The other night, I poured myself a cup of hot tea, kicked off my shoes, picked up my knitting and settled deep into the sofa to relax with a movie. Something about fall reminds me of the scenes in Anne of Green Gables as she strolls along the tree-shaded pathways and the leaves reflect the changing seasons.
So, I put in the DVD of the Anne of Green Gables sequel and watched one of my favorite stories play out on my television once again.
As I sipped my tea, I realized that what seems so romantically endearing and compelling about her love story with the straight-talking Gilbert Blythe is his willingness to pursue her. He may have fallen in love with her in grade school when she broke her slate over his head after he called her “Carrots,” yet he waited for her.
He cheered her on and encouraged her success, asked her to marry him, was rejected, waited some more, got sick and nearly died, and asked again.
Maybe that’s the great romance we’ve all dreamt of or longed for as school girls or teens or even grown women.
And even while part of me wants to scream at Anne through the television to drop all of her “high-faluting’ mumbo jumbo” and just realize already that love is right there in front of her, part of me is entranced.
It’s true in all my favorite stories, every book I own with its cover falling off and the pages worn from me turning down the corners for want of a bookmark: Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, Emma . . .
In each story, the theme is the same. The girl remains comfortably clueless that a man is in love with her, but he is captivated by her beauty and strength of character, her wit, her capacity to change and grow . . . and he pursues her relentlessly until she finally discovers she loves him in return.
In her book Captivating, Stasi Eldredge says:
“We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty all our own to unveil.”
Perhaps many of us do long for a beauty that captivates—-a beauty worth pursuing. Like Anne or Elizabeth or Emma, we want to know that we are worth noticing, worth waiting for, worth sacrificing for, worth fighting for . . . just worthy.
So that when the world beats us down with reminders of standards we can’t meet and the girl next door makes us feel ugly and clumsy with her model-like beauty and when we’re run-down from dishes and laundry and carpools and mess . . .we still feel that message deep down that we are captivating and we are loved.
Yet, no matter how lovely we may be, with the God-beauty of our character inside where it counts or with sparkling, head-turning physical beauty, we aren’t always pursued. We don’t, after all, live in a historical romance novel or in Jane Austen’s world of matchmaking and marriages.
It just doesn’t always turn out that way.
And yet pursuit is always part of our Great Romance.
Psalm 45:11 says,
Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.
God doesn’t have to romance or woo us. He could remain distant and unmoved. Surely the beauty He sees in us isn’t really so worthy of His attention and He could toss out a marriage proposal and conclude with, “take it or leave it.”
Yet, He bends low and tenderly calls, He watches as we trample after worldly enticements and then calls us back time after time.
Like Hosea relentlessly chasing after his wife, the wayward Gomer, so God says:
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
And more than any of that, God Himself laid aside the glories of heaven to walk among us, to live for us, to die for us, and to make a way for us to spend eternity with Him.
That’s love. That’s pursuit in the most wildly passionate and extravagant way, more than any bouquet of flowers or poetic marriage proposal.
Stasi Eldredge reminds us that:
“The story of your life is also the story of the long and passionate pursuit of your heart by the One who knows you best and loves you most”
Remember today that, while you may not be perfect or totally worthy, still God loves you and is enthralled with the beauty He created in you.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King