What is it about stories of finding true love that we find so captivating?
Why do we smile when we imagine Rhett taking Scarlett into his arms? Or why do tears spring into our eyes when we watch the tender ending to The Notebook? Why do our hearts beat a little faster when we hear the music of Titanic and see Jack holding Rose as she “flies” over the bow of the ship?
Oh, the things we do for love!
- Every year romance fiction sales exceed an estimated $1 billion
- Romantic comedies grossed over $137 million dollars in 2016
- An estimated 40 million Americans use online dating services
We’re reading, watching, and surfing for true love, because of the longing in our hearts to:
be known and deeply loved.
never be lonely.
feel understood and accepted for our true selves.
be “swept away” by our perfect “soul mate”
live our own “happily ever after”
Or maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “No. This is dumb. Cupid is stupid. Everyone knows fairy tales don’t come true.” Maybe your experience has led you to toughen up your heart, telling yourself you don’t need that kind of love.
The reason why love stories and fairy tales strike a chord in us is because something about them rings true – even in the face of life experiences that don’t always measure up.
Could it be that all the great storytellers and screenwriters have borrowed their story lines from the greatest story ever told?
Someone or something needs rescuing.
A hero arrives.
A battle erupts.
The hero prevails.
Peace is restored.
Happily ever after begins.
God’s love story is the original love story.
God’s love story is the one from which all others borrow to tell the tale again and again. And it helps us better understand why we respond the way we do to the possibility of love. The reason we long for love is because of the truth about who we are.
- We are the object of God’s desire
- We need a Savior
- He rescues us
- He restores our peace and brings us joy
- We live with him in love forever
How Hollywood gets the story right is by touching that part of our hearts that responds to the truth about our longing for love. But that’s not something Hollywood or fairy tales teach us to feel.
Our longing for true love is how God designed us.
How Hollywood gets it wrong is by piling on the myth that our longing is satisfied by finding the right person who “completes us” (in the infamous words of Jerry McGuire.) But that kind of responsibility for another person’s “completeness” is something none of us are equipped to handle! Yes, we can love one another deeply and well. But it’s not humanly possible to be all the things we would need each other to be. That’s a job only God can do.
So the next time you see a heart-warming movie or find yourself moved to tears by a well-told love story, you can smile and remember that our longing for love is true and real. Our longing for love is a longing for God. And true love is the reality we have with Christ.