A Season For Romance (Guest Post: Heather Senter)
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Songs 2:10-13 NIV
Can you picture yourself as the adored, darling bride of Christ in this passage? You are! He is beckoning us with affectionate romance and lovingkindness to leave the season we’ve been stuck in and enter into a wonderful new season of intimacy with Him.
I fell in love with my husband in the fall of 1993 at Columbia Bible College. Pretending to check my mailbox, I was actually trying to watch Richard’s muscular arms playing pool in the student center. Soon we shared our hearts on walks through the woods, treading on squishy yellow leaves that seemed like a magical carpet. There were bonfires and tears, dreaming together, hot chocolate, and long talks on the phone back in our dorms. We knew that God had brought us together and it was a delightfully romantic time.
Every autumn I sense a giddy excitement when the temperatures drop and we pick pumpkins and apples, smelling bonfires amongst the changing leaves. Sometimes I don’t even remember why I’m so excited, 27 years later, because it’s so much a part of me.
And that’s the wonder of romance. It is a lens through which we look at the world, conveyed to us through our five senses and our emotions. The awareness of loving and being deeply loved makes everything look more beautiful and hopeful. Like my association with fall and falling in love with Richard, Solomon paints a picture of being in love in the springtime.
In Song of Solomon chapter 2, the Beloved tells his bride that the winter has past and the springtime has finally come. There is a stirring for love in the land—the new life springing up, the doves are cooing, and the Beloved calls to his bride to “come away” with him.
Winter is often symbolic of grieving, loneliness, and barrenness.
In times of great loss or betrayal, our temptation can be to cocoon in self-protection and pull away from others. I have found myself here, feeling my heart becoming hardened--even cynical of cheery, overly optimistic people. Perhaps you are there today.
I remember Mom sharing about her winter.
Her hopelessness, dark and tormenting thoughts, and despairing of life itself compelled her to push away everyone who loved her. She pushed Jesus away and refused to even have a Gideon Bible in her hospital room as she recovered from an attempted suicide.
But there is a Comforter who is trustworthy and true. He comes to each one as if we were the only one and offers His wide-open arms to us. He gently speaks of newness and hope. He is the Great Romancer, the fierce rescuing Warrior on His white horse who is calling each one away from the prison of discouragement and hopelessness.
And He captured my mother's heart. I wish I had time to tell the story of how He romanced her, the little ways that He got into her closed doors, and wooed her with truth and unconditional love, but HE DID and she's in love with Him now.
When the Lover of our Souls calls us into the springtime of romance with Him, it always follows a winter. Perhaps a spiritual winter has cloaked you in frost and ice, tempting you to doubt God's goodness to you. Emotional winters sneak up on us during grief, isolation, and loss. How I long to go to every shivering, brokenhearted soul and wrap them in the warmth of Jesus' deep love! Finally, there is even the "mild winter" of self-absorption where a focus on superficial things leaves us content with a lesser life than the wild and passionate love that God has for us. It's such a dangerous allusion because everything can look perfect but the fire of passion has left. It reminds me of married couples who live in separate bedrooms, treating each other as housemates instead of best friends.
The Bible is a love story, culminating in a magnificent wedding between Christ and the church. Jesus taught using a story of a bridegroom to reveal Truth about His coming return for His bride.
I implore you to pause, ask God to open your eyes afresh and read this parable that Jesus told in Matthew 25:1-13.
At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.”
“‘No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.” But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. -Matthew 25:1-13 NIV
This sobering parable warns us to be prepared for that day. The romance we have with Jesus is not just wonderful here on earth, it is the very preparation for The Wedding Feast in heaven someday. You see, the foolish virgins did not have enough oil for their lamps and were cast away from the Lord. Oil (in this parable) cannot be obtained from anyone else--it comes at a price and each one of us must get it for ourselves. This oil comes from intimate time with the Lover of our souls--Jesus! The foolish virgins were there, but He didn't know them. We get to know Him by abandoning the cerebral Biblical knowledge approach and embracing a full surrender of our mind, will, and emotions to love and be loved by Jesus, the One who knows us best. We get oil for our lamps through the romance of intimacy with Him.
Some of you may be thinking, "peace out--that's too touchy-feely for me!" I hear you.
But there are some, like Mary Magdalene, who are longing to recklessly abandon themselves to Jesus. The Holy Spirit is beckoning millions of people out of their personal seasons of winter and into the bliss of romance! I am one of these head-over-heals Jesus-lovers who finds my happiest place is with Him. I come alive in my secret place worshiping Him, reading His love letter to me (with the Author beside me!), thanking Him for everything throughout my workday, or asking Him what He thinks about something I'm seeing on the news. His word and His spirit are sweet to my soul and I am more in love than I've ever been with anyone--I am my Beloved's and He is MINE!
If you feel a stirring in your innermost being when you hear about Jesus wanting to romance you, don't hold back! Run to Him as the bride did in Song of Soloman, and tell Him you want EVERYTHING He has for you! Tell Him that you feel a little weird talking to the Holy God of the Universe as if He was a friend or husband, but Jesus told us to know Him like that! Honestly pour out your deepest thoughts and fears to Him on a walk through the woods or on the pages of a journal and hold nothing back. Ask Him to personally teach you His word through the Holy Spirit and then open up your Bible with a fresh hunger to find Him on every page.
Embrace a new season! It's the season of romance and Jesus is waiting for you. You will be part of the revival of the church as she becomes the beautiful bride of Christ. He is saying to you today, "Arise, my beautiful one, and come away with me!"
For more encouragement to fall in love with Jesus, I highly recommend reading The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis & John Eldredge. I also love this worship song, "Dance with Me" by Jesus Culture
Sadly, this is the last post in our It's Seasonal Series. I hope that you guys have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have.
Just joining in? You can catch the series intro HERE.
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Heather Senter has been married to a godly guy with big biceps for 26 years. They have four children and one new grandbaby (that they both want to hold all the time!). Heather's greatest passion in life is being intimately in love with Jesus and influencing others to do the same.