Most people my age have seen the movie “When Harry Met Sally.” If you have, then you know that the major theme of the film centers on the question of whether men and women can just be friends. This premise is explored in the relationship that builds between the two lead characters – Harry and Sally. One of the best lines in the film comes at the end as Harry has finally come to the realization that he is in love with Sally. He runs to meet her at a New Year’s Eve party to confess his feelings. Sally is hesitant to hear him out at first, but he finally gets her to listen as he declares…
“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.”
Now I know that movie writers can craft a phrase and actors spend years learning how to deliver a line to evoke just the right emotion. But what amazes me about this line is the manner in which it depicts the fullness of the love Harry has for Sally. That love shows itself in the minute detail in which he describes her actions and the effect that it has upon his heart. Through observation and shared experiences, Harry has grown to know Sally and to love her for those idiosyncrasies. In other words, the romance comes in the details.
God’s love for us, His creation, goes far beyond the love that Harry has for Sally, far beyond the love that any of us have for one another. There isn’t a single detail of our lives, any small part of the sum total of who we are that God does not know, did not create, and does not love. He knows our thoughts, our joys, our hurts, our fears, and our passions (Psalm 139). Even in our sin, God was moved in love to sacrifice His own Son for us. What an amazing love He has given to us and continues to give us every day of our lives.
But it doesn’t end there – for God or for Harry. His last sentence is not only the perfect conclusion to his declaration, but it also serves as a great reminder of how we, as God’s dearly loved children, are to respond to His incredible love:
“I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
If there is somebody in your life that you truly love, then you are already aware of this feeling. But for a moment, instead of directing that thought toward a man or a woman, direct it toward our Father in Heaven. For somebody living their life outside of the grace, mercy, and abundant blessings of God, that moment when they truly realize what God is giving to them must be amazing. Even for those of us who have been brought up in the faith, there comes a time when we more readily accept the promises of God and more actively build a stronger relationship with Him. As we strive to “start the rest of our lives,” we find ourselves compelled to be in the Word more than just on Sunday. We take time to be in prayer throughout our day; in the form of those quick thought prayers during the day as well as in a block of time set aside for us to connect with God.
We must strive to build ourselves into a stronger relationship with our Lord in order to build ourselves up for the ministry He has called us to do here on earth. This isn’t earning our salvation – we are saved by grace through faith in Christ and that is certain. But we have also been empowered by Christ through the great commission to go out and share the good news of Christ crucified. We cannot effectively do this if we aren’t properly trained and equipped, and our lack of training isn’t based on lack of materials. God provides for us everything we need. Paul gives us our charge to grow in our faith in Hebrews 6:1-3:
“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.”