A woman and a man, totally and completely in love, walking together along the beach, hand in hand, it’s obvious to anyone who is observing them that they have recently been married. Honeymooners, in love with the world at their feet. The sun reflects off their rings and her smile is brighter than any diamond could ever be. The light in his eyes reflects the passion that he has for her. This moment in time, he knows that he would die for her, he would do absolutely anything for her and he can’t believe that he is privileged enough to be married to such a wonderful woman.
This is repeated over and over and over again. The love between a man and a woman, the covenant of marriage sealed with a passion that God intended for a man and a woman to share between them; a picture of His relationship of us with Him. Yet, how seldom do we understand this, either in the God/man relationship or the man/woman relationship. God certainly spelled it out clearly enough, but we overlook it and we, through traditions and bad teachings, think that it is something that it’s not.
Many Christians try to avoid the subject of sexuality. As if to think about it makes one more of a sinner, farther from God. Thinking about it is dirty, sinful, and unpure. When they do think about it, guilt causes them more separation from both God and their spouse. The purity of what God intended in the sexual relationship gets muddled up in the lies and misinformation of many generations and traditions.
What many fail to realize is that like most facets of our relationship, the sexual relationship between a man and wife is a picture for us of our relationship with God. The intimacy, the openness, the vulnerability and the passion are all pictures God gave us to show how closely involved He is with. It is no mistake that the Church is referred to as the Bride of Christ.
The best example of a love story in the Bible is found in Song of Solomon. A man and a woman are seeking each other out and talking to each other. The man tells the woman just how much he loves her. The woman often feels unworthy of his love and yet she is drawn to him over and over again. She is often unsure if she can trust him or not. She has been hurt before. In her childhood, she was hurt by her own family. Her brothers often hurt her. She put her own needs aside to take care of those around her. As a young woman, she really didn’t matter to anyone. So how could this man really be trusted?
She wakes up one night. He’s not where she expects him to be. He says he’ll be there. Instead of trusting that he’ll return, she takes off looking for him. It’s then that she’s attacked by the men in the city, sexually assaulted. She is found and brought home to safety and there she realizes that she is safe in her lover’s arms. There is where she should have been, even if she couldn’t see him at the time. It was in his home that she had his protection.
Her friends are jealous saying, “What makes this man different from the rest?” The fact that he is pure and just and strong. She is quick to sing his praises, to tell them just how wonderful he really is. She wants them to understand that he’d do anything for her. He sees her as she was created. He praises her and loves her. He tells her how beautiful she is.
This is more than a sappy love story. This is more than a strong story of two lovers who go through a lot to get to each other. Look deeper. Look at the real story.
Who is really the person who had the rough childhood and was treated poorly? Who came from a background of less than perfect means? Who went through the process of being hurt and mistreated? Who spent so much time taking care of others that they forgot to take care of themselves? When there was no one else to care for them, wasn’t there someone who came in to protect that person?
How often do we see ourselves as unworthy of the love of God? Unworthy to receive the blessings that He so lovingly wants to give us. We accept it, and then we back off. We’re not worthy. We don’t quite trust that gift that’s been given to us. We go looking in the middle of the night because we don’t see His presence, even though we are safe in His protective care. We might get hurt in the process. Even so, He doesn’t reject us. He still takes us as his Bride. He still takes us and walks with us.
Just as God intended man and woman to share the passion and intimacy of the sexual relationship, He means for that relationship to be a picture of His very intimate relationship with His Bride. His love for His creation. It is not something to be hidden or ashamed of, but something to be enjoyed and explored.
God is ultimately sharing with us our pain and our joys, sharing with us the details of why He loves us. What He sees in us is what His Father created. In turn, we want to share our passion for him with our friends. We want to shout it from the rooftops, to share our joy of the Savior’s love. To know that we are our Beloved’s, and He is ours.