Petals, stems, leaves, flowers, vases, water, scissors.
There is something about flowers that can unlock the conversation of romance.
The conversation usually runs along the lines of things like…
What kind of flowers do you like? What flowers are romantic to you? What kind of wedding bouquet do you want?
I was cutting flowers with another single young lady and we talked about the lack of romance in our lives, the joys of singleness, and the delight of arranging flowers for others. As the years have gone by, I realize that my definition of romance has changed…though I am not even sure I was prepared for what came out of my mouth, but yet there is the deep sweet undertone of longing that I cannot deny.
Romance, as I’ve grown older, has never been the sappy gushy wishy-washy of a romance novel, it’s not Paris in spring, chocolates, outings with ambiance or a thousand other things…
That is not romance.
Restaurants with ambiance, boxes of chocolates for me to eat, and dozens of roses—is not the life or love I want.
Romance, is suffering.
To step forward and to sip from the same cup as the one we love, their joys their sorrows, their burdens their ups their downs the twirling whirlwind dance of life.
Those words awakened me in a way that I cannot explain.
It whispered of the visions of romance that I have glimpsed of in the film: Free Burma Rangers, and the tantalizing ever so relatable stories of Brother Andrew in God’s Smuggler.
Suffering, is romance…
The answer of the armor bearer…to Jonathan…
Later that week, martyrs deaths were brought up on a screen.
As I looked at stoning, beheadings, clubbing’s, boiling oil—I wondered: Am I ready?
Do I quaver to step forward?
My heart cried Lord please make me ready. Make me fit, bring glory to Your kingdom…these deaths…I’ve read portions of the Foxes Book of Martyrs, in riveted awe, wonder and horror…but am I ready to walk in those shoes?
Then He brought back the words I said to the young lady.
Romance, is suffering.
Looking up afresh on that list, I realized it was the most romantic thing in the world. Those were beloved, they knew the love of Christ…
Lord may I love you so much, that any of those would be romance to my soul.
This cup I take, this unleavened bread I hold, it is a token of His covenant. Communion not a mere symbol of Christianity—but so much more. Through the word, I have a record of my Christ. With the Bible He spells out with His words and life, His promises of provision, the life that He will lead, the inheritance of the Father—it is all spelled out in the promises of Old Covenant, and they are all fulfilled in the New, and given me the wedding gift of His Holy Spirit to prepare my heart.
He has called me to Him, to be His bride.
There is no detail spared, no hidden lines.
In boldness and love, He calls so tenderly:
Arise my love, my fair one, take up your cross and follow me.
To be one with Him, is to drink of that cup.
To follow in His divine footsteps, it to partake of that life.
The sufferings and sorrows, the rejoicing and His hope.
He has taken the wrath of God, He has drunk from the divine cup.
The cup now stands on the table for me to drink, to share, to pledge, to partake of what He promises—His life, His sufferings—and should the occasion require it—to partake of His death.
So here I am, I will take, drink all of it.
Here I am…spend me.