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Friday, June 25, 2010

The Light in the Darkness – How Reading a Vampire Book Taught Me More about Faith - The Final Leap: A Formal Proposal

(click for previous chapter - Re-establishing Trust)

It’s no secret, even to those who have not read the Twilight books but have only seen the movie, that Edward proposes marriage to Bella at the end of New Moon. What you don’t get in the movie version, however, is her answer.

Does it surprise you to find out that she says no?

Maybe I’m too sappy, too much of a romantic, but when I read the books the first time and found out that she refused Edward’s proposal, I about threw the book across the room! Your Perfect Lover just asked you to marry him and you said no??? Are you certifiably in sane, Bella? After all they’d been through, after all her moping around while he was gone, after all her declarations of love and devotion, she says no? And then for her reason being that her mom would think she was crazy? What? Honey, you landed in crazy town a long time ago!

Okay, so that was my first and emotional response. J Once I started thinking about it, especially in the context of comparing it to our relationship with Jesus, I discovered some things that made it make sense.

The mom excuse was just that, an excuse. The real reason was that part of her heart still belonged to Jacob. Yes, most of her heart belonged to Edward, but not all. New Moon only set Jacob up as a contender for Bella’s affections. Eclipse is the story of choice, the real battleground for Bella’s once-and-for-all decisions.

Wait, you say. Bella badgered the entire Cullen family, even put them to a vote, about making her a vampire. She seems ready to jump head-first into eternal life, into Edward’s arms, the whole package.

But her refusal of Edward’s proposal speaks volumes. He even made it (in part) as a bargaining chip for her to get what she really wants – for him to be the one to change her into a vampire - something he’s very much against, or cautious of, because of the price he knows she’ll have to pay. Yet, that he makes the offer at all only accentuates his desire to be united with her in the ultimate expression of unfailing love.

She still says no.

Her answer proves she’s not really sold out. To be so, she’d have to relinquish control, and one thing Bella’s consistently prone to is leaning on her own understanding.

She’s already made a plan outside of Edward’s wishes. She’s going to become a vampire whether he likes it or not. She’s not waiting another year before that happens. And, she’s going to be friends with Jacob no matter Edward’s opinion. Yes, she wants Edward to be the one to change her, but she’ll give that up to keep control and still end up pretty much where she wants to be.

What she’s saying is – I want you, Edward, but only on my terms. Oh, and by the way, I think your condition is stupid.

What a … loving?… response… to the love of your life.

Throughout the Bible, the relationship God forged with His creation is compared to the marriage relationship. Paul says in Ephesians, plain as day, that marriage is an illustration of the way Christ and the Church are one. (Eph. 5:32) In the first book of the Bible, God institutes marriage, instructing that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife – meaning, the bond between husband and wife is top priority, that spouses should be sold out 100% to each other. That’s why they take vows, the meaning of the word indicating a pledge that cannot and should not under any circumstances be broken or betrayed, and symbolically become one person. To enter into such a covenant requires trust, faith, faithfulness and love.

Being a Christian is like that.

YYY

Jesus introduces Himself, Hello. I’m Jesus Christ. I’ve been watching you for some time now, and I think you’re amazing. Can we get to know each other?

You think I’m amazing? Okay, let’s talk.

God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…

You love me?

…that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. (Jn. 3:16)

Hmmmm… living forever. Cool. How does that work?

Marry Me. (Rev. 19:7)

Umm… wow. What all does that entail?

Nothing, except everything. (Matt. 10:39)

Oh. What?

Promise to love Me in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, forsaking all others and believing that even death could never part us. (Rom. 8:38-39)

So this is all or nothing, huh? See, because I have this friend, and although I don’t love him as much as I love You, I’d like to keep being friends with him…

Trust in My death and resurrection for the atonement of your sins, and repent – meaning, don’t sin any more because it hurts My heart and inflicts injuries on you I don’t want you to bear. (Acts 3:19)

Well, that part makes sense. I’m pretty good anyway. Don’t lie, cheat, steal, kill…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. (Matt. 22:37)

All?

And love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt. 22:39)

Oh… hold up. Love my neighbor. Um, Jesus? Do you… know… my neighbor? Because he’s a piece of work. I can’t stand that guy! This one time, he-

Love your enemies. (Matt. 5:43-44)

Really? That seems… unnecessary…

Don’t lean on your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge Me. I’ll make your path straight, even if at certain points you can’t even see around the corner. Have faith in Me. (Prov. 3:5-6)

Faith? What’s that?

Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

Whew. This is starting to sound like a lot of work.

Every relationship requires sacrifice.

Sacrifice? Ew. I mean, I liked it back when You talked about living forever in the light of Your love and grace, and it got a little harry there when You mentioned repentance, but um… I want You, Jesus, really I do. I just think there’s an easier way-

Nothing of great value or worth comes easily. Measure the cost. (Luke 14:26-28)

You mean, consider what I’ll lose if I refuse Your proposal.

I love you. Forget not all the benefits of that Perfect Love. (Psalm 103)

Oh. Yea, I know. But, if You already love me, why all this marriage talk, vow taking thing? Can’t we leave it as is? I mean, I acknowledge You as God, I love You. Cool?

I want to make an everlasting covenant with you. But it has to be Your choice.

And these are Your conditions?

Yes.

What happens if I mess up?

A smile. I’ve already forgiven you.

YYY

So, what would you say?

Hold tenaciously to your control, your world, and your understanding, telling your Perfect Lover, “Your conditions are stupid. I’ll do it my way.” (and die in the process).

Or…

Take the leap of faith into His faithful, solid, secure, absolute and loving arms shouting, “YES! I’ll marry you!”

And then forever.

(click for next chapter: Take the Plunge)

(photos by photobucket.com)

3 comments:

lynnrush said...

Wow!
Yeah, in the movie, I was, like, "They really ended it with her gasping?" Like you wanted to throw the book across the room when she said no, I wanted to stomp out of the movie theater..

A gasp?

Really?

I love your insight, Lori. It's profound.

SarahtheBaker said...

It was so satisfying to see Bella mature in Eclipse, enough to recognize Edward's commitment, and make one of her own--in her human-ness.

For her to say "No" is kind of like saying to Jesus, "I'd die for you." But He's asking us "Will you live for me?"
Bella is willing to lose her life for Edward, but too afraid of what others will think to live her human life for him.

Aren't we humans silly? :)

Lori Lundquist said...

Sarah - hi!
I LOVE that - about dying for Him but not living for Him. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing!
Take care! Thanks for stopping by Dry Ground!