The Bride of Christ is being wooed by her Beloved. If we listen closely we will hear His call of love. It sounds like this: My Beloved speaks and says to me, rise up my love, my fair one, and come away (Song of Solomon 2:10). What an incredible invitation! Our Heavenly Bridegroom is calling His precious Bride; summoning her to arise and come close to Him. His heart beats with an indescribable longing for the one He purchased with His Own Blood; beating for her to come away with Him to the secret place. He is calling her to draw away from everyone and everything that would hinder, distract, or hold her back from becoming lovers with her God.
Although this call to come away with Him is for the corporate Bride of Christ, it is also a personal call to each of us. We must understand that this call is not for a select few who seem to have crossed some imaginary line entitling them to a special relationship with God. Rather, God is calling each one of us to come unto Him and experience greater depths of intimacy than we have ever known. There is always more in God than our present experience. Whether we are aware of it or not, we have a history of intimacy (or lack of it) with God. And so it behooves each of us to embrace the call to ascend in our relationship with God.
Face to Face
In Song of Solomon 2:14, the Beloved unveils His heart and reveals His desire for a face to face relationship with His Bride. Let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. I came to understand this type of relationship very clearly through an encounter I had with my granddaughter, Noelle when she was three years old. I was watching Noelle while her mother was at work. We were upstairs in the playroom. She was playing with some toys, and I was lying on our sofa reading a book. Since this sofa was used as a room divider, Noelle could not see my face. She kept calling to me to come to the area where she was playing. Although I usually play with her, this day I had some reading I needed to do. I kept saying to her, Grandma is right here on the sofa reading. After several failed attempts to get me to come over where she was, she made her move. She brought her toys around the other side of the sofa where she would be with me. She then looked up at me and said, Grandma. I want to see your eyes. In reality, she was expressing to me that she was not satisfied with me merely being in the room with her. She wanted us to be face to face. In other words, she wanted to know that I was watching her, and giving her my undivided attention. Similarly, our Beloved wants a face to face relationship with us. There is only one way to achieve this - time in His presence.
OUR RESPONSE TO HIS CALL
Responding to our Beloveds call is a paramount issue in our pursuit of intimacy with Him. The principle of response is crucial for spiritual progression, especially on our journey toward becoming lovers of God. In Song of Solomon, Chapter 5, we find the Shulamite receiving another call from her Beloved; a call which required an immediate response. As you will see, she didnt respond properly:" I was asleep, but my heart was awake. A voice! My beloved was knocking Open to me, my sister, my darling, My dove, my perfect one! For my head is drenched with the dew, My locks with the damp of the night. I have taken off my dress, How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet, How can I dirty them again? My Beloved extended his hand through the opening And my feelings were aroused for him. I arose to open to my beloved; And my hands dripped with myrrh, And my fingers with liquid myrrh, On the handles of the bolt. But my beloved had turned away and had gone!" (Song of Solomon 5:2-6a NAS).
Did you perceive the intense longing that the bridegroom had to be with his lover? He calls with desire to his darling, but he finds that she is in bed, tired from her work in the vineyards. She heard his knock, and his voice calling for her to open her door. She had a choice to make. Unfortunately, she responded with an excuse because her Beloveds call came at an inconvenient time. She had already washed her feet, undressed, and gone to bed. Possibly, when he knocked, she was daydreaming about all the incredible times that she and her beloved had enjoyed together. Perhaps she was content with past encounters and didnt want to be disturbed! Although her excuse was reasonable, her hesitation to open to her beloved grieved his heart, and therefore. He departed. How sad, for in not responding to his call, she missed what surely would have been a time of sweet fellowship in his presence. After he left, her feelings were aroused for him, and her heart began to move with love, causing her to set aside every excuse. She rose up and opened the door, but it was too late. To her dismay, he was gone! She discovered his call required of her an instantaneous response.
How many times do you think we have missed precious moments with the Lover of our souls because we chose not to be disturbed; we didnt want to inconvenience our flesh? I venture to say that all of us, at one time or another, has missed our moment of visitation because of not responding rightly. Perhaps it was in the middle of a cold night when our Beloved called, and we didnt want to crawl out from under our warm covers, or maybe we were ready to walk out the door to go shopping for a new outfit when we sensed our Lord wooing us to spend time with Him.
Our Beloved frequently and persistently calls us to draw away from the cares and responsibilities of this life to be with Him. His call comes as we go about our daily life with all its activities, demands and responsibilities. Sometimes His call is convenient for our schedules, and many times untimely. Because our days are filled with things to do and places to go, we must continually guard against getting caught up with the here and now, forgetting there is an ever after.
These importune times that our Heavenly Bridegroom calls us to come away to be with Him and our response reveals to Him our true affections. Love always requires a heart response! As we sense the slightest nudge to come away and be with Him, it behooves us to immediately, without hesitation, set aside all else and respond to His call. May we never respond with the words, Not now Lord. I am too busy. You know, a trip to the mall can wait. Lunch can wait. We can choose to sleep in another day. However, He will not wait. Yes, He will call again at another time, but who knows what we might have experienced had we responded to His beckoning invitation.
I have found that the longer I belong to the Lord, and the more that I come to know Him, the more captivated my heart becomes. This in turn causes me to give myself more wholly to Him, and thus I am compelled to follow Him no matter the cost. In the book, Perfect Love, Ruth Myers shares the following poem:
I heard His call
That was all.
My goal drew dim,
My soul went after Him.
I rose and followed.
That was all.
Who would not follow
If they heard Him call?
Although the price we pay and the costly choices we make to follow our Beloved are not seen or known by others, our God knows every movement of our heart toward Him, and our choices are very precious to Him. Forever, He will regard the sacrifices that we make to be with Him. We may forget about the times we got out of bed when we wanted to sleep in, but He will never forget! He will always remember the pleasures of this life that we set aside in order to be with Him. Know also, He is very aware of the times that we felt like He didnt show up. The truth is, He was there all the time, observing our love and tenacity in our journey to come closer to Him. Those times we counted as unproductive, He counted as precious! We were chasing after Him with a longing heart, and that is what mattered to Him.
When we step into eternity, the thing that will be of utmost importance is not how successful we were in this life or what we amassed. What will count in eternity is the relationship we had with God in this earth life. Was He the desire of our heart, the object of our affections? Did we love Him above all else? Was our life so intricately bound with His that we were transformed into His likeness? Did we chase after Him relentlessly? Be assured of this truth: The true measure of a womans heart is bound up in what she is chasing after. May it always be Him!