A life without a heart is not worth living. Our hearts are the key to the Christian life. It is in the heart that we come to know him and learn to live in his love. And yet life has taught all of us to ignore and distrust the deepest yearnings of our heart.
These statements are basic themes of The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge. They encourage us to be drawn to the heart of God. God’s search for our hearts seems like a fairy tale, but this romance is true. God is wooing us back to him. Life’s arrows teach us that we are not worthy of his love, and so we divert ourselves with smaller stories that are not fulfilling. Sensing that something is wrong, many try to fix it by tinkering with the outer life. But hearts are telling the truth—there really is something missing!
In earlier blogs, I addressed touchpoints for reaching out to those in a post-Christian culture that does not think in terms of sin and guilt. But they do think, “There’s got to be more to life than what I am experiencing.” Call this condition a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify. Lack of fulfillment is a good description. Feeling lost and alone is another angle. Discouragement is widespread, a term meaning literally a loss of heart, living life without passion.
The metaphor of a Fairy Tale is the closest one to the way in which Scriptures present the Gospel—as a Sacred Romance filled with mystery and awe. In earlier centuries, the church viewed the gospel as a Romance, a cosmic drama whose themes permeated our own stories and drew us into a redemptive wholeness. But in the Modern era, our rationalistic approach to life has stripped us of that, leaving a faith that is barely more than mere fact-telling. “Modern evangelicalism reads like an IRS 1040 form: It’s true, all the data is there, but it doesn’t take our breath away.”
In the post-Modern era, all we have left is our small stories. The only reminder we have of a story beyond our own is the evening news, an arbitrary collection of scenes and images without any bigger picture into which we fit. Life is just a sequence of images and emotions without rhyme or reason. Our heart is made to live in a larger story; having lost that, we do the best we can by developing our own smaller dramas.
All we ever really wanted was to be loved. “This is love; not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Someone has noticed, someone has taken the initiative. God is not just out there somewhere in some vague way. He desires to talk with us in the quietness of our own heart through his Spirit, who is in us.
We sense that our true home abides within us in the Spirit of Christ. Out of this abiding love, Jesus transforms us. Our identity begins to coalesce around living with a good friend for a number of years and simply finding we have become more like him.
Curtis and Eldridge summarize the Sacred Romance this way: First, our lives are not a random series of events; they tell a Story that has meaning. We aren’t in a movie we’ve arrived at twenty minutes late; we are in a Sacred Romance. We are being wooed. But we face an enemy with vile intentions. Is anyone in charge? Yes, there is someone strong and kind who notices us. Our Story is written by God, who is more than the author. He is the romantic lead in our personal drama. He created us for himself and now he is moving heaven and earth to restore us to his side
His wooing seems wild because he seeks to free our heart from the attachments and addictions we’ve chosen, thanks to the Arrows we’ve known. And we—who are we, really? We are not pond scum, nor are we the lead in the story. We are the Beloved, our hearts are the most important thing about us and our desire is wild because is made for a God who is wild.
Where do we begin to share this Sacred Romance with those looking for something more? We start with the heart of God, his passion. This is not God alone but in relationships, intimacy beyond our wildest imagination. We long for intimacy because we are made in the image of perfect intimacy, beginning with the Trinity.
Once upon a time, there were God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They (he) provide the kind of home we’ve been looking for all our life. We know that God is a lover at heart, from all eternity.
What is your reaction to seeing your relationship with God as a Sacred Romance, like a fairy tale but one that is biblical and true? Do you agree that a life without heart is not worth living?