If you know me at all, you may know that I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen. I love Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, and so on. I love pretty much every movie/show version of her books. There’s something so romantic and enchanting about the way she wrote, and her characters seem to draw me in. Her books make me wish that I lived in a different time – how I would’ve loved to travel by carriage, to live in a time when courtship was not only the thing to do, but it was respected. To live in a time when God and His word was honored much more than it is now, and most people lived good, proper lives. Sure, there was sin back then. There has always been sin, there will always be sin. There are thousands of reasons why I’m thankful that I was born in the year I was born, and I was born then for a reason. But man, there’s no denying that there was something much nicer in those times.
I watched Sense & Sensibility for the first time last week when I was sick and stuck in bed, then promptly bought the book and read it. Out of all of Austen’s work that I’ve read so far, it has to be my favorite. I thought Elinor and Edward’s story was nice, but what really drew me in (or shall I say, who.) was the character, Colonel Brandon. (I absolutely picture him as Alan Rickman, by the way.) Here is this man, a kind, gentle, respectable man, who falls head over heels for Marianne Dashwood, who acknowledges his existence but very publicly dislikes him. She thinks he’s too old, too boring, and that he lacks passion. Despite everyone else telling her what a wonderful man he is, despite the fact that this man would marry her in a heartbeat and treat her well and love her…she doesn’t even glance his way. Instead, she falls into the arms of a man named Willoughby, who is..well, in my opinion, total scum. I mean, this guy is the definition of bad. He’s already had a child outside of marriage, and seems to enjoy making women fall in love with him, then leaving. I’ll spare you the entire story, but in short – Willoughby leaves Marianne and she is distraught. This seems to ruin her entire life. But then, she realizes something. She had the best man right in front of her the entire time, a man that she loved, but never noticed. Colonel Brandon.
It made me think of a story that I’m sure all of you know – the story that is in our Bible’s. A story that we know by heart, but don’t really get. We’ve probably heard it since we were very young. John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. We know the story of Jesus, of how He died on the cross for us, so that we could have salvation, our free gift. Sure, we say we realize that we’re all lost sinners who came to Christ, but do we really understand what we’re saying? Colonel Brandon reminded me of the story of Christ – picture this. We’re living in sin, completely blatantly. Perhaps we’re already saved, and have back-slidden. We’re sinning right in front of our Savior who adores us, who is just waiting for us to come, and hoping that we do it sooner rather than later. Just like Marianne was with Willoughby and practically threw it in poor Colonel Brandon’s face. We’re throwing our sin in Jesus’ face. We are stomping on His Word, disrespecting Him with everything we have in us.
But then, something clicks in us.
Perhaps we realize that we must get saved, we must have salvation in order to live eternally in Christ. Or perhaps, you already have salvation but you see how sinfully you have been living, and realize that you must repent and get closer to God again. You must have His forgiveness again. We realize that while we’ve been living as we have, in sin, in disrespect towards God, He’s been there.
He’s been there with us through it all. He’s been patiently waiting, He’s watched us stand in the storm and cry out for help, and He came, and He carried us through it. He was always there, offering His comfort, His love, His grace, a shelter from the rain, and we didn’t look up from our sin enough to even notice Him.
There’s a quote from Sense & Sensibility that reminds me so much of our Savior,
“Brandon is just the kind of man whom every body speaks well of, and nobody cares about; whom all are delighted to see, and nobody remembers to talk to.”
― Jane Austen,
Is that not like our Savior? How often do we speak well of Him and tell others about His love, how often do we offer prayer and go to church, but forget Him entirely?
It may seem silly to compare a Jane Austen character to Jesus Christ, but think about this. We are like Marianne, going towards the exciting Willoughby (sin) and ignoring Brandon (Jesus) until we end up with our hearts broken, and stuck in a storm. We realize that we desperately need help, and we turn the right way, and see that there is someone there, someone’s who has been there with their arms wide open and ready to take you in for that entire time.
Jesus will wait. He’ll wait even longer than any human man ever would. He will stand in the storm with you, arms wide open and ready to get you out of that storm, for as long as it takes
Jesus will wait.
2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.