I have a confession to make. Okay, here it goes: When I’m listening to the radio and a Taylor Swift song comes on, I don’t change the station. Sometimes I even turn the volume up…but just a little. She has a song called “Today was a fairytale.” And if I can be vulnerable and honest, I like it. I think it is full of the kind of youthful idealism we need more of: fairytales, true love, and romance in high school. It’s great.
I mention all of this because it is spring and love is in the air. There is a breeze blowing through, dropping particles of romance and candy-coated butterflies that will later end up in our stomachs. It is the season for proms, weddings, and the Marriage Ref, all here to show us this wonderful thing called love. We talked last week at church about love and sex, and a lot of good conversations developed from it. It really made me think about how love applies to our youth group.
When my wife was in first grade she wrote a poem about love. The reason I know this is because her best friend found a box of her old poems and read one of them at our wedding. Truth be told, she had a lot of great poems that she wrote in first grade. She had a poem about inviting dogs and hamsters to her birthday party, and another one about her disdain for cats. Her best poem though, was the one she wrote about love. In one of the lines from her poem she wrote: “I love LOVE. When I fall in love, it will be forever.” Now, between you and me, I think she might have plagiarized that last line, but still, there is a blatant truth sticking out—she loves love! When I heard that poem, I thought, “Well, who doesn’t love or at least really like love!? Love is great!”
Love is something we’re all pursuing either intentionally or inadvertently. Ingrained in all of us is a desire to obtain love or at least what we think “love” is. It is difficult to articulate or define love. At best, we just summarize it with vague, poetic descriptions or describe feelings like warmth, tingling sensations, upset stomachs, and so on. But love is more than all of that, isn’t it?
I love that Scripture begins with God sharing a vision for love with his people. In Genesis 2, we see that God has created the universe, all the animals, the flora and fauna, and he has created Adam. God gives him a task; a little job to keep him busy. God tells Adam to name the animals. Adam is like the first zoologist. He is Jeff Corwin on steroids. I wonder how long it took Adam to name the animals. Perhaps it took him a few years or a few decades. Eventually though, He begins to feel lonely. He feels tension. He has a desire to find beauty and to celebrate in it. He longs for love. While naming the animals he is beginning to realize that there are no other creations like him. He is probably a little anxious, but he has no need to worry… God has a plan. (And maybe God has been planning this all along and was just letting Adam sweat it out a bit and live with the tension.) God decides to create Eve. When Adam sees Eve he says: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” I envision Adam is sort of like a Looney Tunes character at this point. His eyes are popping out of his head, his heart pounding, his jaw dropping as he says “Hubba hubba, bow chica bow wow.” His longings for a mate are now fulfilled. His love is now able to be experienced. After years of waiting his desire is now met.
The Genesis account is a beautiful glimpse at why God created love. He created it to be shared in joyful and jubilant commitment with one another. It is something to be held near and dear, and also something to wait for. Many of us though, have rushed into love too quickly or perhaps we’ve yearned so very much for love that we’ve given ourselves away, only to feel lost again, realizing we didn’t find what we were searching for. Instead of attaining God’s best, we’ve settled for a replica of God’s true picture of love, only furthering our own pain and isolation. We’ve lived with the tension and felt the loneliness. Ironically, the very things our world has said will bring us love, have only led us further away. Whether it is sex, numerous relationships, or a combination of the two, we haven’t given our hearts what they’ve truly desired. God has given us love as a gift; and it is a gift worth protecting and fighting for.
If love is a great thing, it definitely is worth protecting. People who study animals say that if a tiger and a lion were to get in a fight, the win would be automatic for the tiger. Lions are fierce and agile fighters, but tigers are, well tigers. It would be like a lightweight boxer stepping into the ring with a heavyweight—really no contest. The tiger is a stronger opponent. He is bigger, faster, and more aggressive. One on one the lion wouldn’t stand a chance. The funny thing, though, is that lions do not typically hunt alone. They hunt and fight in packs; tigers on the other hand are lone rangers. If this made up jungle fight scenario was changed a bit, and it was a pack of lions versus a pack of tigers, the lions would win. The lions know how to fight together; they have strength in numbers. A pack of lions would defeat the tigers no question.
I think we can live our lives one of two ways: as a lion or a tiger. We can live as a lone ranger and do okay for sometime, or we can be a lion and live in community, knowing that we need each other. God’s ideal for love is an amazing but difficult thing to attain. Let’s face it—we need help from one another. We need to help each other in this fight. We can stand firm, united as one, pursuing God’s best. Or, we can live our lives in the shadows, avoiding the help we so desperately need, and letting the world continue to dictate our thoughts and feelings towards love.
We all love love…because we were created for it. God’s gift to us is the gift of love for Him and for one another. It is quite beautiful and it is worth pursuing and finding in Him alone. God created love for us to experience in the same Adam experienced when he met Eve. It is up to us, however, to fight for it. To find God’s ideal, we need to give ourselves for it. Like Adam, we need to fight through the tension and wait for what God has in store. We have to realize that our love story is worth it.