I have to say that this has been the toughest study through Idol Lies yet. As mentioned before (a long time before) the book is fine, the videos are okay, and the attached study will stop you in your tracks. I’m getting worked on. It’s a good thing, I eagerly desire to walk ever closer to God – but there were a lot of tears this week as I tried to get through that study – and God didn’t stop *there*. He keeps sending me stuff about intimacy, right through to tonight’s church service.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Isaiah 62:5b And as the [f]bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.
I can give you chapter and verse about Jesus and the Bride of Christ, the washing of regeneration in the blood of the Lamb that takes our sins as scarlet and turns them into white garments fit for a wedding. I can go on for *days* if you’d like. But the word that hit me straight in the nose and left me crying here is “rejoice”. Delight. Delight like a groom rejoices in his bride as she walks to him on their wedding day. Urk.
Then we moved to the Song of Solomon. The bride is hiding amongst the cleft of the rocks, and the groom calls her out. Because she is lovely to him.
Song of Solomon 2:14 O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your form,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your form is lovely.
All my heart screams is “there is nothing lovely about *me*. How could You feel like this about *me*?” It hurts. It hurts by revealing a desire so deep you refuse to see it. And there’s really nothing for it but sobbing. I was messed up for a couple of days.
And that made me realize that I was hiding a part of myself away. Like I said in a previous blog, “bracing for impact”. I am well aware that the mature Christian life is not filled with sunshine and whipped cream. But bracing for that pain hides part of myself. When we surrender our hearts, we surrender for full healing as well as the surgery that precedes it.
I’ve spent so much of my Christian life focusing on the surgery, allowing the Surgeon to cut, and have forgotten that the other end of pain is … freedom. Pleasure. Joy. We don’t focus on those much as Good Christians, do we? But if I’m to become truly childlike in my faith… I need to stop being so pessimistic about the next thing to come down the pike and just enjoy where I am.
And let myself love. Love is worship, you know? In church tonight, we were trotting through the gospel of Mark. Got to this bit:
Mark 14: 3 While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. 4 But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? 5 For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. 6 But Jesus said,“Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. 9 Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.
Mary had to have loved Him to do this. Not just to give what might have been her dowry – or at least something like a year’s wages – to anoint Him for His death, but to clean His feet with her hair. (See John 11:2). I know most of you aren’t women with hair long enough to rub someone’s feet with without contortions, but I am. I would never touch a man I wasn’t married to like that. It’s not sexual, exactly. But it is intimate, vulnerable. She put her heart right out there, for *everyone* to see. And they went after her. I’m sure they were shocked.
But Jesus defended her. It wasn’t that much longer (two days?) until the night in the garden of Gethsemane and the day after on the cross. If the smell was that strong… do you suppose that smell went with Him? I’ve never really thought about that before, but do you suppose it might have done? It was an oil, perfume oil is very strong. I wear perfume oil in my hair, just a couple of drops will last a day, sometimes more unless I shampoo it out. I wonder what a jar would do?
What about *us* is lovely? We know it’s not our attempts at righteousness, because those are filthy rags. Maybe, it’s the choice to love Him. The decision. He *did* give us free will… why? He is Love, and He is in us and … but we have to choose to let Him in. I don’t know. This is bugging me. I don’t feel lovely, not to Him. The whole thing is terminally embarrassing – and upsetting.
I feel like that girl in the cleft of the rock. Asked to come out, to come towards Him, towards greater intimacy with Him, and just as embarrassed about the whole thing as a virgin girl on her wedding night.