Recently I’ve enjoyed movies of Dorothy Sayers’ stories featuring Lord Peter Wimsey. Of course, the mystery angle intrigues me, but I am more deeply touched by Lord Peter’s patient and persistent courtship of Harriet Vane. She does her best to discourage him, point out all her own faults and inadequacies, and flee from him. But Peter is not put off. He proposes to her again and again, taking her “no” with equanimity but not finality, assuring her of his unconditional love, acceptance and admiration in spite of what she thinks of herself. He is respectful, friendly, kind, helpful, and brilliant, and she can always depend on him to help her out of a jam. In fact, in the first of this series he rescues her from hanging for a murder (of a lover) that she did not commit.
I wonder if Sayers, a Christian, intended any allusion here to our Lord’s courtship of us. He has rescued us from the consequences of our sin (which we have committed!) and pursues us with a dogged devotion, a kind and persistent love in spite of all our inadequacies, our unsavory past, our independent spirit and our stubbornness. He is a Gentleman, though, and will not force us.
By the way, I love the end of the third novel where Harriet finally gives up her stubborn independence and responds to this amazing love, promising to marry Peter. Whew! You can almost hear the sigh of relief from yourself and from all the characters in the story.
However, backing up to the moment of that last proposal—Peter says that he has a feeling that whatever Harriet says will be final. Are we in danger of saying a final “no” to the Lord? Do we dare keep putting Him off? What if he takes us at our word?