Monday, January 12, 2009

Love Story

In the past six months, I have felt God’s love move in ways I’d thought were reserved for only the most pious believers. He ransomed my heart, He allured me, and He lavished me with His love! And when I think about my life, I realize that it is a love story. Not ideal, but a love story nonetheless. I see places where my beaten heart was protected by my God; other times where my attention to Him was prodded by my pain. In both instances, He stood, ever ready, to hold me in His embrace and drown me in His love.

I ponder the women in my story, ranging in age from 20 to 52. And I see amazing, intelligent, and beautiful individuals created in the image of God. (Yes, even we women were created in HIS image.) However listening to their stories, much like mine, I hear something frightening. I hear the voice of the enemy. His breath is hot on their ears, his forked tongue speaking deceit and ruin into their spirits. Unequivocally, when women speak, they say, “I am not ________ enough.” Pretty, smart, talented, witty, pleasing, frugal, tiddy, strong, good, creative, industrious, brave…all these adjectives have filled in the blank. But the underlying theme is “I am not enough.” This particular weight, this lie from Satan’s lips, is the burden under which so many of us toil. Entire lives lived beneath the crushing burden of “not enough,” never realizing their worth.

So many of us know that God sent His only Son to die on the cross to pay for our sins (John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life). This, according to John 15:13 (Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends) was the ultimate act of love. This is the Truth! In this truth we can have faith, we are given hope, and the very essence of this truth is love. (1Cor 13:13 And now, these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love).

However, I believe that many of us take the story to end there; the ink dried and the book was snapped shut after the work Christ did on the cross. Yes, we acknowledge that we must accept this gift from the ancient past and even that we are to communicate to God intermittently through prayer. But as for the love story, it has already been written.

But the story doesn’t end there! That is only the preface. God yearns, longs, for an intimate relationship with each of us. One in which we are His focus and He is ours. And not a relationship with the “church body,” the plural form of “us.” No, God wants this intimacy with individuals. With “Jen” “Barbie” “Ken” or “Joe.” God loves each person as an individual and craves an intimate relationship with that individual, separate from all others.

What if we allowed our God to become the lover of our soul? Infinitely better than a fallible human soul-mate; He is the One who wants to allure us (Hosea 2:14), the One who desires our presence, the One who sees us for who we truly are (Genesis 16:13). Jesus declared that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you mind and will all your strength (Mark 12:30). I believe that if we could move past the idea of the Grandfather in white robes, we might be able to see God as the desire of our hearts. A God we could love this passionately; and allow ourselves to be loved by Him in a very passionate, intimate way. That relationship, that intimacy is what we were made for.

Another reason I believe God wants us to be passionately loved by Him is the Song of Solomon. This book isn’t only in the Bible to tell us of marital relations and the importance of purity. In it, God invites us to desire a relationship with him that is like the 1st verse of Song of Solomon (Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine). A relationship that is full of passion, longing, and love; a relationship in which we are His focus; and He is ours.

He is the God who calls out to our hearts, (Song of Solomon 2:10)

My lover spoke and said to me,
"Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, and come with me."

Does God desire to be our lover? In Hosea 2:14, God says He will “allure [us]; [He] will lead [us] into the desert and speak tenderly to [us].” God says we “will call [Him] ‘[our] husband.” God also says He “will betroth [us] to [Him] forever; [He] will betroth [us] in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. [He] will betroth [us] in faithfulness, and [we] will acknowledge the Lord” (Hosea 2:19-20). Through Christ’s righteousness and compassion we are betrothed to God. Through God’s love, faithfulness, and justice are we His brides.

Because when we prostitute ourselves out to other suitors (worldly pursuits), HE is jealous, as a lover would be. Like Gomer in Hosea (Ch 2), we fill ourselves with idols of our times; and I am chief amongst you guilty of this. I have put myself above God, I have used alcohol, drugs, sex, food, worldly beauty, pursuit of knowledge, love for my husband and love for my children as replacements for God’s love. I have used good works, friendships, genuine attempts at piety, and even religion to fill in for the love of my soul. Every time I am let down. Because only God can sustain that kind of intimacy; where we are loved, valued, and delighted in every breath of our lives. He yearns to cherish us as His bride, to steal away like newlyweds excitedly exclaiming over every new discovery and reveling in every moment together.

Why can’t we be that in love with HIM?

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