Facebook has an “On This Day” app that I’ve grown to appreciate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reread something and it’s prompted me to be grateful or stirred joy over a past memory. The other day, this memory from six years ago (when my son was 6 years old) popped up:
Today’s Seanism “Mom, I was flipping thru your Bible & for a split second I thought the Book of Romans said Book of Romance & I thought eww.
The memory made me laugh.
Then, today, the memory I shared two years ago was a post I wrote called Romancing the Heart of Stone In that post I shared how the word “romance” from a Rend Collective song that I love reminded me of how the Lord pursues us with His love and chips away at hardened or calloused hearts. Here’s an excerpt of what I shared in that post about some of the song lyrics.
Beauty awakens by romance
I thought about how God’s pursuit of us really is a journey of our eyes and heart being awakened to the beauty and presence of Him in our lives. The next thought I had as I ran along was the name of a popular movie from the 80s Romancing the Stone. Then, my mind edited the title to Romancing the Heart of Stone. I smiled as I thought more about this new movie title. I think it could be a good description for many of the journeys we each must take with the God who loves us. He romances the heart of stone…chipping away at it little by little, polishing down the rough and jagged parts, and finally…beauty.
Today, I am thankful for the countless chances I (we) are given. I am thankful for the grace that makes all those chances even possible. I’m thankful He doesn’t give up on our hardened, distant or questioning hearts. He sees our potential. He see’s our worth, and He romances us until our hearts begin to see glimpses of it too.
As I thought more about these two memories I realized that the Book of Romans really could be the Book of Romance…even though the idea grossed out my then six-year-old son!
Many of the things the Apostle Paul had to say addressed the great lengths God had gone in order to woo and capture the hearts of His children. His message to the Romans was this: The way of salvation was not found through keeping the law but through a relationship with Christ. Paul shared how hearts needed to be transformed and circumcised and this was accomplished through faith and belief in Christ and in the love He demonstrated for humanity through the cross.
In the Book of Romans, Paul shares the greatest of love stories between Creator and His creation. Sin, death and separation lose. Faith, life, and relationship triumph. And, this is not because of what we would need to accomplish but because of what was already accomplished on our behalf. There is no doubt that some of the words in this book, this letter, would have been (and continue to be) challenging to hear…especially for folks who wanted to continue trying to play a part in their own salvation by checking off a list of rules to follow or laws to adhere to.
Yet the most beautiful of love stories tells the truth…even if it’s hard to embrace or understand fully.
What then are we to say about these things?
If God is for us, who is against us?
He did not even spare His own Son
but offered Him up for us all;
how will He not also with Him grant us everything?
Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect?
God is the One who justifies.
Who is the one who condemns?
Christ Jesus is the One who died,
but even more, has been raised;
He also is at the right hand of God
and intercedes for us.
Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
Can affliction or anguish or persecution
or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:
Because of You
we are being put to death all day long;
we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things we are more than victorious
through Him who loved us.“For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers,
things present or things to come, hostile powers,
height or depth, or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Romans 8: 31-39
The Book of Romans: one outrageous, extravagant love note.
After writing this post, I dropped my son off at his soccer camp before heading into work. This great song “Your Love Awakens Me” began playing on the car radio. We sang it for the first time in church a few weeks ago. Awaken us, Lord!