His shirt read Israel. It was a uniform shirt, with the name printed on the left hand side. He stepped onto BART with a slight smile on his weary face. It was Friday night and by the looks of his mechanics uniform he had worked a long week. His hands were grimy with grease and dirt, his boots similar, and his clothing even worse. In his hand he held a small bouquet of lilies and roses, wrapped carefully in presentation cello and a white plastic bag on the bottom.
He held them carefully, gingerly even, protecting them when people came to close or the train jolted severely. He kept his head down during the ride, glancing at the bouquet occasionally as if excited to present it to the giftee. He had no shame in being the only male on the train with flowers, though I’m sure others looked at him with disdain, or curiosity wondering where he was going.
Yet it wasn’t the flowers that caught my attention so much as the quiet affection he held them with. Whoever the recipient of those flowers were held a very special place in his heart. This man, regardless of his station or grimy appearance, was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. And he held a quiet, yet determined affection for his love.
This encounter I had on a normal commuting Friday night brought to mind the statement I’ve heard countless times growing up. “God is a gentleman.” He loves us with a fierce love, a jealous love, yet He will not come where He is not welcomed. Similar to this man, Israel, who was sure of his love’s affection for him, just as he had no shame in showing his obvious affection by bringing home flowers.
In the season of love, Valentines Day, we have a heightened awareness of our relationship status, and of the “love” in our lives. Whether it be agape or mania, platonic or romantic. It seems that we would want to also remember the lover of our souls – the lover who waits patiently, with a quiet affection, until we are ready to allow Him to enter our lives.
Just as the man in the photo above waits with a flower behind his back to surprise his love, so the Lord, the lover of our souls and of our hearts, also waits with surprises in store for us – if we will only love and seek Him.