To continue (or rather prelude to) our recent post on memorable love stories, let’s take a break from chick flicks, romantic novels and documented stories from recent and past disasters. Let's (time) travel thousands of years ago and read into the most important book you'll ever read in your lifetime, and by far the greatest source of inspiring and life changing stories since time immemorial - The Bible
“A series of difficult times” (Joseph and Mary's story)
A quick breeze through their story and one might find himself wondering what it must be like to be the parents of The One who saves man from sin. Women admire the honor given to Mary for immaculately conceiving Christ. Men take their hats off to Joseph for fulfilling the role of a husband and an earthly father to Jesus. Admittedly, those God-given roles indeed require a lot and it took more than just their love for each other and their courage but more importantly, their love and faithfulness to God. Such great love and submission (to God) was needed to overcome the trials that were bound to come their way -- contrary to how one might have pictured it, Joseph and Mary's story was not at all, a walk in the park and they definitely faced a lot of difficulties.
Beginning with Mary’s pregnancy in the midst of her betrothal or engagement with Joseph, which is not ideal and is, in fact, prohibited in a generation and custom that treat engagement quite seriously. (Matthew 1:18-25) Then they travelled more than 70 miles away from Galilee while Mary was pregnant with the promised messiah and was on the verge of delivery. (Luke 2:4) Their troubles did not ended there, For when baby Jesus was born, they had to escape to Egypt because of King Herod's order to kill all the boys in Bethlehem where they were staying. (Matthew 2:13-18) Imagine the difficulties that Joseph and Mary faced since the start of their journey. Did the thought of being the subject of controversy or the experience of desperately scouring the town for shelter while you or your wife is in labor made u cringe for a second there? If yes, then you can actually say that Mary and Joseph have gone through what you or no ordinary couple would dare to go through by choice. Yet their faith and obedience to the Almighty God delivered them through those difficult times.
“The labor of love that took 14 years in the making ” (Jacob and Rachel’s Story)
For most people, specifically men, who went on a long courtship stage for, let’s say, two, three years tops, they hold a certain honor and pride in their hard work (and long wait) and in thus saying that, "the fruit of their labor is sweet." We couldn't agree more. But try doing that for 14 long years.
The story of Jacob and Rachel is often referenced to when citing a man's “labor for true love.” But before all of that seemingly endless toil, it was truly love at first sight for Jacob. When Jacob met Rachel, he was smitten. He agreed to serve Laban, Rachel’s father, for seven years, so that he could marry Rachel. After devoting seven long years, Laban tricked him and he ended up marrying Leah, Rachel’s sister, instead. (Genesis 29:1-25) But Laban’s trickery did not break Jacob’s determination and devotion to Rachel. He (Jacob) agreed to work another seven years for Rachel’s hand. (Genesis 29:26-30) That's a total of 14 long years of labor, yet for Jacob it was definitely worth the wait.
“Loving when it hurts” (The Tale of The Hosea and Gomer)
Some people end up with someone who, as we call it nowadays - are just "so easy to love." But what if you end up loving a less than ideal person? Is it really possible to still love them even when it hurts?
One man in the Old Testament proved that loving despite his wife’s wicked and sinful ways is possible. Hosea is that man. When told by God to marry Gomer, a woman of harlotry, he obeyed. (Hosea 1:2) He bore through the pain of his wife's continuous adultery and was even left for another man. (Hosea 2:4-5) Ye he kept on forgiving Gomer, as God commanded. Later on, God ordered Hosea to even pursue Gomer and take her back after everything she has done. (Hosea 3: 1-3) That continuous trail of heartbreaking scenes is enough to break a man’s faith and diminish any ounce of love he has left for his wife but God has different plan for Hosea which he willingly followed.
The story of Hosea and Gomer illustrates God’s unwavering love and forgiveness to the Israelites who continue to commit spiritual adultery. Gomer’s adulterous life is symbolic to Israel’s infidelity to God. And while the book of Hosea warns us of the consequences of sin and how it destroys those who embrace it, it is also a beautiful illustration of God’s mercy and forgiveness, and the kind of love He promised to demonstrate to Israel when they turn away from adultery; a love that endures, forgives and perseveres – the kind of love that Hosea has for Gomer.
Joseph, Jacob and Hosea, they are not just lovers of their respective wives but are true lovers of God, and that is demonstrated by their obedience. For it is written, those who love God, obey Him. (1 John 2:5). The love that they have for their wives is initiated by their love for Christ.
Such inspiring stories of romance, betrayal and sacrifice that (quite surprisingly for many), can be found in the Bible. We just have to take the time and read through the Book that do not only contain stories of bravery, infinite love and courage but covers the story of Salvation.
It is not just any book that we can take with us to pass the time for it is The Book that holds the truth that transcends time and space;
It doesn't just contain stories that will uplift our souls -- It tells The story that will save our soul.
It is the greatest book ever written and inspired by The Writer of the greatest love stories and The One and only "Author of Life.”
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