I had an encounter in September of 2018 that sticks with me consistently. It’s one that I don’t have to be reminded of. I hadn’t been feeling so hot, emotionally speaking. Physically I was fine, but I was discouraged. I had been waiting so long, it seemed, for breakthrough and promises fulfilled. I imagine it’s what Abraham may have struggled with in theyears that he waited for the promised son.
As I sat there, I laid all the hurt, frustration, and tears where I always do…at Jesus’ feet. I cried, vented, prayed, and journaled all the feelings and all the prayers. Then I picked up my Passion Translation Bible to read Song of Songs. Ever since reading it in the Passion Translation, it has been my go-to when I feel unloved or undesirable. It is a staple of sorts in my romance with Jesus.
As I began to read, the beginning of 1:2 smacked me between the eyes: “Let Him smother me with kisses-His Spirit-kiss divine.”
Those two words grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. “Let Him...”
As I pondered these two words, I tried to understand why the Shulamite would say them in the first place. As I meditated, memories from my past of loving and not being loved in return began to cross my mind. Suddenly, I had a revelation that the worst feeling in the world wasn’t unrequited love. The worst feeling in the world was loving someone and not being allowed to express that love to them.
You see, when you truly love someone and they don’t reciprocate, it sort of binds your hands. Your feelings may not change, but you have to hide them so you don’t make the other person uncomfortable. You don’t want to force your love on them. Love always offers a choice. Forced love isn’t love at all; it’s rape.
Permission to express love
As I pondered this, I realized that I had never given God permission to express His love for me. Oh, He loved me. NOTHING could stop Him from loving me (Romans 8:39). He will not force us to accept the expression of that love. This truth left me somewhat flabbergasted. (Let me be clear: no one but you can stop the expression of God’s love toward you. His love never ends, but He will respect the boundaries that YOU set.)
Tired, frustrated, lonely, and desperate to FEEL His love, I prayed a simple prayer, “Jesus, I give you permission to express Your love toward me in any way You desire.”
Encountering Jesus’ love
Immediately I found myself in an encounter. I saw myself with Jesus in His house and I was getting spa treatments -the whole shabang! As I went through the beauty treatments, Jesus never left my side, but just watched with a smile. I was confused by the lavish treatment. Suddenly, I found myself dressed in a Disney-style ball gown (if you know me, you know I’m a tee and jeans kind of gal) and Jesus was giving me jewelry. It seemed so excessive to me! These were elegant and extravagant things that I’d never even desired and, honestly, felt I didn’t need.
“I don’t need these. I just want to be with You,” I said.
He replied, “You don’t understand. I’ve waited so long to love you like this.”
His response silenced any protests I had and I started weeping. The vision continued through a truly Cinderella-type scene, but His words….those words have followed me.
So often we stifle the expression of God’s love in our lives because of feelings of unworthiness, guilt, shame, or fear of rejection or vulnerability. Meanwhile, He’s waiting for any and every moment we allow Him to express that extravagant love He has for us. He is overjoyed when opportunities arise.
Today I want to challenge you to pray the same simple prayer that I did, “Jesus, I give You permission to express Your love for me in any way You desire.”
Then to receive. Why? You are worthy. (He announced that when He died for you.) He will not reject you-ever.
It’s safe to be vulnerable with Him. His love won’t change because He discovers something new about you.
He wipes away all guilt and shame.
Hear Him calling to you from Song of Songs 2:10, “Arise, my dearest. Hurry, my darling. Come away with me! I have come as you have asked to draw you to my heart and lead you out. For now is the time, my beautiful one.”