Lucy, Desi, and Love

One of the most captivating romances to me as a child was that between Lucy and Desi Arnaz on the black-and-white television screen of “I Love Lucy”. The chemistry between the two of them seemed magnetic, far more than just acting . . and from accounts of their life, it was more than show biz. (The rest that follows is based on what I’ve heard about their lives from I believe the Biography channel and my mom, who read a book on Lucy’s life.)

Lucy was, in fact, deeply in love with Desi. We still have letters that capture her love. She was captivated by him. She adored him. He was her Prince Charming.

Desi wanted to love her, he did in a sense love her, but he could not keep his heart from wandering. In heartbreaking choice after choice, he treated her as only one of his Cinderellas.

After years of what seemed to the outside world like a storybook romance, the hidden reality of Desi’s inability to remain faithful to Lucy finally took its public toll. On May 4 of 1960, the couple got a divorce.

Years later, when Desi was an old man, he was interviewed about his life. His regret? I’m sure you know it. He could not stay faithful to the one his heart really did love. He was compassionate in his interview when he spoke of her, not belittling her, not embittered that she had divorced him. Instead, he expressed the pain of a longing heart to redo what could not be redone.

Can you relate to Desi? Can you relate to Lucy? I can. Really, we all can. All of us have two sides to our heart: the side that has been heartbroken by the suffering of this world that sin has caused.

Like Lucy, pain has taken a toll on us–not just sin we caused, but the sin of the world around. Like Lucy, we have all struggled at times feeling betrayed or disappointed because of the broken people in the broken world around us. And maybe we wonder why God, if He exists, didn’t love us enough to stop something from happening, or alleviate our pain.

Like Desi, we discover to our horror that we cannot control the lust and faithless desires of our heart. While some desires can seem good, and those are the ones we want to talk about, like getting a college education, building a great business, or having a loving family . . other desires frighten us. The ones that seek to destroy everything we feel we have worked so hard to get. You know the desires. The one that would cause a millionaire to embezzle or cheat on his taxes, to save money he will hardly even miss. The one that would cause a doctorate student to plagiarize a bit of her paper, to get it done more quickly. And the one that would cause someone like Desi, who had an adoring devoted wife, to abandon her for the other longings of his heart.

It wasn’t that Desi didn’t long for her. It was that he longed for other women, too.

How I am like Desi!

I long for God, I long for a relationship with Him. But this is not the only longing in my heart, and for most of my life, it was certainly not the strongest. Other interests–dreams, lusts, idols–drew me away from the throne of God. I, like Eve, would rather have stood naked and humiliated in the gloating presence of Satan than clothed in glory in the Presence of God.

Where do we go from here? Like Lucy, we can’t rewind our lives and take away the hurt inflicted on us, and, like Desi we can’t undo the past we so regret. We have lost the great love of our life, God, and we don’t know what to do about it, and, what’s worse, we’re not even sure we want Him back, when we feel He’s betrayed us so many times.

Well, God knew many things about us before we were even born. In fact, in actuals, :), the Bible tells us that He knew EVERYTHING about us before we were born. He knew that we would all turn from Him, that our hearts would be unfaithful like Desi. And He knew that we would all be wounded by sin like Lucy. He knew that most of us we would have more trouble with anger over God for our wounds than fear of God for our sins. He knew, of course, it wasn’t His fault, but that the very anguish we blame Him for is the anguish that our rebellion brought on our own heads.

God could have left it there. He could have been like Lucy, and, so wounded by our betrayal of Him and our blame of Him for things that weren’t even His fault, abandoned us. He could have been like Desi, only rightfully so, and pulled His heart back from us to pursue only the love of other, more worthy creation, like His angels in Heaven who seek always to adore Him. But, He didn’t do that either.

Nope. Willing to be wounded, He stayed with us. Gracious and tenderhearted, He allowed us to blame Him, time and time again, for what was our own fault. When we should have raised our fist at ourselves–or at Adam and Eve–or at Satan, He permitted us over and over to raise our fist at the Heavens and scream injunctions at Him. And in His wounded heart, time and time again He has not struck us dead, has not reeled against us, has not sent masses of angels to slash us down. It’s a foreshadowing, actually, of what Jesus would do as we accused Him. As we threw up our insults all over Him, He slowly, loyally, faithfully carried OUR cross up to Golgotha to be nailed to it.

My heart aches when relationships like Lucy and Desi fail. It reminds me that, no matter how solid an earthly relationship is, Satan can get in between it. God graciously gives us an out in marriage when we can’t handle the unfaithfulness of a spouse–He grants us divorce to walk away. But does God put us away when we are unfaithful? If He did, there would be no such thing as “Christianity”.

Only if we’re sure we want to remain unfaithful for all eternity, if we never turn back to Him for His forgiveness through Golgotha, will He grant us our bill of permanent divorce. Otherwise, God graciously forgives our faithlessness every time we ask Him, no matter what we’ve done, no matter how many times we’ve wounded God’s heart . .

. . and, further still, the gift of Jesus teaches us, in essence, as best as I can paraphrase in my finite, fallen understanding of this immortal, perfect wonder: Are you filthy with your unfaithfulness to Me? Here, let me be the One who washes it all away for you.

Here’s how He really says it:

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18, NLT)

Jesus is the one who washes us so we can be received back . . who receives us back . . He is the One who stands at the end of the aisle, waiting for us to run to Him in the new garments of flowing blood-grace He has given us . . us clutching tightly to the bouquet of love He’s placed in our trembling fingers . . racing down the aisle to meet Him . . to listen to His vows to us and to commit our lives to Him . . that we may once again be beautiful . . that the storybook romance would be fulfilled within our lives.
My verse for the year:

“Raging water cannot extinguish love, and rivers will never wash it away.” (Song of Solomon 8:7a, GW)

Have you met this Love?


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