(This post is overdue for the love month of February, yet, it is timely EVERYDAY. So here goes...)
Not so long ago, we would know in concrete ways when a man is interested in a woman. Especially in a Philippine setting--- where I come from--- both families would be involved even before the courtship had began. If not, then at least the girl's parents and an elder, brought along by the man, would know that the man wanted to court the girl by asking permission from the girl's parents. Only when the girl's parents had approved him to court the girl, would he be permitted to see her and show his love through all kinds of courting practices like serenading, giving flowers, visiting or inviting her out, and... always with a chaperone. (Uh, that seems so long, long ago now! :D)
If the girl reciprocates the same feelings to the man, they could decide to get engaged and the man had to come with an elder or a parent to ask for the girl's hand in marriage. This was a critical stage for a man. He had to show to the parents that he is worthy and suitable for their daughter as her husband. Traditionally, he would be obligated to do all kinds of services for the family, like help out in the farm, fetch water, get firewood, etc., just to show that he would be capable of supporting his bride-to-be and to love her. And many-a-man would go through such lengths just to show his love and to have the woman of his dreams to be his wife.
This brings to mind what a runaway, Jacob, did for his love to Rachel. After running away from his own home, Jacob stayed with Laban, his uncle. After a month of staying in Laban's household, Jacob fell in love with his daughter, Rachel. The Bible said that Rachel was beautiful (Genesis 29:17). Jacob was so in love that he promised Laban, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter, Rachel” Genesis 29:18). He was willing to serve, to sacrifice seven years of his life for the woman he loved, and he did. But to him, the seven years "seemed like only a few days... because of his love for her" (Genesis 29:20).
Right now, there is a wooing going on. A love chase that has started even before the world began. In Ephesians 1:4, it is said that "even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ" for the purpose of making us one in Him, "holy and without fault in His eyes." He wants to have a relationship with you and me. He wants us to be His bride.
God has shown his love towards us in numerous, countless ways, and unless we are blind or numb, we will be able to see and feel what He has done and is doing for us.
Can't you hear his serenade through the music of a running brook, accompanied by the whistling of the wind through the leaves of the forest?
Can't you hear his melodious voice in the stillness of the morning while all creatures are asleep?
Can you see his gift of beauty in the flowers of the meadows and a rainbow set in the misty sky?
Can you feel him reach out to you and touch your heart in a stranger's smile and assistance as you try to navigate and cross the busy street with a baby in your arm and a distracted toddler, heedless and unmindful of your warnings of danger?
Can you experience Him, His grace poured out through the life and death of His Son? Can you?
Every minute of every day, God is in pursuit of us. Indifferent or distracted we may be, He continues steadfastly to love us, and He doesn't count it at all because of His great love for us.
This love can never equal any love that you know, that we all know, and put together. It is a love that can turn the mundane into glorious, the ordinary into extraordinary, and the common into special. It can move your spiritual life beyond religion, rituals and routines into something personal and vital, engaging every nuance of your life. It crosses out the line between the spiritual and the secular, and you won't know the difference at all.