Secret admirer?

You wouldn’t necessarily think it’s deserved from the way humanity conducts itself, but it transpires our race has, and has always had, a secret admirer. When I say always, I don’t mean since, say, first grade. No. Since before the dawn of time. And when I say humanity, that means you, and me, individually and personally. This is no part-time lover we’re talking about, but one who’s in it for the long haul. In no hurry. Plays the long game, has a plan. In all of human history, and on a smaller scale in every human life that ever was.

In some regards the most secretive admirer who has ever lived (and has lived forever). But persistent. Willing to face rejection any number of times, if only the pursued will sit up and begin to take notice…

An unconventional lover. Invisible, for one thing. Not much of a talker. Strong silent type. If you could see this lover… might be tall and craggy, with rugged good looks (made the Himalayas). But perhaps also hints of mystery and femininity (made Venus too).

Down the aeons, this lover has sought to woo human beings in a myriad ways (the original hopeless romantic), without wishing to make any of it too obvious. The big set piece stuff is hard to miss, particularly a nice line in awe-inspiring natural wonders. Massive mountains, spectacular sunsets, towering trees, amazing animals. Human beings have often had a good eye for the gift itself, and the cleverer ones like to turn it over and over and round and round, prod it and see what happens. Not always quite so good at discerning the giver behind the gift. Nor quit so adept at picking up clues. Not always so subtle.

This secret admirer further sought to capture human attention through an infinitely varied web of signs, hints and ‘seductions’, often uniquely tailored to the individual. Curious concatenations of circumstances. Words read or heard. Trains of thought sparked by works of art and literature, strains of longing from particular pieces of music. Sometimes something hard to put your finger on – but which had the desired effect of setting a heart seeking.

Perhaps more than anything, a love letter has the power to melt defences and soften the hardest heart – and the one proceeding from this lover’s mind was unsurpassed. In the long march of history, it has gained an esteem and affection that has never been lost – even if parts of the human race have at times considered themselves too sophisticated and clever for its overtures and appeals. But where this letter has been taken to heart and pored over, its recipients have been captivated by the story of the great Lover’s love for humanity, and the lengths he would go to in order to secure their affections. They have caught a glimpse of the Personality present in these pages. Caught a taste of the presence of the living God.

And not just on Valentine’s, but every day of their brief lives, human beings have the opportunity to let go of their own feeble attempts to find an ultimate love, meaning and significance – and abandon themselves first to the pursuit and embrace of the greatest love, expressed in this, the greatest story ever told.

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