Sunday, March 11, 2018

Love Continues

Maybe it’s because Hannah is getting married in a couple of weeks.  Or maybe it’s because love is such a big issue nowadays among young people here.  But it seems the topic has followed me into March.

Last week I was invited to speak at a ‘Love Banquet’, sponsored by the 10th grade of Doane Christian Academy.  I accept almost every invitation to speak, seeing this as an opportunity to make Christ known.  But after speaking at this Love Banquet last week, I doubt they will ever invite me back!  Here’s why…

When I entered the venue, decorations galore greeted my eyes.  Paper hearts and cupid cut-outs hung from the ceiling.  Glittering streamers of red and pink covered the walls.  Love wasn’t just in the air; it was plastered on everything from the table napkins to the speaker’s podium.

The boys were decked out in formal suits and ties, while the ladies wore fancy dresses that never reached below the knees.  The evening began with a procession down the red carpet as every boy was locked arm in arm with a girl.  The MC announced the name of each couple as they entered the spotlighted arena. 

Contests were held on who was the ‘best dressed’, the ‘best face’, the ‘best personality’, and the ‘most popular’.  During another part of the evening, each boy presented his corresponding date with a red rose which he tied around her wrist.  Some of the boys chose to kiss her hand as well.

During the meal, different students took turns singing love songs, filling the arena with sounds of romance.  One 10th grader came to the microphone and, while looking intently to his date, sang “You’re just too good to be true.  Can’t take my eyes off of you.  You’d be like heaven to touch.  I want to hold you so much...”

Finally, it was my turn to speak.  I make a joke about all the girls being taller than the boys because of their high-heeled shoes.  I also expressed my gratefulness to them for allowing me to be their speaker.

Then I shared a story to them about a newlywed couple, Chad and Heidi Eves, who followed a biblical pattern of courtship.  Both had pledged never to date, waiting for God to bring the right person into their lives if He wanted them to marry.  When God ‘woke up’ Chad to Heidi, Chad worked through his father and Heidi’s father to further determine God’s will, all without Heidi knowing about it.

After lots of prayer and Bible studies with Chad, Heidi’s father finally gave permission and told Heidi about Chad’s desire to court her.  Heidi had long admired Chad’s godly character.  She was excited and quickly agreed.  A few weeks later Chad presented Heidi with an engagement ring.  He didn’t put it on her finger because he had pledged not to touch Heidi until their wedding day, knowing that 1 Cor. 7:1 literally says, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”   A short time later they were married, exchanging their first kiss on their wedding day.

After sharing Chad and Heidi’s story, I drew the students’ attention to their school logo, which pictured an open Bible with the Scripture reference Joshua 1:8.  I had memorized that verse long ago, so I reminded them of what it said, “Do not let this book of the law depart from you, but meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

I asked the students and teachers, “If a stranger were to enter now, what evidence would he see that you are Christians?  In reference to God’s Word, what evidence does God see that you are ‘careful to do everything written in it”?  I challenged them to not be conformed to the ways of the world, but to seek to obey and glorify God in their personal lives and in all their future school activities.

Well, like I said, they may never invite me again to be their speaker. But that’s ok.  On Saturday I leave for Texas to see my granddaughter for the first time.  Then I will be privileged to officiate the wedding of Hannah and Daniel on the afternoon of the 25th in Galveston. 

Recently, when one of Hannah’s co-workers asked why Daniel had not yet moved into Hannah’s apartment, Hannah explained, “Because we are not married yet; we are both virgins.”  The co-worker was surprised and amazed.  Whether in the U.S. or the Philippines, it seems personal gratification matters more than mutual responsibility.  Despite the increasing darkness of our time, let’s keep our little lights shining so the world around us can know that there is a better way.

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