So once again we find ourselves surrounded by cheap dying flowers, over-sweetened chocolates and rose scented candles on this; the most romantic day of the year. Unless you’re me, in which case you’ll find yourself surrounded by stacks of unread books, two weeks worth of laundry and a less than enthusiastic about the holidays Jack Russell Terrier. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
No doubt, today millions of couples will embark on what will be a memorable evening filled with nice restaurants, overpriced champagne, and every man’s favorite,.. the RomCom! I can personally attest that nothing makes a man shutter quite the same way as a romantic comedy. With the tacky jokes, the sappy love triangles, and the sassy best friends; all mixed together into 90 minutes of ‘bluh’.
Having seen more of these mind-numbing masterpieces than I care to admit; at one point I came up with my own, in the hopes that I would sell the idea to Hollywood, and finally make my fortune. It was called “The Translator”. It was about a wealthy, albeit bumbling businessman from France who comes to America to expand his business market. He meets and falls in love with a beautiful paralegal that his company is dealing with. The only problem is, he doesn’t speak any English. So he hires a brash young accountant to be his translator, and to help him win the woman’s affections. Yet, as this young man is doing his best to make his goofy French employer come off as smooth and confident; he begins to realize that he’s falling in love with the girl as well. Skip ahead, skip ahead, and 90 minutes later, the ‘bluh’ culminates with the young woman finally realizing that true love was there all along, right in front of her.
Now if this proves anything, it’s that I have way too much free time on my hands, but I’ll bet any women reading this is already online looking up showtimes. However the ending that I mentioned, although trite, has some truth to it. How long do we search for happiness in the wrong places? I spent the first 33 years of my life with no direction, just scattered about with the wind.
Of course, then that great day of my birth occurred. Christ called me to faith and repentance, and everything changed. But when I look back, I really can see that He was there all along. I can see God’s hand at work in my life just about as far as I can remember.
For instance, my parents separated when I was about 8. Soon after, I went to live with my Dad, and soon after that we began to move around. I spent the next 13 years without really having my Mom and sisters around. I wasn’t very fond of it, but I can see how God used that to shape me into the person I am today. Now, I get to see my family all the time. And I love spending time with them, because they’re my family. And it’s the same with my church family. My brothers and sisters in Christ ARE my brothers and sisters. I look forward to any time that I get to spend with them.
Here’s another example. I was raised believing I was a Christian. And I remember back when I was 16, and seeing a commercial on television for the Book of Mormon. I had no idea what it was, but from what the commercial was saying, it included another testament of Jesus Christ. So naturally, believing I was a Christian, I called up the number and asked them to send me one. Well, I guess they called to follow up the next day, and my Dad picked up the phone and was just a little perturbed by the fact that I called the Mormons to get one of their bibles. But then, he got me a Christian bible of my own. I didn’t read it much at the time, but God was at work. Little by little, He was drawing me closer to Christ.
The same goes for my education, my interests, my personal relationships; God has been at work all this time, forming me into the man I am, and He is still at work. We may not see it, or we may not like what we see, but it’s God’s work and it is good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Take another look back at your life, and I’ll bet there are all sorts of ways God was at work in you. They won’t all be happy memories, but that’s the point. I didn’t want to be lost for over 30 years, nor did I want to be without my family for so long, but now,.. I thank God for those things. This is how God has chosen to work in my life. It is a blessing. It shows me that I never, ever would have come to accept Him on my own.
We are changed by the transforming power of the gospel. Nothing else. And the gospel is sustained by the Holy Trinity. It is the word of God, about the work of Christ, which is proclaimed by the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
Our lives, both carnal and spiritual, are wholly dependent on the work of God. Rejoice in that. It’s not up to us. All we have to do is trust in Him. Christ has told us, “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day” (John 6:39). That is why the Apostle Paul can tell us that “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Happy endings may not be realistic in movies and romantic comedies, but our story is different. God’s word has already been spoken. Christ’s work has already been accomplished. And the Holy Spirit is sustaining every believer, until Christ returns to earth in glory, and we will live happily ever after.
Till then, have a happy and safe Valentine’s Day, and God Bless!