“Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning on her Beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5 LITV)
Some attribute these words to the bridegroom in the love story of the Song of Solomon. Others cite the question as being posed by the Shulamite’s friends. Both may be theologically correct. But I know what resonates in my spirit when I read these words…
I can believe she asked the question of herself, in awe of the transformation of her heart that took place during the wilderness journey that was agonizingly long.
Full of twists and turns and at times losing sight of the One whom her soul loves. Resting in complacency and acceptance of what He could do for her; then awakening to the loss of His nearness and companionship. Realizing that her heart could only be filled up in proportion to her being emptied. Then, finally determining to abandon the things that hindered her devotion to this one who sought her and longed to be sought in return.
All she had to offer was a broken alabaster box of humbled love. It was enough for Him. He began to draw her to Himself, step by step. In time, the wilderness was increasingly left behind and the day came that she emerged, leaning on her Beloved. And the question on all their lips was “Who is this?”
I don’t think there is a more blessed query that could be asked, do you? To have a heart so changed by relationship with the Lover of your soul that you aren’t recognized as the same one who started the desert journey so long ago. Is there a more authentic testimony to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit than to emerge different than you went in? Coming out, leaning on the arm of your Beloved and no longer on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
Such is God’s desired conclusion for any of us who have wandered in the wilderness. His heart never changes; to bring us through and out with a fresh revelation of who He is, remains His single focus. He knows that when we really see Him, we will desire Him even more. When we desire Him more, we cannot help but change and be changed, increasingly bearing more of His image. What a Beloved Savior and Bridegroom King with whom we journey.
As for me, this is an especially meaningful post. It is evening as I write this and in the morning I will complete my eight years of service with my employer, Partners International. December 1 is my last day, and it marks the edge of the desert that in many respects reflects a journey of many seasons over many years; a journey that began long before I ever came to work there, but where so much converged in those eight years.
Today, I know that I know that my Beloved has pursued me through valleys of pain, mountains of endurance, and peaks of joy. He has won my heart. And somewhere along the way, my heart claimed Him as my Beloved, more important than life itself. That is when everything changed.
As I clean out my desk drawers and load into my car a couple boxfuls of personal items that made my workstation my ‘home away from home,’ I know I am walking out the door a different ‘Shulamite’ than the one who walked in fresh on the job eight years ago. It is good and it is time.
The desert sands of the past many years have prepared me for a new season, a new journey that has been long awaited. I will be joining my husband in January in the ministry God has given us and together, with our Beloved, we will be like a gazelle and a stag climbing anew…
“…on the mountains of spices.”(SS 8:14)
Grace, Fully Free
P.S. I invite you to continue journeying with me through ongoing “Wellspring” posts. There is so much to share. The Lord is Himself an endless Source, a Wellspring whose depths we’ll never completely plumb. Let’s try anyway 🙂