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Lover (Bridegroom)

“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one . . .” (John 17:22-23a)

The problem when looking at God as a lover is that our culture has so perverted the term “lover” and made it sexual in nature. The term describes a relationship that implies some kind of physical intimacy. And it’s not that I don’t think we’re to be passionately intimate with God, but it is first a spiritual intimacy, and has nothing to do with the lusts of the flesh.

When God calls us His bride, it’s a clear distinction from His relationship to us as a father, friend, creator, or healer. It’s referring to a deeper level of intimacy, where two become one, where nothing is hidden, and where all things are in common. In the intimacy of marriage, deep secrets are shared from both husband and wife, all property and possessions are shared equally, responsibility is shared, and precious and intimate expressions of love are shared together as “one flesh.”

After woman was created, Adam responded by saying, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of Man.” It’s for this reason that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23-24)

We yearn for intimacy with the opposite gender, because we were once one with each other (with woman being formed from the rib that was in Adam). We were also once part of God. In his book, The Divine Romance, Gene Edwards portrays our creation from God in much the same way that woman came from man. In essence, he shows God as removing His own “rib” to make mankind. And in the removal of the rib (in man, and I suggest in God as well) was formed an emptiness and a longing for completion that we can only find when we’re reunited with each other.

Through this longing, God pursues us. He is wooing us to Himself. His creation—every tree, every flower, every waterfall, every sunset—speaks to us of His love. It’s drawing us to Him. Every gift He gives and every word He speaks is to draw us to Him.

He’s our knight in shining armor, riding in to deliver us from the hands of the enemy—from the hands of Pharaoh, King Saul, the Babylonians, the grasp of pornography or alcohol abuse, from anger and bitterness, and from any person, thing, or spiritual being that would seek to harm or separate Him from His beloved.

He showers us with little blessings every day. He serves us, opens doors for us, pays for dinner. Even the other day, I was traveling between speaking engagements, and I stopped for lunch, asking God, “can I afford to eat out today?” Finances were tight, and all the travel and eating out weren’t helping much with that. I stepped out of my car, and right in front of me, blowing across an empty Wendy’s parking lot, was a twenty-dollar bill. It’s the first time I ever let my date pay for dinner!

God is head over heels in love with us. You know the kind of love I’m talking about. It’s the kind that annoys you to watch between others, but when it hits you, it brings you to your knees. You can’t think or talk about anything else. Your whole world revolves around your beloved. You spend every waking moment with that person, talking to that person or thinking about that person. You become protective of that person. You make sacrifices to be with that person.

God is longing for us to be one with Him again. In what is perhaps the most famous of all prayers, this is exactly what Jesus prayed for before He went to the cross. This is why He went to the cross. “. . . that they may be one just as We are one . . . .” (John 17:22)

And as far as lovers go, God is the perfect lover. After all, God is love (1 John 4:8). And we know from 1 Corinthians 13, that love is patient. It is kind. It does not envy or boast. It is not proud or rude or self-seeking. It is slow to anger and keeps no record of wrongs. Love rejoices in truth, always protects, always trusts (how cool is that—God trusts us), always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails. (verses 4-8)

God is a complete gentleman, and He is persistent in drawing us back to Him, patiently waiting for us to return His lovestruck gaze. He is coming back for His bride, and the wedding is soon at hand! Receive His love today—freely—unconditionally. Notice how He’s wooing you. Feel His loving gaze. Experience His passionate pursuit for you, and let yourself fall in love all over again.

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