As a tie-in to the post “What if there was a girl?“, there was. She and I are, however, only friends. But I would be lying if I said that I didn’t wish there was more. I waited to ask her out officially because I wasn’t sure I was physically attracted. I became sure–it was only the second time that has ever happened for me with a member of the ‘fairer sex.’ By then, she’d decided against dating me. I respect her decision, though I do wish she’d change her mind. I don’t like any other girls, so it’s not like there’s anyone to “move on” to; so friends it is, for the moment.
Does Christ really woo his Church? Being in the Pentecostal camp (AofG) in college, there was a great amount of emphasis placed upon the wooing of Christ’s Bride as the lover does in Song of Solomon. But does He really do that? Or does He regenerate and then discipline, as Hebrews would seem to indicate? Or, does He do both? Does a regenerated human need to be wooed? Most of the time, I feel like I need discipline more than wooing, if indeed I ever need to be wooed. Maybe that’s my conservative upbringing. Maybe not. I honestly don’t know how to go about finding out, either.
In spite of doubting that Christ woos a Bride that He’s already purchased, I don’t feel as if He’s ignored me. To the contrary: He’s been blessing me quite a lot.
Some people are unbelievably attractive in every possible way. They’re so rare. They listen, they laugh, they love, they read, they encourage, they hug. And it’s nice when I can be friends with them and move past crushes with those people, if they’re guys. My life is richer because of the people in my life who laugh and cry with me, who support me in all manner of ways.
A good friend of mine and I were once lamenting that life, for us, might be one endless crush after another. I’m not sure that’s the way his life has turned out, but it’s the way mine seems to be going sometimes. I’ve read (and re-read) Paul’s words about marrying to avoid burning with lust. I understand Paul’s point and yet, I’m not sure I’ve really reached that place where his words really ring as if that’s where I should be.
So, unmarried I stay. And will, for the foreseeable future. But I’m not alone. God sees to that and has given me wonderful friends and friendships. I’ve got friends who know me inside and out and who love me anyway. I’m having my affections for Christ and His Church stirred in seminary. I’m using my arranging and composing gifts at my church. I’m also using my leadership and teaching gifts. I’ve not been cast out by my church family; they’ve embraced me quite a bit. Even more so with my seminary family.
One last musing: I tend to want to be everyone’s friend and tend to be shocked when I can’t be. It even manifests itself in very strange ways. I tend to secure approval by being “the guy” who will say anything–who has the guts (can I say “the balls” on this blog?) to say what is on his mind. It works. A lot. And yet, for whatever reason, sometimes I can’t be as close to some people as I would like. I still want to love them any way I can, despite my disappointment in them. So when does that become unhealthy? When does their approval (or time, or attention) become an idol? As a bona fide extrovert, I don’t have the slightest idea.
So I suppose my trust must continue, in all of these areas in life, to be Christ and Him crucified for my sins. Just as He’s changed my disposition toward those who hurt me to one where I seek their good, He will be faithful to show me my own idolatry. He’s given me good gifts over and above reconciliation with Himself: He’s given me Caruso to listen to, iced tea to drink, a laptop to use, a book about the General Epistles to read for class, a Bible in my language, a wireless mouse, friends who call me up to go to concerts at the last minute, a cell phone that works, a love for old movies. And reconciliation to Him is more than I could’ve hoped for. How much more are the every day graces simply, in one sense, icing on the cake? But also, in another sense, how could such good gifts only be icing? I don’t think they are. They’re far more nourishing to the soul when served with the delicious dish of reconciliation to the Father.
Christian, what do you believe? The Church has many such people as myself who come every week to hear of the Christ who died for His Church. Pastor: comfort me with the Gospel. Turn my attention back to the One who bought me at the price of His own blood and who will return to judge the living and the dead. Turn my attention to the One whose blood covers my sin of thought, word, and deed.
Come, Lord Jesus–come quickly for your Bride. She waits as a woman who feels as if her lover has left her at the altar, sometimes. She acts as if He’ll never get here. But, “though there be those that hate her and false sons in her pale, against a foe or traitor she ever shall prevail.” Thank you for that promise, given in Scripture, that the Church can sing to remind herself.
Don Hartness said:
In short? Both.
You listed quite a few things that you have and are blessed with. It’s also good to see that you recognize them, from greatest to smallest. As for me, you could have stopped with fellowship. For me, that would be more than enough.
Sometimes, I haven’t had that fellowship because I was being disciplined. Other times, it was for other reasons, leaving me jaded and hinting that the Lord is unfaithful. Sometimes it was both, other times I mistook one for the other. Regardless of the situation, whether it was through my doing or not, the call of His voice whispers on the wind to me, as I discover the tiniest details of my life taken care of before I even had the presence of mind to ask.
Does He woo? Oh yes, and then some; I’m experiencing the love affair He has with my soul as I write this, a newly opened door where I will no longer have to wander in the wilderness amidst the wolves. His call takes us through the church, through the city, outside the city walls, past the mark of His footsteps, until only a whisper is left. On the other side is an abundance of love that can only be experienced, never described.