My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. Song of Solomon 2:10
These are words that every young girl dreams of hearing. Even as an adult, I love the stories of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast. Females long for our “prince” to come and rescue us, to be loved for who we are with all of our flaws, and to live that fairy tale ending of “happily ever after.”
So many times we look to other people to meet a need in our life that no human being can possibly meet. I know that our husbands are commanded to love us, but each of us has our own definition of the word “love.” Expectations run high when we say those blissful words, “I do.” We picture that man standing opposite us showering us with his love and devoting all of his energy to making us happy. After the honeymoon, reality begins to set in. There is a job that he has to go to, bills to be paid, and the responsibilities of fatherhood, if the Lord should choose to bless with children. No matter how much energy a husband puts into showing his devotion to his wife, if she is seeking fulfillment through that devotion, it will never be enough. Perhaps you are reading this and you are single and wishing you had a husband. Again, if that is the love you are seeking, it will not be enough for you.
One of God’s attributes is love. We know that He loves us and that all love comes from Him, so why do we leave Him out of this picture? Romans 5:8 tells us “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He knew every sin that we would commit and yet He loved us enough to die for us. Personally, I have spent most of my life looking for love the way I thought I had to have it. I did not know that there was Someone waiting to shower me with His love. I knew that the Bible said that God loved me. I sang the song, “Jesus loves me, this I know …” but it was only head knowledge. When a trial or hardship would come my way, my first thought was either, “God doesn’t love me” or “I’m not good enough for God to love me.”
One day, through a series of events, God showed me that I did not understand His love for me. I began to seek to understand that, and I was not disappointed. It didn’t happen immediately. It was a search. God promises us in Jeremiah 29:13 that “ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
There are many things involved in the search (Prov. 2:1–5). First is prayer (Prov. 2:3). Paul prays in Ephesians 3:18, 19 that the believers “may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” God is the one who must open our eyes to this truth, so we must ask Him to do it. We must ask others to pray this for us. We must pray it for others and ourselves.
The second part of the search is reading and studying God’s Word (Prov. 2:1, 4). It is His love letter to us, and yet many times it is the one thing on our “to-do” list that we get to “if we have time.” When we do get to it, we rush through without taking time to read and reread and think about what He is saying to us. We don’t take the time to look up words that we don’t understand and search out the meaning. Many times we are so busy serving God that we forget to spend time just being with Him and listening to what He has to say. If you are married, think back to the time when you were dating your husband. What would you have thought if he called you “when he got around to it” or didn’t show up for a date because he “simply ran out of time”? He probably wouldn’t be your husband today if that were the case. It grieves the heart of our loving God when we don’t make time for Him.
Third, as you begin this search, God will begin to show you sins in your life that are harming your relationship with Him. These must be confessed and forsaken. There cannot be any sins between you and your God if you want to know the assurance of His love. As I began my search, God immediately began to show me sins in my life and things that were eating up my time that were not important. God also began to show me things that I was clinging to for my own happiness. These things were important to me, but they were not helping my relationship with Him. They did not draw me closer to Him. I had to let them go. James 4:6–8 says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” Think back to the dating analogy. When you became serious with that special someone, old boyfriends, pictures, and mementos had to go. Maybe you had to resign from a job and move to another location so that you could join that man in marriage.
The fourth part of the search is memorizing God’s Word (Prov. 2:1b, 2). Let’s face it, there will be times when we honestly don’t have time to sit down and read and study the Word. Maybe the baby is sick and you are sleep-deprived from giving around-the-clock care. There are days when our human frailty kicks in, and we sleep through the alarm. You may plan a special afternoon with the Lord and have circumstances beyond your control keep you from it. When these kinds of things happen, our thoughts begin to run away from us. We are tired, frazzled, and frustrated. We feel everything but loved. If you are memorizing God’s Word, you will have something to meditate on throughout your day. This will help you to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Phil. 4:8). One very special time for me with the Lord was watching my daughter at her swimming lesson. I was working on memorizing Romans 8:32: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The Lord began to teach me the meaning of that verse as I sat there meditating on it. That was almost four years ago, and I still have not forgotten it.
As you can see, all of this takes lots of time. That was true of your dating relationship as well. The more serious you became with your mate, the more time you probably spent together. As you spend time with the Lord and He begins to teach you, you will find yourself looking for more time to spend with Him. He will become more and more precious to you. There will be memories of times with Him that you cannot forget.
The day God opened my eyes to His love for me is a day that I will never forget. I saw things about His love for me that can only come from Him, through His Word. It truly was “rapture divine.” It changed all of my earthly relationships. I was no longer looking to others for the love that I sought. I now knew that His love was the only love that could meet my deepest needs, and I saw Him meeting those needs. God sent His Son to rescue me. He loves me in spite of all my flaws. With Him I will live forever. Now I hear those words that I have longed to hear for so long, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
Kim Melton and her husband, Tim, are missionaries to Japan. They have three children.
(Originally published in FrontLine • January/February 2007. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)