Seven years ago my life was changed by the simply profound message that God delights in me. That paradox that defies our religious nature that says if you mess up you aren’t loved. However, the verse “Dark am I, yet lovely…“ oh, even in my pride you have called me lovely?! Even at twelve years old I was very aware of my sin. I may not have been aware of the gravity of life occupations and of late-night assignments in New Zealand and cooking dinners, but I sure knew that one. Sin hurt. Therefore the knowledge of the Song of Songs paradigm? That wrecked my heart for good.
We were living in Kansas City, Missouri for four months alongside the International House of Prayer. They are generally known now for their teachings (Mike Bickle’s especially) on our Bridal identity and how Jesus loves us like a groom. Delighting in us as a bride even in our immature love. Oh, that my weak love is still genuine! Then, it was all pretty new to me. Me, the one relatively comfortable in my relationship with God, only to discover kids who actually loved God more than me. How shocking! How hard! How good.
For that motivated to go deeper. To look and find who this God was, the one that said to me, “Like a lily among the thorns is my darling among other maidens.” (Song of Songs 2:2). Now, I’ve heard the arguments about this book simply being a song that shows the beauty of married love. It is that. But my only response to it being just that is this: “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,so will your God rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5). If God made married love, certainly He knows what He is talking about with that one.
Oh I don’t want to get into theological arguments. My peacemaker self cannot last very long. God, forgive me. I’m probably “preaching to the choir” anyway. Hello, choir. My name’s Kayla. But back to my story. I’ve heard all this so much over the past seven years, but when it actually comes to me cracking open the whole book itself? To me it was a compilation of a whole bunch of unconnected verses which often included body parts and too many innuendos for my innocent self! Why didn’t I actually find out what was happening in it earlier?! There is a wealth of teaching available on IHOP’s site…
Enter my dad. We were ranting on Skype about “the grand narrative” of life, how it is a love story, and how every culture has its Cinderella story, and how Song of Songs is indeed one of those. (Dare I say, the genuine one. For it points to a love that satisfies, not fairy tale ideals). He explained how it is the King, with the Shullamite- in our terms, a peasant girl. Isn’t that what we all long for? To be made beautiful? To know God’s heart? Which got me on to thinking how there must be a secret story within the song, there must be so much more, and I’d only scratched the surface while dancing around thinking I had the revelation already. Well, we can have the basic revelation of the bridegroom God’s love, His delight-in-me-and-I-in-you kind of love, but this story goes so much deeper. It’s the story of us, not a tragedy, but of a love divine that it goes deeper, fulfilling the longings of our human hearts.
“Oh Great Author, I love the way you write a story…” Laura Hackett sang out the melody in the Prayer Room archives. Seven years ago I was in that same room for the first time, finding Jesus in the quiet place. Oh, my dear one. “He tricked me! I didn’t know I would fall in love and would lose my options!” Mike Bickle honestly joked in one of his sermons on Song of Songs, which I finally sat down to listen to this morning. (I love days where we only have one lecture, or just fasting days). It’s true, for when we fall in love with Jesus, nothing else will fulfill us anymore. What fascinated me is that I was in Kansas City the same time that sermon was taught (potentially in the same building, but with the kids). Seven years ago, across the globe. Little did I know that Jesus would script such a beautiful story for me, built on a love that fulfills my broken heart. I am forever grateful.