When you watch someone walk through the place of the unthinkable, your heart aches for their pain. It is only natural in identifying with their pain, to consider yourself in their situation. How would I walk if those were my shoes?
I am walking beside a dear friend who just received the doctor’s report that had the “c” word. As I stand beside her I listen to years and years of the Word of God that was written on her heart coming forth as she holds her hands up in this battle. I see her shoes of steadfast faith. I wonder how steady would I be in her shoes?
I pray for another friend whose husband is contemplating the “d” word after 25 years of marriage. I listen as she ping-pongs trying to see the Truth of God’s love while her heart is battling fear. I see her shoes of grace and love that sometimes I am not sure that she does. I wonder if I would have the patience to stand in her shoes and wait while he makes up his mind?
Then some other friends are walking in the incredible aftermath of losing their firstborn son. I see grace in action. Sometimes I don’t even see their shoes just the shoes of Jesus as the King carries them to the next minute. While my mind and heart cannot even begin to fathom the depths of their despair, I can’t help but remember past seasons when I know it was only by the empowering grace of His arms carrying my heart that I made another step.
The message of the Song of Solomon is the story of the maiden as she grows in her love for the King. The inspired message is the parallel of our journey of growing in Holy Passion for the King of Kings. The first four chapters are self-focused on what she gets out of the relationship. The last four chapters are what she gives to the relationship. The turning point of the story is when she totally gives her heart to the King. She finally sees herself as His locked garden (she is not a public garden but a private prized garden).
She cries in Song 4:16, “Awake, O north wind, And come O south! Blow upon my garden, That its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to His garden And eat its pleasant fruits.” (I am no longer my own garden, I am Yours.)
And the Beloved King responds, “I have come to My garden,…” Song 5:1
You think at this moment that their love story is now done. He has finally won her heart. But the unthinkable happens. It is what Bible scholars through the ages have called the “dark night of the soul” as night falls. He comes to her with the dew dripping off his beard (this is His night of Gethsemane). When she turns the latch of myrrh (death) he is not there. So she goes looking for Him and the watchman (leaders) find her and tear her veil (covering) and beat her up. In that place of being misunderstood and loneliness, she has only one thought, “Have you seen my Beloved? I am lovesick for Him.” She asked for help from the daughters of Jerusalem who tried to understand but couldn’t fathom what was going on in the deep places of her soul. They said, “How could you be so lovesick for Him? He deserted you. He didn’t come to you.” She begins to describe the One she loved in all His majesty. In the face of the accusers and her own pain, she worshipped Him not for what He had done but for WHO HE WAS!! I look at her shoes. She had just given her heart totally to Him. Surely that should mean bliss and security and comfort? But those vows were tested. Would she be faithful even in that awful place when she couldn’t see Him, couldn’t feel Him, and didn’t understand His leadership? Her heart’s response at that moment was the reaction He was looking for. He knew that no matter what happened to her, to them, that she would love Him. And His heart was “ravished” for her. He couldn’t even look at her for her beauty overwhelmed Him. I have had my seasons of “dark nights of the soul” when my shoes of faith were stuck in the mud. I know He prayed for me that “my faith would not fail me.” He sent sweet friends who came along with garden hoses to clean my shoes.
The sun did come out again.
Our love was made stronger and thankfully,
I got some new shoes.