The invitation was too compelling to turn down. This, despite the fact that I was relaxed in a comfortable chair with an afghan tucked cozily around me. A book and my favorite beverage, a steaming cup of coffee, sat waiting on the table beside me.
There it was again…
I closed my eyes and sighed. I was tuckered out and what I really wanted to do most was to stay right where I was. But I didn’t. I opened my eyes, heaved myself out of the chair and grasped the chubby little hand of my two-year-old-grandson to go with him wherever he led.
Because how could I do otherwise? His sweet little voice saying, “Gammy, come, come,” was irresistible. And my grandson’s trusting brown eyes looked up into mine with a confidence that, of course, I would accept his invitation. Why? Because he knows I love him and that I delight in being with him.
He believed that he had something worth offering… his companionship.
I’m glad I went with him, that time, as well as all of the ones that followed. Because this scenario presented itself many times during my month-and-a-half visit with my daughter’s family, I learned that being invited into my grandson’s world was always worth the minimal effort it took me to accept it.
It didn’t matter if we hiked upstairs to ooh and ahh over the new bunkbed Daddy had made, or trundled to the kitchen to get a drink, or exclaim over his latest Lego creation; it was always worth it to see and feel his pleasure in being with me.
This scenario reminds me of one described in chapter five of the Song of Solomon. In it the writer describes an interaction between a married couple. The man has come to his wife’s bedroom door during the night only to find it locked.
After calling out to her to let him in she replies…
“But I’m in my nightgown—do you expect me to get dressed? I’m bathed and in bed—do you want me to get dirty?” (Song of Solomon 5:3 MSG)
I get it. She’s snuggled in bed, and oh, so comfortable. Perhaps she’d had a hard day. Maybe she just wanted to get in a few more minutes of precious sleep before the baby woke up to nurse. Or maybe getting up was just too much inconvenience to make it worth while.
Whatever her reasons were, there were enough of them to keep her immobile despite his continued entreaties. But eventually, the wife’s reluctance is overcome when she comes to her senses. What was she still doing in bed? What had she been thinking?
“But my lover wouldn’t take no for an answer, and the longer he knocked, the more excited I became.” (v. 4)
So she jumps out of bed, never mind her clean feet, and rushes to the door to open it.
“I got up to open the door to my lover, sweetly ready to receive him,
Desiring and expectant as I turned the door handle.” (v.5)
But now it’s too late. Her Beloved is no longer there; he is gone.
“But when I opened the door he was gone. My loved one had tired of waiting and left.” (v. 6)
Bible commentaries say that this vignette is a portrayal of Christ and His bride, the church. It’s a heartbreaking example of what can happen when we become careless of our relationship with Jesus. Even taking our salvation for granted.
And it makes me wonder… how often have I done the same thing?
Too often to count, I’m afraid. Sometimes my reason has been the same as the woman in Song of Solomon; my comfort at any given time has rated higher than His call to “let me in.”
My reluctance to answer God’s invitation immediately and with great joy is often due to not having a desire to please God more than myself. But why is that?
Shouldn’t someone who claims to love Jesus long to be with Him? And wouldn’t that longing cause that someone to respond without hesitation to their Savior’s call to “come?”
Well, the short answer is… yes.
I don’t realize how much Jesus loves me and in turn, my lack of desire to spend focused time with Him, reflects that. Often I am like the bride who was too lazy to get out of bed to let her husband join her.
But here’s where the rest of the story gets interesting. The bride became devastated when she discovered that her groom was gone.
“And I died inside—oh, I felt so bad! (v.6)
The English Standard Version says “my soul failed me.” (v.6)
Imagine being so overcome by the absence of Jesus that nothing. Else. Matters.
The good news is that the story doesn’t end there; the bride leaves her home and after a desperate search is reunited with her husband. I hope their “happily ever after” included no more complacency on the part of the bride.
And I’m praying that my heart will increasingly come alive to the amazing truth later proclaimed by the bride:
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3 ESV)
Dear Jesus, please increase my heart’s capacity to know that I am loved by you and in turn, be enabled to respond with greater love… for you. Amen.