The word romance doesn't exactly make you think of the
Bible. In fact, it usually brings to mind images of flowers,
candlelight dinners and couples in love. The names Romeo &
Juliet along with Samson & Delilah are synonymous with romance,
a couple of poor excuses if you really think about it.

Throughout history we find stories of men and women who have
fallen in love, but the course of true love has never run smooth.
Even Abraham and Sarah suffered their share of trouble
and sorrows. Some they brought on themselves while others
 just showed up on their doorstep.

All through the Bible we find stories of romance, from the
simple to the complex. For some it only took one look, for
others it took a bit longer; and there were even some who
didn't get to choose their mates themselves;
instead they were chosen for them.

Many find the story of Ruth to be one of the most romantic
 in the Bible: The story of a young widow who was loyal, trusting, hard-working and obedient who finds a new husband through the guidance of her mother-in-law. It's a love story that has
 inspired many messages but one that the world
knows very little of.

It seems the world's idea of a great romance is nothing like
what God wants it to be. Our society seemingly admires people
who are sometimes into their third and fourth marriages. It's as
though they feel like it's something to be admired that someone
 has attracted so many different people. But God has
a different idea, one that encourages a couple to stay
together through the test of time. True love isn't the kind that
only stays during youth and good times; it's the kind that
endures through the sorrows, the sickness and
the hard times.

Shakespeare's romantic tragedies have nothing on the Bible.
 Think of the story of Jacob and Rachel. Jacob fell in love with
Rachel at first sight, and he didn't waste any time before asking
 for her hand in marriage. Since he had no wealth to offer, he
offered to work for her. That may not seem very romantic to
some, but he agreed to work seven years for her father so
that he could have her for his wife. At the end of the
seven years, when the celebration took place, he found himself
wed to Leah, Rachel's older sister, instead of his true love.
Jacob then worked for another seven years
in order to have Rachel for his bride.

Our society has this Happily-Ever-After Syndrome and as much
 as I hate to admit it, I'm guilty. I love to watch a good romantic
movie where the hero saves the maiden in distress and they ride
 off into the sunset. But the truth is that life really doesn't work that way. No matter how much you love someone, things aren't always going to run smoothly. It's just not going to happen. Which is
why we have marriage vows that say, For better,
for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

When we get married as youths we sometimes forget that that handsome young man or that lovely young woman is going to
 get older. True love, abiding love, doesn't disappear when your spouses teeth or hair fall out. It doesn't just get up and go
 when their get-up-and-go has gone out and went.

True love is what you see when you see an older couple that can
 still smile at one another after twenty years or more of looking
at that same face every day. The other day at the grocery store
 we saw an older couple pushing their cart together, and I looked
 over at my girls and said, Isn't that romantic?

You see, romance isn't in the material goods such as diamonds
or gold; it's really in the little things, like a soft word, a pat on
the back, a kiss on the cheek, a gentle squeeze of the hand, a
soft spoken I love you, a tender hug;
Love is just like that!

If you were to ask most people what they think of when you
mention love, most would probably say something about a man
and woman falling in love and getting married. Others might
 mention their children or parents.

How many would think about a man who loved us before we
were even born? In fact, He loved us so much that He was
willing to lay down His life for us.

The month of February is focused on love. We receive Valentine cards, gifts, candy or flowers as tokens from our loved ones.
Wouldn't it be great if we could give Jesus to our unsaved friends
 and family, and they would receive Him with as much enthusiasm?
It's easy to picture love as a pretty box of candy, heart-shaped
and chocolate filled, or as a bouquet of flowers tied up with
a beautiful red ribbon. Yet the greatest example of true love
is not very beautiful to look upon. In fact, once you truly
understand what Jesus did for us, it is the
hardest thing to picture.

Picture an innocent man, betrayed by His friend, bound and
taken away, placed on trial and found guilty because of false witnesses. Jesus is that man.

The crowds of people along with soldiers, scorned and mocked
Him, placed a purple robe on Him and put a crown of thorns
 upon His head. They spat on Him, beat Him and then led Him
away to be crucified.

I doubt many people would find it easy to witness such an act.
To see his precious blood as it fell upon the ground. To view
His torn and battered body as they nailed Him to the cross.

There was no pretty box of candy nor any sweet smelling flowers.
 Still this is the greatest act of true love, EVER!

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life
 for his friends; (John 15:13).

Billie Grubbs
Copyrighted. All rights reserved.

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