I don’t know the number of times I have seen some wall hanging or meme that bears the words “Love Never Fails.” It’s probably one of the most familiar sentences from “The Love Chapter” (1 Corinthians 13). And while it is a wonderful statement, what follows that portion of 1 Corinthians 13: 8 is what makes it perhaps the most beautiful sentence in the chapter, for it is in the rest of the verse that we see the illustration of what never-failing means.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Cor. 13:8, NIV)
Do you see it? Prophecies will stop. Tongues will fall silent. Knowledge will be no more. But even when everything is gone, love will still remain. I think that image of everything falling away and love standing there, all alone, in the bleakness is just beautiful. And that is what we are going to talk about in this Glimpses of God’s Love journal entry.
I am actually writing this on the release day for my book His Irreplaceable Belle (May 26, 2020). This book is the fourth in my Touches of Austen series. The stories in this series are original sweet Regency romances which are touched in some way, whether great or small, by Jane Austen’s work. His Irreplaceable Belle has a distinct Persuasion flavour to it.
As any good Jane Austen fan will know, Persuasion is a second-chance romance in which the main love interests are separated for a period of years and, when reunited, do not immediately profess their love for each other, but eventually come together in the end.
So, too, in my book, the main characters have been separated. Six years before the beginning of the story, the hero was deemed unworthy of the heroine, and the heroine was persuaded away from marrying the hero. However, the circumstances surrounding these facts differ in my story from what Miss Austen wrote.
He (Fritz) was a gentleman who, quite naturally, felt compelled to see to the needs of everyone, and whose compulsion to care for others only intensified when presented with the needs of someone counted among those whom he held dear. It was this caring and compassionate part of his nature which had first drawn Belle to him and had recommended him to her as a gentleman with a promising future. He had not had much in the way of wealth and worldly possessions when they had first met, but she had known, to the depths of her soul, that it was only a temporary state for him. She had always believed he would be a great success, and from what she had seen today and had heard since she arrived in Bath, her assessment had been correct. He was a success and would continue to be so.
Oh, to be a part of his life and cheer him on to further greatness as his wife! Her heart still cried for what had been lost. It ached with its desire to be the lady at his side. But how could she be? Why would a gentleman who had been so wronged ever wish to be tied to the very family who had threatened to deny him of his profession?[His Irreplaceable Belle, Ch. 2]
Fritz, as a young physician’s assistant, had found himself on the wrong side of Belle’s father and oldest brother simply by falling in love. Neither approved of Belle wasting her beauty by marrying someone of little means and low standing. Not only did they disapprove and were unwilling to consent to the relationship, but they also took it a step further and attempted to destroy Fritz’s career.
Fritz finds himself pushed out from the society he knew to find his way in a new place and without the lady he loves. He throws himself into his work and becomes exactly what Belle thought he would be — a great success. He does not become who he is at the beginning of our story on his own, however.
For the next several minutes, Fritz enjoyed the weaving and circling of the dance as he watched Miss James complete the patterns with a word here and there passing between her and Mrs. Blakesley when possible. They seemed to be forming a fine acquaintance. This was also a good thing as Fritz could not countenance taking a wife who might separate him from Walter.
Walter had been the first close acquaintance that Fritz had made in Bath. Fritz had been here for two years, establishing himself as a physician before he had met Walter when Walter had fallen ill with a fever. It had not been a serious illness, just enough of one to require some advice for regaining health. The meeting had been as much of a balm to Fritz’s soul as his tinctures and recipe for barley water had been to Walter.
Walter had healed quickly, and then, he had provided his own sort of healing to Fritz. It was Walter who had taught him that there were still people in the world who were trustworthy and loyal and who were opposed to carrying tales and viewing themselves as better than everyone else. They had been fast friends ever since. Fritz could not give up such a relationship. He simply could not. Therefore, he was excessively pleased when upon the completion of their set of dances, Miss James invited the Blakesleys to meet her mother and aunt.[His Irreplaceable Belle, Ch. 7]
You may remember Walter Blakesley from a previous journal entry. He is the hero of Her Secret Beau where he teaches Grace about the trustworthiness of love. In this story, he has provided the same service to his best friend, and in so doing, helped Fritz heal and thrive, despite his broken heart. Throughout His Irreplaceable Belle, Walter will continue to be a solid support for Fritz, and Walter will be instrumental in eventually bringing Belle and Fritz together.
But I shouldn’t allow myself to get too sidetracked here. I wanted to focus on the romantic relationship not the friendship relationships in this story (although those friendships are well-worth a study).
While Fritz has become a well-respected and sought-after physician in Bath — one of the best (unless you ask Walter who will declare him THE best) — he still suffers from a broken heart. He is not alone in this. Belle also bears a broken heart.
She has long regretted having been persuaded by her mother’s tears to refuse Fritz’s offer to run away and marry in Scotland. At the beginning of our story, her father has finally given up hope that she will ever marry and has sent her to live with her Aunt Augusta in Bath at her aunt’s request.
Both Fritz and Belle attempt to settle into life without the other, but it is no use. It cannot be done, and in the end, as one might suspect in a romance, they finally find their happily ever after. However, as I always say…
Happily ever after does not mean perfect. Cinderella still had scars.
When the curtain drops on His Irreplaceable Belle, the atrocities and disapproval of the past do not magically drop away. Instead, Belle and Fritz will find themselves holding on to each other and standing victorious over the bleakness that had once been their lot in life.
I know that some of you may have read Belle and Fritz’s story while it was posting on my blog as a Sweet Tuesday story, and there are those who have already purchased a copy or read it in Kindle Unlimited. However, for those of you who haven’t picked up a copy of this story for your virtual library, I am giving away one ebook copy to one lucky reader who leaves a comment below. Here are the contest details:
Leave a comment below to be entered into a draw for one ebook copy of His Irreplaceable Belle.
The contest closes at 11:59 PM EST on June 10, 2020.
Winners will be announced on June 14, 2020.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.