffering of her character.
I began to see my life differently. As I sat weeping I saw parts of my life as written by the hand of a sovereign God instead of as punishment resulting from my own inadequacies. I saw Providence working throughout my own life. I saw me as a hurting child crying out in anger wondering where He had gone. As a lonely adult I remembered thinking that surely I was not worth remembering. But just as Jamal had always been there, He had not gone anywhere. He was still there loving me, reaching for me, calling out to me. I just could not see Him through the brokenness of a sinful nature.
I saw great beauty in the brokenness of their love story. If Latika had said yes to Jamal the first time, the deep appreciation she felt for her rescuer may not have been born.
I saw part of yesterday's sermon lived out "You have to experience the bitterness of slavery to enjoy the sweetness of freedom." In order for Latika to have the courage to become redeemed and fully reconciled to Jamal she had to be rescued time after time.
She had to share his belief that it was not too late. She had to buy into his life's ambition that she was worth loving. Worth saving. He never doubted that it was worth the risk to experience her love. It was their destiny.
It was written.
"It is written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life." (John 20:31)