Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lessons from Twilight Pt 1


*WARNING: I'm going to completely spoil the plot and ending of all four of the books in the series in this blog, so if you plan on reading them and being surprised, don't read this post!*

Mandi has loved the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer since it came out and when they released the movie, everyone else in our house got into it. Not the kind of into it where we picked up the book when we felt like it, but the kind of into it where we were consumed by the books and couldn't move on with life until all 4 books were completely read. Jonathan and I were reading it at the same time, so we spent many hours twisting our necks so we could read the book at the same time.

The more I've thought about the book series, the more I'm overwhelmed by the love story in it. I would venture to say that it's the most beautiful love story I've ever read apart from the Bible. I think it captures the beauty and sacrifice involved in love more than anything I've ever read or seen.

The Twilight movie opens with the main character Bella saying, "I've never really thought much about how I would die, but I guess going in the place of someone you love would be a pretty good way to go." Sound familiar??? The entire book series chronicles the journey of Bella Swan, a clumsy, 17 year old who falls in love with Edward, a vampire who has been alive for around 100 years. Edward and his family are a group of vampires who believe there is redemption for them and they only drink animal blood rather than human blood to avoid taking another life.

Edward has incredible powers of speed, beauty, immortality, awareness, the ability to read others minds etc. He's basically like a superhero. And Bella is just a regular person who has nothing to distinguish her apart from every other person. And yet they both fall, in Bella's words, "unconditionally and irrevocably in love" with one another. Bella never understands why Edward could ever love her, but whether or not she gets it, Edward loves her more than his very own life.

The more I ponder this aspect of the story, the more I see my love story with Jesus. He is worthy and capable to have so much more than me! There is nothing I can offer Him that He doesn't already have. He doesn't need me, and yet, Jesus loves me more than His very own life. He loves me so much He died for me. He loves me so much He wants to be with me every single moment and know me inside and out. There's nothing I can do to make Him love me less or to make Him stop loving me. The intensity and passion I see in the love Edward and Bella have for one another makes me love Jesus even more.

Near the end of the first book, some other vampires try to kill Bella and she ends up having to flee to another part of the country but the other vampire catches up with her and she goes through an incredible amount of pain and suffering and ends up inflicting a lot of pain on her family as well, but Edward saves her in the end. At one point while she's in the hospital recovering, she comments, "Even after all of this has happened, I don't regret any decisions I made because they led me to Edward."

Jesus promises us this life won't be easy or fun. He promises that it will be hard and full of suffering. And yet, the suffering and sacrifice leads us to the greatest life and intimacy possible through a relationship with Him. Even if this life is difficult, painful, and even desperate, it's worth it because of Jesus. Can I say, "even though this life has been hard, I don't regret anything because it's led me to Jesus, the Lover of my soul"?

Philippians 3:8-10 says, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith--that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like Him in His death".

There is an intimacy experienced in suffering that is deeper than any other love and intimacy that can be felt. Do I want to know Jesus so deeply and intimately that I would even desire to become like Him in His death? I know what it should be and I know what I want it to be, but I'm not sure I'm really ready to say that yet.

Bella gave up everything to be with Edward, and Edward loved her so much he gave up everything for her. The story line through most of the series involves Bella's desire to become a vampire to be with Edward forever, and Edward fighting her on it, because although it would be the best thing for Edward if Bella became a vampire, he was afraid she would miss out on human experiences of life. But for Bella to give up her life and even her family was hardly a cost to her because of the love she had for Edward. Nothing in her life brought her satisfaction apart from Edward and it was all counted as worthless compared to him.

Again, is the Love of Jesus worth everything to me? Do I consider my life of no cost compared to the love I have for Him? I even think the caption in the poster is a great question to ask myself: when you can live forever, what do you live for?

So ultimately, this movie and this blog leaves me with lots of questions I'm asking myself. But more than anything, I see it as a call to die and a call to embrace and even waste my life on love.

It seems that Misty Edwards can put my desire into words better than I can. It's a great song and definitely worth the itunes download. Here are her lyrics for "I Will Waste My Life."

I will waste my life,
I'll be tested and tried.
With no regrets inside of me,
Just to find I'm at your feet,
Let me find I'm at your feet.

I leave my father's house, and
I leave my Mother.
I leave all I have known, and
I'll have no other.

For I am in love with you,
and there is no cost.
I am in love with you,
and there is no loss.
I am in love with you,
I want to take your name.
I am in love with you,
I want to cling to you, Jesus,
Just let me cling to you, Jesus.

I say goodbye to my father, my mother,
I turn my back on every other lover, and I
Press on, yes I press on.
I say goodbye to my father, my mother,
I turn my back on every other lover, and I press on, yes I press on.

For I am in love with you,
and there is no cost.
I am in love with you,
and there is no loss.
I am in love with you,
I want to take your name.
I am in love with you,
I want to cling to you, Jesus,
just let me cling to you, Jesus,
I want to cling to you...

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