Think about the greatest love stories you’ve ever heard. What do they have in common? There is always an obstacle to overcome. If two flawlessly attractive people meet on the street and say, “Hey, we’d make good-looking babies…let’s get hitched” there is nothing beautiful or compelling about that. There has to be a seemingly impossible obstacle for it to be a good story. You can sum up all love stories in two categories: There’s the tragic love story, a la Romeo and Juliet, Casablanca, Titanic, or Legends of the Fall, where the obstacle ultimately keeps the two lovers apart forever, and our hearts ache with unrequited longing. Then there’s the happy love story. So for instance in Pride and Prejudice or My Fair Lady, the handsome and desirable man sees past the girl’s lowly station and the prejudices of society. In the old fairy tales, the hero has to overcome a fierce dragon or a witch’s spell in order to win the heart of the fair maiden. You take any love story ever written or performed on stage or screen, and you can recognize those basic elements in them. A man and woman will meet and will seem destined to be together forever, except that circumstances get in the way. The only question is, will it be a tragic or a happy love story? Will the two lovers overcome the obstacle? So if love stories are so predictable, why do we keep going back to them over and over again? I think it speaks to a yearning in our hearts. We were created to love and be loved by God.
This Sunday, we'll talk about the greatest love story ever told. It is pictured by a story that will probably never be made as a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman, but it's a powerful story nonetheless: The story of Hosea and his wife Gomer, from Hosea chapters 1-3. We'll talk about the obstacle you and I face as we seek the love of our lives.