I am struck this morning by the “why” behind intimacy with Jesus. Why has He given us access to know His heart in this way, why does He beckon us to know Him in His identity as the Bridegroom and to pursue understanding of His heart in this capacity? Why has He opened up this rich wellspring of His heart? Yes, it is because we were formed and fashioned for it. Yes, it is because He is the Highest Pleasure, and all of our longings are met and fulfilled in Him. Yes, it is because He joys in revealing Himself to weak hearts in the glory of this aspect of His identity. Yet what strikes my heart today is that He gives entrance to the deep places of His heart and reveals His desires and affections to weak ones such as you and I because love is as strong as death, and so that we might not love our lives even unto death (Song. 8:6; Rev. 12:11).
For those who take this love of His, so potent, to their hearts as their utmost treasure, it will be the sustaining solace amidst suffering for His namesake, even unto giving up their lives. There is no richer consolation, no higher contemplation than the burning and sacrificial love of the holy Husband to whom we, the church, are now betrothed and will marry (Eph. 5:27; Rev. 19:7). Such forceful fragrance grips the heart incessantly and pervasively and becomes the love-infused atmosphere in which sacrifice knows no effort and loss knows no cost (Song. 1:3,12-13; 8:7; Rom. 8:17, 18; Phil. 3:7,8). Thus, He has opened up the deep and tender affections of His heart to us, He has revealed the beauty of His identity as Bridegroom and drawn us by the cords of His jealous love. To drink from this well is to fill up the heart with reserves of sweet consolations for the times of testing and suffering that we will surely know if we are in Christ (Matt. 5:11-12, 24:9; Rom. 8:17-18; 2 Tim. 3:12).
As the Father was pleased to crush His Son, that the piercing fragrance of God’s love might be shed abroad and wafted high and low throughout all the regions of heart and history, so too, will the witness to His longsuffering love and His transcendent worth ascend from our lives in the time of testing (Col. 1:24).
He has given us something so holy in intimacy with Himself and this revelation of His heart as Bridegroom. It is to be grasped to the heart as rarest treasure and reverenced for its inestimable worth. Let us be careful with our treatment of it, cautious with our attitude toward it and generous in our pursuit of it. Let it be the seal upon our hearts, this love as strong as death and jealous as the grave. And may this holy and costly love of the Bridegroom – faithful and true – so consume our hearts that counting all else as rubbish, we will love not our lives even unto death (Song. 8:6; Phil. 3:8; Rev. 12:11).
(a note from 8/16/2010)