The Christmas season has just begun and the cheesy romantic Christmas movies are already populating our screens. They can be enjoyable to watch but these movies can also be full of false realities and unrealistic expectations. We cannot let our desires for romance be designed by a movie or by what we see in the world when God already has a predetermined plan. Who will we trust to fulfil our desires, God who is love, or man, who has yet to truly understand the meaning of love?
The danger of romantic movies
As much as we find them entertaining, romantic movies can paint dangerous ideas in our minds and cause us to lose patience in our singleness. We see images of people receiving what they want within 90 minutes and find ourselves comparing our lives to that timer. Sadly, for us, we only see the glamorised version of the romance that the actors are paid to display. The best parts of the scenes condensed from months of filming to mere minutes on our screens. We will never see the truth of what really happens in the relationship. Therefore, our best option is to take these stories with a pinch of salt and a lot of caution. Romance in a fallen world cannot be our example.
The biggest danger from romantic movies comes from the feelings experienced as we engage in them. Feelings of loneliness and unfulfilled longing. The questions of discontentment, insecurity, and inadequacy: “Am I enough?” “Why can’t I find someone?”. Chances are that the continuous lockdown has amplified these feelings. And if we try to find the answer to our hearts question anywhere other than the right source, we can be left more vulnerable.
These movies stir up impatience. They lead to restlessness which can drive us to take matters into our own hands. Abraham waited on the Lord for what was promised but along the way, he got weary in waiting, causing him to heed to his wife’s ill-conceived plan. This led to the birth of Ishmael, a son outside the covenant God had for Him (Gen 16). Despite this mistake, God kept his promise to Abraham. He would continue to wait again until God gave him what was originally promised. But Abraham learnt a valuable lesson which we need to learn too.
Patiently waiting, humbly trusting
We need to have more patience for the promises of God to be birthed into our lives. Babies take nine months to be fully formed. That time is important. God knew what He was doing when He set that limit. Premature births do happen, but we know the risks for both the mother and child. It is as with the plans God has for us. Running into a relationship prematurely, because of loneliness, without Gods approval, carries the risk of heartbreak and disappointment.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.Psalm 27:14
Perhaps we are focusing on the things we want rather than listening to what God wants for us. It is understandable with all the images of happy couples shining through our screens. But we must trust Him and the process. God will renew our strength through these seasons of exasperation (Isaiah 40:31) and provide us with wisdom to discern what is right, if we only ask Him (James 1:5). The Holy Spirit is our helper for a reason. It is the Holy Spirit that will guide us (John 14:2) and who will also fulfil us when we deeply yearn for romantic companionship. The same Holy Spirit that will be in the person God has for us.
The hardest part of waiting for many of us is the unknown. The not knowing if there is actually a spouse at the other end of our wait. But God never promised us a spouse. He did promise that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Joshua 1:5; Deuteronomy 31:8). Those are real promises we can stand on because God is faithful to fulfil His promises.
We must wait
Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for their promised son, Isaac (Gen. 17 & 21). Jacob waited and worked 14 years for Rachel (Gen. 29). He knew what he wanted and trusted that he would receive it. They had Joseph who would later save the children of Israel from being wiped out by a famine (Gen. 41:37 – 42:7). We can find many examples in the Bible of God guiding people to where they were meant to be, in His timing.
Ruth was doing something very honourable in taking care of her mother-in-law (Ruth 1). Boaz was minding his own business when Ruth presented herself to him. Their union was not by chance. Boaz redeemed Ruth and together they had Obed who had Jesse who had David (Ruth 4).
Unlike Boaz, David was not minding his own business when he stumbled upon Bathsheba. He committed adultery by taking Bathsheba knowing she was another man’s wife (2 Samuel 11). Although David found himself entangled in sin, God redeemed him. It is from this lineage that our Redeemer was born. The second child born through this union is traced in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:1-17).
Our most important relationship
Life is more than finding a spouse. The true blessing of singleness as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7:32,35, is the opportunity to focus on the most important relationship in our life; our relationship with Jesus Christ. Single or not, our lives have an eternal purpose once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. The greatest love story between you and the Creator (John 3:16).
In as much as Paul implores us as singles to remain as we are (1 Corinthians 7:40), he does not diminish the beautiful sanctity of marriage. We must do the same. In singleness, embrace the wholesomeness of the journey, to be undivided in our attention to the Lord. In dating, to continue to keep our attention on the Lord. And in marriage, to bring our spouses and family to the Lord, continuously, as we dedicate our attention to Him. Our focus always on Him.
This Christmas season, instead of dreaming about a long-awaited romance, we can look to share the love that God has lavished upon us to those around who may be missing out. We may not have a significant other to share this holiday with, but we have friends, family, a church community. I believe there are people within our close circle that would benefit from the love that we can share in light of Christ’s love for us, especially in this pandemic. We have an opportunity to share the best relationship we will have this side of heaven. The type that lasts longer than a 90-minute movie.