Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the Lord. (Song of Songs 8:6)
Love is a mysterious thing. It gives life and it kills. It is the strongest of feelings and it is what makes life worth living. With it we become vulnerable and weak, and without it we feel despair and brokenness. It has both the power to lift us up and like wind under our wings allows us to soar to the mountaintop, and to pierce our hearts and bring us to the lowest valleys of life.
We all experience love: love of our children, our parents, our spouses, our friends, places we visit, foods we eat, things we own, dreams we dream, and music we hear.
But no love compares with the love of God. It is beyond our comprehension. It is totally unconditional and has nothing to do with who we are or what we do. It only has to do with His election, His grace, and His befriending of us from all eternity. It is a love that is deeper than oceans, wider than the skies, more sacrificial than our thoughts can bear, and more demanding than humanly possible. It is possessive; it is uncompromising, and it is non-negotiable. When He chooses us, we are His and no one else’s. He blesses us with companionship, with blessings of all kinds, with beauty, with pleasure, that we may taste love.
But these are only little tastes of joy that point us to the real thing that is hidden in Him and only Him.
Our problem is that we get so captivated by the small manifestations of love in our lives that we forget about Him, the source of love, the ocean from which, all good things flow. He keeps whispering in our ears to call us back into His arms, to remind us that He has put His seal on our heart and on our arms, and that we belong to Him first and foremost. But we ignore the gentle whisper. He keeps increasing the volume, but we resist it as long as we can. After all, we are busy loving this world, with its distractions and temptations. We are busy loving the gifts He has given us: our spouse, our children, our job, our home, our good life, and even our messy life!
Finally, God sends a storm into our life to awaken us!
We forget that He is a jealous God (Deut.6:15), and unwilling to share His glory with any other (Isa.42:8). He created us with a divine purpose in mind, and we forget that we live for Him and die for Him and we are His and only His (Rom.14:7-8), then He has to break the door and come in, through a loss, through a painful experience, through anything that will get our attention and turn us from worshipping idols. We hate Him for that; we doubt His goodness, and question His authority!
But God does it all out of love. Such love is a flaming fire that burns all the excess and reminds us who our God is, that He will not allow us to go astray, but will keep us in His hand at all costs (John 10:29). It may hurt at the moment, but in His Wisdom He knows what is best and how to preserve us from eternal destruction. He calls us back toward Him, the one and only God who can save us and keep us on the path to eternal peace and joy that we all long for so desperately!