Tuesday, November 01, 2005

On pursuit and risks...

There's an old saying that goes, "If you love someone, set her free, if she returns to you, that its meant to be..." I often ponder on this quote, wondering if the guy who came up with it has really thought thru the possibilities of situations that would compromise the validity of this statement.

In contrast, passages that are found in "Songs of Songs" tend to differ in its approach of romantic love. Of course, often when Revived Pentacostal Evangelical Christians read it, they always tend to connotate the 'lover' and the 'beloved' to Christ and the church. But there's still a certain amount that can be contributed to the application of romance between a man and a woman. One of the greatest characteristics of this book is that we can see that there's plenty of pursuit. The lover always tend to pursue after the beloved. Of course, the beloved screws up here and there, but it doesn't seem to faze the lover's pursuit.

The reason why I brought up the saying "If you love someone, set her free, if she returns to you, that its meant to be..." is because I sense that there's like a certain kind of passiveness to the attitude. Something like "Cae sara sara, whatever will be will be" or like the Muslims saying "Insy-allah" or "God-willing". If that's the case, what's the point of courtship? Might as well just wait all your life, and then when the time comes, your bride will knock on the door and when you open it, she will say "Marry me!".

Now, I still of course believe in divine intervention, where I believe that God has prepared for us a partner that's best for us. Yes, we do trust Him. We continue by faith to "wait" on Him. But this waiting has nothing to do with passiveness. This waiting is about doing our part, ie, praying, seeking advice of elders, carrying out our calling, then, buying flowers, cards, cakes, cats, wait... no cats, chocolates and so on, then waiting on God to bring it all together. This means that there's still a little on our part that we must do to pursue after the ones that we feel lead to. I mean, I cannot imagine myself standing before my beloved, and she asks me "Why is it that you plan to marry me?" and I reply to her "Because God told me to". It's as though she has nothing to offer me and the only reason that I'm after her is because I want to be obedient to God. God forbid...

John Piper illustrates this in his sermon during the Passion 98 gathering.
"The reason why I believe that the Christian walk should be one of passion and not of duty can be explained like this: It's Valentine's Day, and I come home, with a bouquet of flowers. I knock on the door. Now, I don't normally do this. It's my house. I usually walk right in. But anyway, I knock. Noel, my wife, opens the door. I show her the flowers, and said, "Noel, Happy Valentine's Day." Noel would then reply, "Oh John, you shouldn't... why did you?". "It's my duty." I replied.

Wrong answer.

Let's back up. I knock on the door, and she opens. I show her the flowers, and say "Noel, Happy Valentine's Day." Of course, her reply in surprise would be again "Oh John, you shouldn't... why did you?". "Because nothing else makes me happier than giving these flowers to the most beautiful person in my life."

Right answer."

Pastor John Piper during this sermon was emphasizing about Christian Hedonism, however, I still see relevance of bringing this example to idea of pursuit in a romantic relationship.

I guess one of the greatest reason why pursuit often never even starts off is because of risk. Nobody wants to take risk. What if I get rejected? What if she's the wrong one? What if? What if? But even in the event of pursuit, there must be a time when we let go. This then requires discernment, and plenty of good buddies to tell you the truth, even when it hurts.

To be absolutely sure in a romantic relationship, is like buying a TV from Best Buy, with a 100 year warranty. Of course, you will not find such warranties offered. The same is as in reality where relationships don't come with any sort of guarantees. The only guarantees are: misunderstandings, doubt, jealousy, communication breakdown, and so on. And if we do it right, friendship, growing in love beyond reason, ability to sacrifice, and most of all, be loved without a shadow of doubt (but this of course, don't come easy...).

I have my fair share of relationships. If I could redo them again, I would have chose to not jump into some boats, and maybe for one of them, would have continued to remain on the boat even if my perception of it was that it was sinking. Why? Because it was worth it. And this has nothing to do with scoring. But there's this certain sense of calling, and ultimately love.

God demonstrated this with Christ on the cross. Jesus knew that even with such a sacrifice, many will still deny Him. Many will still mock Him. For even such great love that was poured out, it was still capable of being rejected. Did it wound Him? Of course it did. And yet, He count it worthy to carry His cross, not because we who have received Him are worthy, but because God's love could be demonstrated, and ultimately, accomplish the Father's plan and purposes since the beginning of creation; to love men, and to be loved by them.

Love is a risky business. The stakes are high. And there's no other way around it. You want to experience real love? Then you must be prepared to lose it all. If you're not, then don't jump into it. Because it's not a matter of 'if' love demands our all, but rather 'when' love demands our all. What do we do then?

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