I never really felt comfortable with all the romantic, lovey-sounding language about Jesus that became so popular in worship music in the early 2000’s.
The thought of Jesus as a lover seemed distorted, perverted, just wrong. Something inside me flinched.
Lovers had hurt me, abused me, discarded me. To think of Jesus that way was frightening.
The idea of Jesus as a friend, a brother, especially a big brother who favors His little sister and would do anything for her, was much more palatable to me.
It reminds me much of my college days, surrounded by godly guys who loved Jesus and loved me like a sister. They looked out for me and encouraged me. We had great times together. God used them to heal my broken image of men.
That was a safe time. No risk required. No intimacy.
Along came my future husband when I was a graduate student. With him came a whole new experience of friendship with a man. That friendship led to love and marriage. Intimacy of the deepest kind. What we were meant for, us humans, created man and woman, in God’s image.
For the first time in my life there was a man who loved me deeply, who was safe, whose passion and zeal was spent for me.
A lifetime of adventures around the world, three children, and much happiness later, I am so glad that relationship grew from brotherhood, to friendship, to intimate love.
I wonder, does Jesus want that kind of intimacy with me?
Is He tired of being the big brother who hugs me from the side and brings me flowers I dismiss as just so nice? Is He waiting for me to notice His burning love for me?
Does my Savior want all of me? I think He does.
As I read His words in the letter Jesus has written me, I blush.
My beloved is mine, and I am his. Song of Solomon 2:16
Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the days she came up out of Egypt. “In that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master’. Hosea 2:14-15
Words like beloved, desire, allure, tenderly, husband.
Those don’t sound like brother words.
How is it that this love has been under my nose all this time and I thought we were just friends?
The tender hearted mystic Brennan Manning was once challenged during a thirty-day silent retreat to pray the following passage daily:
I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. (Song of Solomon 7:10 NASB)
The result was a revelation of what Manning calls the furious longing of God for you and me. The longing of a lover, zealous for His beloved. One who harnesses His great power and strength to tenderly, sweetly, pursue you and me.
My relationship with Jesus is changing. Like a love-sick girl running to meet her Beloved in secret, I rise early and run into His arms. I sit quietly and listen for His whispers. I live the day on the words He speaks in private to me in the early hours of the dawn. I dream about when I can meet with Him again.
I am no longer merely a friend of Christ. I am His own beloved.
And so are you.
Lord, I want to believe I am your beloved, but it is hard. Heal my heart where it has been broken by other lovers. I am drawn ever nearer to your consuming love and I want every single bit of it You have for me. Amen.