Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How Reading a Vampire Book Revealed to Me the Gift of Free Will – The Perfect Lover

(CLICK HERE for previous chapter.)

Edward wields the greatest power in influencing his Beloved because he grants Bella the power of choice. The beautiful irony in this –that he has the most effect by letting go.
Edward steps back and leaves Bella’s free will alone. Yes, he prevents her from seeing Jacob on several occasions, but only because he really believed the werewolves were a threat. Once that issue resolves, he steps back and lets her choose every course of action even though many of her decisions cause him great pain. In so giving Bella the gift of free will, he risks losing her because he knows it is possible she’ll choose Jacob. Even though he knows the depth of his love, his ability to protect her, the possibility and implications of Jacob imprinting on someone else in the future… all the risks to Bella… he still leaves the choice to her.
Gentlemen are like that. He knew that in any love relationship, the proof is in the choice.
This is made most evident in Eclipse during the tent scene before the battle between the newborn vampire army and the combined Cullen/Wolf Pack defense. Edward has taken Bella far from the proposed battle site to keep her safe. Jacob is with them up until the battle begins, providing his watchdog services over night. An unseasonable winter storm with freezing temps pops up, not a big deal for Edward and Jacob but life-threatening for Bella as she shivers away in her sleeping bag. Edward can’t get anywhere near her to keep her from dying of frost bite as he would make matters worse since his skin feels cold to Bella. Jacob, with his higher-than-average, 100+ degree body temperature, thanks to his werewolf genes, is Bella’s only hope to keep warm. Therefore, Edward, Jacob and Bella end up in a tent together to ride out the storm.
The storm rages both outside and inside. While Bella tries to sleep, warming up against Jacob’s hot skin, Edward and Jacob talk, in essence, about Bella’s Free Will.
Jacob is in full special ops tactics as he shares the sleeping bag with Bella. He’s taking advantage of the awkward (for everyone else) situation. He’s actually gloating. To needle Edward more, he baits him with, “The jealousy… it has to be eating at you. You can’t be as sure of yourself as you seem. Unless you have no emotions at all.”
In this, Jacob hurls two accusations. First, that Edward should be enraged with jealousy, perhaps to the point of starting a fight (because Jacob would love that). Second, that Edward is as heartless figuratively as he is physically/literally.
I love Edward’s response. “Of course, it is,” Edward agreed, no longer amused. “Right now it’s so bad that I can barely control my voice.”
As I read this part, a vivid picture and interpretation of God’s jealousy came to mind. Yes, God gets jealous. He says so repeatedly in the Old Testament, which is why He wants no other gods replacing Him. In the New Testament, Paul writes, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him.” (2 Cor. 11:2)
So often, people turn up their noses at verses like this and accuse God of being petty or bitter or unreasonable. But jealousy is not always a bad thing!
If in this scene Edward had said he wasn’t jealous, we’d think something was wrong with him, right? Why? Because of how much he loves Bella! There’d be something amiss in the Gospel if God did not admit to being jealous. It is a sign of PERFECT LOVE!
But Edward’s jealousy does not lead to his taking away Bella’s Free Will. Instead of selfishly demanding her affections, he waits in agonizing silence while she’s in her Choosing Fields. Even in the tent, when his jealousy blazes under the circumstances, he expresses his respect for Bella’s Free Will.
“And if she were to decide that she wanted me?” Jacob challenged. “Okay, it’s a long shot, I’ll give you that.”
“I would let her go.”
“Just like that?”
“In the sense that I’d never show her how hard it was for me, yes. But I would keep watch. You see, Jacob, you might leave her someday. Like Sam and Emily, you wouldn’t have a choice. I would always be waiting in the wings, hoping for that to happen.”
Honoring Bella’s Free Will does not mean Edward stops loving her if she would choose Jacob. He’d always be waiting, unconditional love in tact, to welcome her back should she change her mind or if Jacob imprinted (a supernatural werewolf phenomenon) on someone else, meaning he’d have no choice but to leave Bella. Edward’s love doesn’t change for her no matter what her choice is for him. That is true, perfect, selfless love.
That is the picture of Jesus.

He has been clear – He loves us with an everlasting love, more perfectly than any other love that could ever vie for our attentions. He’s proposed an eternal relationship covenant. He knows the risks of losing us, both to Himself and to us. He has endured the pain of our rejection time after time. Yet, he still leaves the answer up to us. We get to choose.
Because Jesus is the ultimate gentleman. He never forces our hand.
He knows that the proof of love lies in choice. If we don’t choose Him, the love isn’t real.
His love never changes, though. Whether we accept Him or not, His love endures. He’s waiting with open arms, hoping for us to change our minds, ready to respond when the Other Choice leaves us or lets us down, waiting for us to allow Him to comfort, protect, redeem and reward us with His perfect presence.
For benefits beyond our imagination await the Bride of Christ that cannot be bestowed on an unwilling Beloved.
Our Perfect Lover is so good to allow us time in the Choosing Fields as we examine satellite influences that reflect Him. Testimonies, Experiences, Fears, Contenders, Fear, Pride and a whole host of other things vie for focus and importance as we are in the process of choosing. Some of those things recommend the Perfect Lover, some deter, and others attack the very thought of Him.
But after all is said and done, the most powerful influence should be the Perfect Lover Himself.
Everything the Perfect Lover says and does proves His complete, unconditional, self-sacrificing, perfect love. From the time He knit you together in your mother’s womb throughout each second of your life, He’s desired, chosen, waited for, pursued you. He sacrificed the glory of Heaven for human flesh. He bled and died for you, making atonement (or payment) for your sin debts. He fought and conquered Death for you so that living with Him for eternity is possible. And He did all this before you uttered one word of affection or thanks back to Him.
It’s His proposal, His declaration of perfect love, His hand outstretched in invitation to life abundant, eternal life, and all the benefits that only a willing Beloved can receive.
All we have to do is… take that Hand. Choose to be His Bride.
Bella eventually makes her choice, Edward. Breaking Dawn opens with their wedding. I’m looking forward to seeing how they portray it in the movie opening this weekend! I’ll let you know what I think on Friday! Be blessed, Dry Ground friends!
CLICK HERE for my review of the movie!


SarahtheBaker said...

I love it! Great end to the Eclipse blog series!

Lori Lundquist said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Sarah! Always appreciate your insight on this, the subject that introduced us to each other! Be blessed!