Roses are red, violets are blue…it’s Valentines Day…what do you do?
Well, I’ll leave the romantic ideas up to you…but on a day like this there’s merit in exploring the issue of relationships.
You see, a marriage is a little like our relationship with God. It involves give and take, respect, some mutual adoration and the ability to take the good with the bad.
And I think New Zealand’s difficulties in keeping marriages together is likewise a reflection of our difficulty as a society in maintaining a relationship with God.
We are a generation in search of the instant fix…the instant gratification. If it breaks, biff it out. Nothing gets repaired anymore – try rationalising a $40 charge for repairing a kettle against the $39.95 price tag for buying an entirely new kettle…and cordless to boot.
As a society, we have become conditioned to accept replacement rather than repair, conditioned not just to accept but to expect to trade up to a better model when it comes to our prized possessions.
Are our romantic urges like that? You betcha!. When the going gets tough, the tough run screaming from the room, calling for Mummy and vowing never to return.
How many people have you seen come to church...but when the going gets tough...or their comfort zone is challenged...they’re off? Yet...if they’d just hung in there a little longer...made a little more effort at their end of the relationship...they’d have found the problem disappeared and they would gain a deeper understanding of unconditional love.
How many would-be Christians are fair weather faithful...happy to worship when things are going well...not to be seen when they’re not so happy.
I have seen people give up on Jesus Christ because they accept at face value a criticism that somebody outside the church...or even within it, makes about the truth of Christianity. In some of those cases...purchasing a book for 19.95 would probably have answered their doubts...yet these fair weather Christians can’t even be bothered spending thirty pieces of silver to broaden their knowledge of their faith.
Am I off on a tangent? I don’t think so. How many marriages are like that? How many people can’t be bothered making the effort to understand their partner’s viewpoint or heal the rift? It is so much easier today to walk away from either faith or love...and try something or someone new.
Relationships, whether they’re with God or our loved ones...are never always easy. They have ups and downs...dark patches and brilliant days...times when we’d lay down our lives for those we love...and times when we wouldn't cross the road for them.
Does God walk out on us?
No...he’s there, waiting for us to come to our senses and return to the fold.
Heidi and I have had our testing times...times when the world has crashed in and tried to grind us down...times when we wondered where the next meal was going to come from.
Yet through it all...we had a love that – despite the difficulties – refused to hold a grudge. A love that is quick to forgive...
In that and through that we learned to trust each other implicitly, the kind of trust that you can’t acheive without going through a time of testing.
And in that, through putting Christ first as our common reference point...we have a relationship that is heaven on earth...
It doesn’t come easy...but nothing worth having ever does.
This Valentines Day...put a little time into your relationship...and put some time into your relationship with God.
As they say on that cheese commerical...good things take time.