CHAPTER Ten:

The Song of Songs

Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
    all the wealth of one’s house for love,
    it would be utterly scorned.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

At the end of the day, I always come home to him. No matter where the work takes us in our journey to know God and understand Him more, the Song of Songs reminds us of where our true devotion lies.  We can work until we’re bone tired, doing all the necessary deeds to accomplish what our assignments call for.  It is passionate, full of grace and excitement, and typically beautiful.  When we live from a place of our true identity, it is wonderful.  There is much to uncover and much to discover, and a life of service is noble.

And then there is love.

The place where instead of using our head, we rest it. It’s the place where our heart matures into fullness not by work but by commitment and legitimacy in union.

The Bible is rarely considered a scandalous text until you get to the Song and Songs and feel yourself blush a bit.  It is the most romantic book of all time, and though I may not be a Bible scholar, I am a wife.  I have studied this book from front to back, verse by verse and line by line. It’s been an ironic journey but one of utmost importance because intimacy is our designed connection to our spouse.

I love the practical work that is given in seminars and books across the country on how to improve marriages. There is much to learn about this unique mystery that God designed for our enjoyment, for our Christlikeness, and also for the furthering of the population.  Getting the basics down of serving a spouse is important.  We learn through levels, and we don’t go from 1stgrade to 9thgrade in a year; instead, we take the proper steps for each grace over the course of time.  It’s the leading points into this romantic connection that the Song of Songs offers us a description of.  The relationship is a process, and what starts perhaps as infatuation then goes through all the steps to actually mature as love instead of staying in an immature phase.

There comes a place in our marriages and in our callings that we yearn for the fullness more than just the practical. It’s that space where the work takes second place because what matters most is the heart.  Our lives can be full of ministry and service, full of purpose and assignments but deeper into the heart of the matter is love.  We are created with the desire to love and to be loved, not just as the beloved of God but as His expression of romance on the Earth.  

Church is a wonderful place for service and for encouragement. It’s a meeting place where we can bring our collective worship, skills, and offerings together watching God breathe on us through a corporate movement. The Proverbs 31 woman loves church, loves community, and loves skills and deeds.  She is noble.

In contrast, the Shulammite woman is looking for her lover. She has prepared herself in the depth of beauty, is adorned with design, and is waiting for the fulfillment of all desires.  Romance has more than trumped work here. Works seem pale in comparison to the arousal of love.

The Song of Songs is poetry and surrender; it’s the laying down of all lesser work in order to be available for the very life of creation. To work with our hands is one road, to abandon our full selves into love is another.  The work is good, and the love is best.  Our identities were created to serve one another in marriage. Making this a priority over all lesser loves is what brings about legitimacy.

We don’t look for our spouse in order to fulfill a calling but instead in order to create a life.  I could easily spend my days filling up on scheduling and schoolwork for my kids, washing dishes and cleaning laundry, but when my husband arrives home, none of this matters in the moment.

We have to look higher.

We’re a generation who has absorbed the need to perform with purpose. It’s what has been handed to us. It is a wonderful call; it’s turning a tide and ending a wandering journey.  There is a meshing and redemption that is currently occurring where purity is meeting authority, and it is necessary because of the state in which the world has landed.  The leadership is necessary, yes.  But even more so is the romance.  

Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy[
a] unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.[b]
Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
    all the wealth of one’s house for love,
    it[c] would be utterly scorned.
Song of Songs 8:6-7

“Love is as strong as death.”  That line could be read a few times. We die in love, and that’s where the rubber meets the road in this divine merging of man and woman.

When we come up higher to see things from a broader scope but in a more narrow calling, we find a whole new meaning to life and rest.  We spend our public lives in community, gathering work and skills to contribute to the greater good of society. But if we’ll allow it, we will spend our hearts and our commitment in the upper room of intimacy, gazing into the eyes of our beloved and making ourselves available for all fulfillment.

This is where our adoration becomes full.  This is where our lives take the most self-control and also surrender, the most beauty and also the most sacred space.  It is a bountiful room that is designed for commitment and connection and is worth protecting.  The Bible gave us just eight short chapters to get a glimpse of what this relationship resembled.  We get a lifetime with a partner to understand the mystery of what it represents. This is traveling around the world within one another.

In only 14 years, I don’t have all the answers to this beauty of sanctification and Christlikeness in marriage.  But I am committed to becoming a lifelong learner, a wife who is engaged in the process of knowing all the parts and personalities in my husband from the wounds he carries, to the strengths he emulates, discovering what needs uncovered and what needs to be grown.  I’m not seeking to control him or to navigate for him, though my fallen nature can work its way in at times, but my goal is to be the guardian of his heart as it matches the work of the beauty of mine.  He is the initiator, and I receive from his life. He is watching me and what I need, and I am watching him and what he deserves, with gratitude.

The Song of Songs offers us a glimpse into this world of love, a place where sacred space is offered for lovers, the giving of ourselves completely to one another in service. One flesh fully giving of his broken body made whole in Christ, the other flesh receiving the power of a laid down life and exemplifying it as the fulfillment of God’s restoration and redemption.  Forgiveness has its way in fullness between two people, in a committed and private space, full of God and full of desire.  This is a gift.

Society, on the other, has sadly missed the point. Sex has been used to sell things, from cars to movies, calendars to actual human beings. As a country, what have we allowed in our lives that would take a sacred gift and turn it into public advertisements? It will be difficult to go into the world to save exploited children when our own lives are still riddled with particles of the dust of deception, even those particles that are very, very small. It’s why the Song of Songs is so important. We can support more righteousness if we are genuinely free.

Intimacy is the goal and the reward. Service brings others into the space where they can learn about true intimacy.  There are levels and there are boundaries, and all of them lead up to this place of designed connection and communion, God’s gift to humans to start over again, to become like the Son He gave us, and to let that apple stay on the tree.

Ask God to show you His love for your marriage through His divine, romantic nature.  Let’s allow ourselves the freedom to experience Him not just with our head, but with our hearts.  And in that divine exchange, let’s share this gift with our spouse.

Twirling Tips for Chapter 10:

What are three places on your Date Night Bucket List?

What is one way you can encourage your husband this week?

Where can you buy a nice dress for a little bit of twirling?

A Prayer:

God, thank you for the gift of love.  Thank you for redeeming intimacy through your Son’s sacrifice and rising. Help us to understand this sacred gift and to make it a priority in our lives over all lesser loves.  Amen.

Copyright Sarah Elizabeth Humphrey 2018. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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