Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611

Lessons For Ladies
This Series was taught by Mrs. James Modlish

Lesson Twenty Five

A Divine Romance


You would have to be living in a bubble not to have learned that there are striking differences in the psychological make-up of men and women. For instance, a study showed that women had a harder time answering questions if they were wearing a swimsuit. Men had the same results, no matter what they wore. In addition, the differences are clearly evident in our tastes in movies. Women like “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail,” and “The Bridges of Madison County.” Men prefer “Rocky I, II, III, IV and V!” There probably isn’t a woman alive who doesn’t like a bittersweet, wrenching cinema romance. However, love stories are told in arenas other than the theaters…take real life, for instance.

In an effort to find the perfect historical love story to tell you, I found that none incorporated all the elements of the ideal tale. So, in order to include them all, I will tell you a little about four stories, all found in your history books, not in some Harlequin romance novel!
And together, they represent the key elements of a great love story:


Nicholas and Alexandra

In 1892 a small, lonely young man who was the next in line to one of the world’s most impressive dynasties fell in love with a quiet, somber German princess who happened to be the granddaughter of Queen Victoria. However, society and his parents were adamant in their belief that this match would not be a suitable one. After all, “little Nicky” could speak several languages, rode a horse beautifully, danced gracefully, and was an excellent marksman. And he was supposed to marry a French princess. But from the moment Nicholas II of Russia saw the girl with the red-gold hair, Princess Alix of Hess, he loved her.

Circumstances, duty and family pressure were all enemies to this budding romance, and when Alix came to visit her sister in St. Petersburg, she was soundly ignored by the Russian court. Nicholas was the son of the Czar Alexander Romanov, a huge bear of a man with a personality to match, and those who crossed him soon regretted it. But he hadn’t reckoned on the power of the love his diminutive son felt for this German girl. So determined was he to have her as his queen that he issued the warning that he would never marry and would remain single his entire life if Alix could not be his. Obviously, for a royal line who wanted their dynasty to continue, a bachelor czar wasn’t a consideration.

After much difficulty and in spite of overwhelming odds, Nicholas and Alexandra wed in 1894, and their union became known as the love of the century. He often said she was the only friend he had.

It almost seems it was destined that what began with such drama would end the same way as these two devoted people and their five children were murdered by the Bolsheviks on July 17, 1918. But Nicky never gave up the dream of a life with Alix, and he sought for her in spite of what barriers were placed in front of him.

What woman wouldn’t be thrilled at the prospect of such an ardent admirer, one who would knock down walls and continue his pursuit regardless of what it cost him?

Harry and Bess

It is said that communication is the foundation for any relationship, and there is none more effective form of communication than the written letter. In this day of cell phones, text messaging and e-mailing, we have lost the art of writing a good letter on a lovely piece of stationary and passing it down through the generations. I have in my possession letters written to my great-grandmother from my great-grandfather on the stationary of his business in Grainfield, KS. And believe it or not, if you read between the lines, some of them are pretty racy…for the late 1800’s!

In a period spanning over 50 years, Harry wrote Bess 1,300 letters, and we know about them because their daughter had the foresight to save them after her mother’s death.

These two, Harry and Bess, lived through a time when mail was delivered two times a day; they courted through letters; he proposed; she refused (she wanted to be asked in person!). The letters began in the early stage of their relationship when Harry set his sights on Bess who was several cuts above him in the Independence, MO social structure. The letters continued in spite of a future mother-in-law who saw him as nothing more than a nuisance. And they found their way into the White House when Harry Truman became vice-president, and later in those terrible days at the end of World War II when he was thrust into the unenviable job of succeeding FDR and bringing the conflict to a horrendous conclusion.

They give us a glimpse of not only the love and devotion that began when they met in Sunday School at the age of 6, but also of a forgotten America when times were simpler and love was easier to proclaim. These pieces of paper are not only love letters, they are an American saga.

We can only imagine Bess reading them again and again through the years, perhaps even after her beloved Harry was gone. And what a picture of devotion and fortitude they paint for their daughter and for us today. If communication is indeed the foundation of a sturdy relationship, it must also be the tool by which we navigate in our world. And the words of the past have much relevance in the living of the present.

John and his wife

The relating of love stories would not be realistic if they didn’t include one which didn’t have a happy ending; the fact that nowhere in my research could I find this man’s wife actually named tells me of the distain history hold for her.

John was born in England in 1703, and in his lifetime he traveled over 250,000 miles on horseback, preached about 42,000 times, wrote, and translated or edited some 233 volumes of sermons, commentaries and hymns. His journey in God’s work began in 1736 and continued for 56 years even as he labored to remain faithful to a wife who openly despised him.

John Wesley married the widow of a London merchant in 1751, and after she had accompanied on his circuits the first four years, she decided she wanted none of the trappings of the “traveling preacher’s wife,” calling him a “silly man.” Becoming outrageously jealous, she soon grew to have an angry, contentious spirit. Several sources have recorded instances of her standing in crowds where he was preaching and heckling him.

This great preacher who never wavered in the task the Lord put before him left an enduring legacy, not the least of which was the founding of the Methodist church. But his life with his wife was one of prolonged sorrow, yet one that pictured the essence of true loyalty.
How different the story about a bus that was bumping along a back road in the South. In one seat sat a fragile old man with a bouquet of fresh flowers. From across the aisle a young girl cast repeated, longing glances at those flowers. The time came for the old man to get off the bus, and impulsively, he handed the bouquet to the young girl. “I can see you love the flowers, he said, “and I think my wife would like for you to have them. I’ll tell her I gave them to you.” The girl took the gift, then watched as the old man got off the bus and walked through the gate of a small cemetery. Loyalty to his beloved wife did not die when she did.

Ron and Nancy

As would be their entire relationship, the initial meeting of Ron and Nancy was unique and endearing. Because of his position in the acting industry, they met in 1951 to discuss her name being used without permission in an advertisement. She would later say that she didn’t know if it was love at first sight, but it was pretty close. And later, she was adamant in her belief that “my life began with Ronnie.”

History has recorded the complete and total devotion of Ronald and Nancy Reagan for us; had he not become President of the United States, their story would have remained largely unknown save for their inner circle. But they are a part of our American history, and as such we were witnesses to the adoration these two felt for one another. We watched as she fixed her gaze on him as he spoke, savoring every word; watched that final image of their togetherness as she laid her head on his casket. And we learned that the one of the secrets of their successful 54 years together was that she respected, protected and adored her man.

Aboard Air Force One he wrote a note to her stating: “When you aren’t there, I’m no place, just lost in time and space. I more than love you; I’m not whole without you.” And motivated by that adoration, she protected his privacy and dignity until the day he died. Vice-president said of them: “It has always seemed to me that no photograph could ever capture the true closeness of the Reagan’s.” But Charleton Heston expressed it best when he declared theirs “the greatest love affair in the history of the American presidency.”

Even the haze and fog of Alzheimer’s disease could not steal a love that had endured many trials. In 1999 his Secret Service agents were leading a failing President Reagan on a walk down Beverly Blvd. when he unexpectedly stopped in front of a quaint blue house with a beautiful rose garden behind a picket fence. As the frail president struggled to unlatch the gate, the agent gently reminded him, “You can’t go in there, sir; it isn’t your house.” “I know,” sighed the love of Nancy’s life, “But I just wanted to pick a rose for my love.”
Devotion such as that is what movies and novels are made of, but it was the Reagan’s life.


Now, perhaps you’re living your own private romance with all the elements of perusal, communication, loyalty and devotion…or maybe not. Perhaps you are sitting there thinking that no one has ever pursued you as Nicholas did Alexandra; that no one has written you hundreds of love letters as Harry did for Bess; that no one has demonstrated undeserved loyalty to you as John Wesley did for his scornful wife; that the devotion the President showed his beloved Nancy is something you will never know.

But I am here tonight to tell you the good news that there is One who can supply all these in your life and more.

I call it the Divine Romance, one in which:

The hero is in undaunted pursuit of the one He loves. Luke 19:10 says: For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
His desire to communicate with His beloved. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14

The loyalty that endures through rejection and tribulation. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The undying devotion of the Perfect One to the imperfect one. Jer. 31:3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore, with loving kindness have I drawn thee.

The essence of the Divine Romance is: The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. I John 4:14


Dr. E.V. Hill, a black pastor in LA tells this story of his beloved wife who through the many years of their married life, he lovingly called “Baby.” Dr. Hill had taken an outspoken and public stand against the gangs of the area which were swallowing and destroying the young blacks who fell into their ranks. This resulted in several death threats on his life. Not to be deterred, this man of God continued with his ministry and his personal life, trusting the Lord to protect him. One morning he awakened to find Baby’s side of the bed empty. Thinking her to be somewhere in the house, he arose and began to call for her. His concern grew when he realized she was not there. As he opened the front door to see if perhaps she was out in the yard, Baby drove up in their car and parked it in its usual spot in the driveway. Imagine his astonishment when his wife stepped out of the automobile still wearing her nightgown and bathrobe. When he asked her why in the world she was out so early, driving the car and wearing her nightclothes, this was her reply. “I know there have been death threats made against you, and it occurred to me that your enemies might try to plant a bomb in our car during the night. So I got up early to drive it first.”

Baby was willing to give up her life for the man she loved so dearly, and that must surely touch all our hearts and cause us to question whether we would be willing to do the same for one that we love. But the bigger observation is this: Baby could have saved her husband’s life, but she could not save his soul, regardless of the sacrifice.

Jesus Christ did for you on Calvary what this woman offered to do for her husband, but His voluntary death has far more ramifications:
He went, sinless, as God in the flesh to Calvary…and He didn’t have to.

He suffered, bled and died for every person who had lived or ever would…and he didn’t have to.

He endured the separation from the Heavenly Father and the agony of Hell in your stead…and he didn’t have to.

And He arose, victorious, over all the forces of evil to be in the position to offer you salvation through Him.

But in order for a love story to end in “happily ever after,” the girl has to accept the proposal and become his. Without the “I will,” the offer is null and void. The promise of forgiveness and the gift of eternal life are presented, but the decision to accept or reject it is entirely yours.

Any earthly love affair will come to an end at the close of life, but the Divine Romance between Jesus Christ and His beloved endures into eternity. It reaches across your faults, your unloveliness, your indifference to offer you complete acceptance and a love beyond all others.

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