What do the movies “Message in a Bottle,” “The Notebook,” “The Love Letter,” and “P.S. I Love You” have in common? All are stories about the power of the written word to express or initiate love between people. I believe each reveals one aspect of the ultimate love story. A love story we’re all invited to experience for ourselves. If we choose to say yes to the proposal.
The Love Letter: Refusing to Settle
Have you ever yearned for more in life than what others desire or expect for you? You don’t want to be alone, but you don’t want to settle for less either.
In this movie a woman in the 19th century corresponds with a man in the 20th century through a hidden compartment in their ‘shared’ desk. Neither wants to marry the one they’re supposed to, but feel doomed to follow through. Then they find each other.
God understands this yearning for more than the status quo. He calls us to a higher, deeper, grander love than anything we can imagine in this life. “I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him…I will search for the one my heart loves” (Song of Songs 3:1-2). He makes a way for us to find Him—across space and time, even into eternity.
The Notebook: Rekindling Lost Love
Why would an old man visit another resident in his nursing home just to read her the same story day after day? She has Alzheimer’s and seldom remembers much of what he’s read. He does this because she’s his wife, and he is reading their love story. It’s the most thrilling thing in his life, and hers, when she remembers. So he persists, for the occasional moment when she remembers she loves him too.
God also tells us the same story every day—through His words in the Bible, through songs, through people, through the breathtaking beauty of nature. And every day He hopes we will remember the love story that has changed our life, “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness” (Jer. 2:2). He hopes we will love Him back with equal abandon.
P.S. I Love You: Moving Forward
Death can be paralyzing—whether it’s the death of a loved one, a dream, a job, or something else we hold dear. When Holly’s husband dies she can’t seem to get past the grief. Knowing how she would struggle, Gerry prepared a series of notes to be delivered to her after his death. At first she’s freaked out, and so are her mom and friends, but Gerry knew his love would give her confidence to let go and live again.
Jesus did this for His followers too. After His resurrection He sent the Holy Spirit, to give them direction and confidence to move forward. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you… the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:18, 26-27).
This same Spirit is the One who comforts us when we are immobilized by death. The Spirit reminds us of Jesus’ love for us in the past, and the future life in heaven for those who love Him. In the meantime, He gives us energy to live now, to love now—to take the next step, knowing He is with us always.
Message in a Bottle: Falling in Love with the Lover
Do you remember when you were a kid and everyone took an envelope of cards to school for a flurry of exchange on Valentine’s Day? Did you ever get someone else’s Valentine by mistake? At first, there’s this thrilling moment, when you believe the boy/girl you think is cute has noticed you too…then you realize it’s not addressed to you, but someone else.
In this movie, a woman finds a bottle on the beach. Inside is a love letter from a grief-stricken widower to his wife. This is obviously a man who’s able to love deeply, completely, and relentlessly. The woman just has to meet him; see if he is real. When she does she falls in love, and the attraction is mutual. However, he can’t bring himself to release the past to embrace a new love, and the movie ends tragically.
Thankfully, this is not the way God treats us. He fully intends for us to find His message of love. When we do, it’s not addressed to someone else, but to us—personally. “I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isa. 43:1, Living Bible). He pours out His love—unfailing, unconditional, tender, and compassionate. When we love Him too we find we’re home at last.
Do you love Him?
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