Will You Be Mine?

I know it isn’t a church holiday, but when we were kids, giving each other those little red and pink cards on Valentine’s Day was a favorite pastime. I don’t suppose we ever really figured out the meaning of that innocuously short query that we scribbled in third grade penmanship on those floppy heart-shaped cut-outs. Nevertheless we handed it out to all our friends at school: “Will you be Mine?”

It’s the call of divine heart, is it not? “Will you be mine?” asks the God of the universe who for millennia now has been desperately trying to win back the hearts of a runaway and rebel race. “Will you be mine?” Why it’s as if all the children God already has around his dinner table in heaven aren’t enough—as if he’ll never be really, truly happy and contented until we say “yes” and come and join him, too. “Will you be Mine?”

When I fell in love with Karen, before I’d even gotten to know her, it was the utter preoccupation of my teenage heart to get her attention. I knew each day that as I headed for the cafeteria at SMC (“Southern Matrimonial College”), she’d be coming out of one of her nursing classes and I could pass her on the sidewalk. And so every day, in one of those foolish (but effective) teenage rituals, I’d drop my head when I spotted her and pretend to be deep in thought while staring at the sidewalk in front of me, but all the while maneuvering my steps so that I would practically run straight into her. Then there’d be the burst of laughter, the quick apology about “not” seeing her there, and with her face fresh in mind I’d be on my way. Who can know “the way of a man with a maiden” (Proverbs 30:19 NIV)?

But then, the ways of Love divine are as inexplicable at times, aren’t they? Explain to the rest of us, please, the compelling passion that drives a God from his great white throne to our dark, fallen earth, all for what? That we might be granted the chance to cry at the top of our lungs, “We have no king but Caesar”? And with that ugly refrain repeating inside of him, this rejected God stumbles on to the place of his execution. And as they stretch out his naked frame and pin him to that stake, with every thud of the mallet upon those nails, the question he came to earth to ask is hammered out: “Will you be Mine?”

“‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’” (John 3:16). On Valentine’s Day it will be this story that I will be sharing. Join us in South Bend (7 p.m.). Pray for me and us right now, so that God’s “Will you be Mine?” will be an arrow through every listening heart.