I’ve just watched “Lost in Austen” (2008), a story where a modern woman finds herself in Jane Austen’s world of Pride and Prejudice. One scene in particular struck me. One of the characters says to another (won’t mention names in case you want to see it!) – “I love you… It is clear to me now that it has always been you. Every time I’ve fallen for a man I’ve closed my eyes and it’s been you…I have a past. But every instant in it contains you. Everything I am belongs to you.”
In terms of romantic declarations, that’s a pretty good one! Yet it is not true.
I believe that all the world’s greatest works of art, including literature, have this in common: their glory, their beauty, their perfection draw us because they are the closest creations that have approached the true nature of beauty, love, glory, even holiness. While imperfect, shadows of that true nature, they have enough to draw us in. Whether by the shocking beauty of the human form in motion, the tender perfection of a baby’s eyes or the splendor of a matchless sunset, the glorious crescendo of a full orchestra performing a gorgeous piece of music, all of us have probably become struck dumb at some point in our life by these works of art. And we have seen a glimpse, a fraction of a glance, of what the truth is, what true beauty and glory and holiness looks like—in other words: “For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” (Romans 1:20)
That is what struck me about the scene in “Lost in Austen” – she is speaking truth but of and to the wrong person. When we realize the glorious truth of God’s love for us, His tender hand upon us at every moment of our lives, His amazing sacrifice to save us from eternal separation from Him, we see that indeed, there is one whom we must love. Who has been in every instant of our past, who utterly owns us body and soul. Recognizing that and owning it to the God who IS love, is the greatest moment of truth our life can hold.
And if you have had that moment I hope you don’t, like me, need to watch a movie to remind you of it. Let that true love saturate your day, your life.
“How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure! That He should give His only son, to make a wretch His treasure. How great the pain of searing loss! The Father turns His face away—as wounds which mar the chosen one bring many sons to glory.
Behold the Man upon a cross. My sin upon his shoulders! Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held him there, until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life, I know that it is finished!
I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom. But I will boast in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection. Why should I gain from his reward? I cannot give an answer. But this I know with all my heart, his wounds have paid my ransom.”
(How Deep the Father’s Love for Us hymn)