Devotional Spirituality

(500) Days of Summer

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16:

Is love possible apart from God? Before the opening scene, a note, part explanatory, part warning, appears in (500) Days of Summer: This is not a love story. (500) Days of Summer is an entertaining, interesting, creatively-directed movie with great music and good acting. It also serves (unwittingly) as a cautionary tale of the hollow, painfully wistful nature of desiring love apart from God.
During the first hundred days this woman’s affection and hoped for love compels Tom, the male lead, to break into dance, punch a guy in the face (and get punched in the face), and write some of the best greeting cards at his day job. But by the second hundred days he is like a child who is angry at the ocean for taking away his sand creation. He quietly accuses Summer, as their romance begins to wither, "You do what you want to do."

It takes something startling, however, to convince him that whatever connects them is insubstantial. As Tom walks up to a party on the roof of Summer’s Los Angeles apartment building, the screen splits into two different scenarios with narration: Tom’s expectations and reality. The expectations are of a warm greeting followed by a romantic reunion with her. The reality is unpleasant enough to provoke him into bolting in pain (and perhaps shame) as he recognizes his love for her is unreciprocated. Would that what Tom did was science fiction, an example of a one in a billion fluke in human existence. Like it or not, most of us allow a similar false expectation to take life in our thoughts until it pervades our daily life: we can have our own way, we can do what we want. And we don’t need anyone’s (read God’s) help.

Netflix and theaters carry seemingly limitless numbers of stories retelling the myth of how pursuing a partner in love is the elusive ingredient to fulfillment. Earthly, human love, while wonderful, exciting and rewarding, pales in comparison to the fulfillment the love God has for us. As 1 John declares, God is love, the author of all love, the source for our ability to love. We can use whatever word we want to describe something that is special, wonderful, intoxicating, or seemingly meant to be, but if it is not rooted and grounded in the deep, sweet waters of the love of God, it will eventually become desiccated.


Additional scripture references
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 108:4

O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130:7

 

 

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