If you ever want to fall into a temporary depression, friends, do I have a solution for you. Start by googling the names of your former ex’s after they are recently engaged. Then, instead of closing out your browser after seeing their wedding websites pop up, click on them. If you can do this with more than one ex in succession, do that for better results. And do it at work instead of eating lunch so you really put yourself in a grumpy mood. I know a friend of yours that did this, and from what I experienced it was effective with a capital E.
I jest about it now for two reasons: 1) The end goal of life is not marriage and having a family; its knowing God and remaining faithful with an acceptance of the good things He has for us. And 2) We have available to us the greatest love the world has ever known all the time. We get to keep it and let others know about it. We can make a website about it.
Despite those fantastic truths, the reality of heart ache and sadness that comes from a dissolved relationship is painful. Perhaps, this is the reason the longest chapter in Ezekiel is devoted to the faithless bride of the Lord.
Chapter 16 verse 4 starts out as pure poetry. God depicts his bride, Israel, as born, first in destitution, but grows into a nourished adult. Israel than becomes His wife. Its filled with pictures of covenant, blood, and washing. It’s sensual, yet gentle. It describes both a private and public love. The passage intentionally treads the line of being uncomfortable in describing romance. God describes what He has done and sacrificed to have His bride and how His love has awakened a new sense of beauty in her. So much was given to her by God including prestige and honor. That association with Him is what perfected her.
I am curious as to whether marriage has the potential to perfect us. I don’t disbelieve it does but I am disheartened to say that I don’t feel my romantic efforts or endeavors have improved someone. May that grace come when the time comes.
Apparently, Israel grew to feel that God’s love did not improve her either. Or Israel just simply forgot that fact. What unfolded was the sad reality of Israel relying on her beauty to entice and break faith by offering her love to anyone but her husband. She is compared to a prostitute, yet worse because she received no payment. She received strangers freely; even more, she bribes them with gifts to commit adultery with her.
But there is no requited love. Lust paints this weird false image of love and hatred merging where individuals are dehumanized, objectified, and used. It gives a distorted pleasure that leads to a damaged heart. And that damage is hard and sometimes impossible to repair. The harsh reality of lust is it never improves things because it can never be satisfied. The love of God conversely both satisfies and is ever improving as we come to know it more.
To be continued…