It’s no secret to my close friends that I’m a little obsessed with romance. I try to keep it on the down-low when you first meet me, but as soon as our acquaintance-ship crosses the line into friendship, it becomes obvious.
It’s an obsession I’ve always had. When I was young (like, elementary and middle school young), I wouldn’t watch movies unless I knew there was some sort of love story. My literary bread and butter, so to speak, were Christian romance books. And I spent my spare time fantasizing about my own future romance.
It’s also no longer a secret that those fantasies never panned out. At 22, I’m as painfully single as I have been my entire life. I haven’t even been asked on a date since the sixth grade.
But that kind-of-cute-slightly-funny reality has turned into less of a fun way of passing time and more of a soul-sucking, spirit-crushing problem. I think about my relationship status constantly. I’ve gone from feeling ashamed to just feeling sad.
Sad, lonely, unloved.
There’s a disconnect between what I know and what I feel.
I know in my head that that’s false. That I am loved — loved by my family, by my friends, by God. But that message hasn’t made it to my heart yet. There’s a disconnect between what I know and what I feel.
But Sunday, as I was in church and the music played, a verse caught my attention. The words?
The greatest of all romance / love of God my Saviour.
It’s from the song “Love on the Line,” by Hillsong. The whole song is about God’s love and how it takes over us, but that line jumped out to me as the line that could start a revolution. A revolution in my heart.
I’ve never thought about my relationship with God as a romance. Yeah I’m aware of all the marriage symbolism and analogies in the Christian faith. But that’s all it’s ever been — an awareness. It was never a reality in my heart.
But those words from that song. I want to repeat them — the greatest of all romance / love of God my Saviour.
God’s love for us is so immeasurably more than the love any person could ever give you.
Just let them sink in for a second. Go back and re-read them. They’re not just saying that God’s love is romance; they’re saying it’s the greatest romance, the greatest love story. It beats out Brangelina by miles (and not just because Angelina stole Brad from Jennifer Aniston — don’t get me started on that). God’s love for us is so immeasurably more than the love any person could ever give you.
In the times when I’m overcome with depression, I can’t see that. I can’t even see God’s presence. But when I can take a step back from my situation, it all becomes clear.
God’s love is so good that he sent my parents as missionaries to Italy, where I grew up immersed in a rich culture and made friends that have changed my life.
God’s love is so good that when I wanted to stay in South Carolina for high school, he sent me to boarding school in Germany, where I cultivated my love of writing despite hardships.
God’s love is so good that he provided for me to go to Asbury University, my dream school for undergrad, and is providing for me to go to grad school at NYU.
God’s love is so good that when I was holding a knife to my wrist, desperate to die, He spoke and saved my life. And His love is so good that He did this again and again.
God’s love is so good that He sent His only son to die. For me. For ungrateful, disbelieving, faithless, judgmental me. For you.
The words to “Love on the Line” were written by humans. But they reflect words from the Bible — John 3:16, Romans 8:37-39, Romans 5:8, Deuteronomy 7:9…and more, and more, and more.
I still have a hankering for romance with a flesh-and-blood boy. I still desire some man to love me unconditionally, hold me in his arms, kiss me, cry with me, laugh with (or at) me. And there will still be times when I forget that God’s love is a romance.
I breathe, eat, and sleep awash in a love so powerful that it can eradicate me from the guilt of every wrong I’ve ever done.
But this is the beginning. From now on, I’m going to strive to look at life differently. I’m going to realize that I am living a romance — the greatest romance. I am going to understand that I breathe, eat, and sleep awash in a love so powerful that it can eradicate me from the guilt of every wrong I’ve ever done. I am going to know that love is with me with every heartbeat.
I’m living a love story, guys. The greatest love story.
One more time, for the record: the greatest of all romance / love of God my Saviour.
Karis is a grad student at NYU in New York City. Her writing has appeared online with Seventeen as well as Good Housekeeping. She blogs at karisrogerson.com.
If you’re struggling with thoughts of self-harm, there is hope. You can call 1-800-273-TALK to chat with someone about it. For a list of other resources, visit the website of To Write Love on Her Arms here.