Monday, September 7, 2015

love before its time

Today's readings: Song of Songs 1:1-4:16, 2 Cor 8:16-24, Psalm 50:1-23, Prov 22:22-23

The two lovers in Song of Songs talk about intimacy today. It's beautiful imagery. And it describes the great gift that God has given us in being intimate with our spouse in marriage. Some people think that God and the church see sex as a bad, dirty, or nasty thing. On the contrary, God and the church see sex as a wonderful, holy gift that we're given, so important and good that it should be protected within the healthy relationship of marriage.

But that's not where I want to focus today. My focus concerns the phrase "Do not awaken love before its time." Those of you who are parents know EXACTLY what this verse means. You probably dread the day that "love is awakened" in your children. It will mean the end of an age, and the beginning of a new one. And that new one is not always one in which the children are as close to parents as they once were. It's a good thing, but it can be a bittersweet thing.

Our society is designed to "awaken love" as soon as possible. Every billboard, movie, ad, song, and music video is packed full of sexuality. It's very unusual for kids to reach an appropriate age before they start thinking about sex, and have to deal with it, often in unhealthy ways. As the writer of Song of Songs says, it's better for that part of our lives to wait until it's time for fulfillment.

But let's back up. God knows that the gift He's given us is a very powerful urge. He knows that we will struggle with being responsible with this amazing gift. He knows we will fall many times, and will need to get back up. So we need to be patient with ourselves. We need to accept the forgiveness that He so readily gives us. We need to realize that we are GOING to make mistakes, and that the only way that our sexuality can mess up our relationship with God is if we stop coming back to Him after we make mistakes.

This is not to say it's impossible to live a good and virtuous sexual life. Many people do. And they are blessed to not struggle with this area.

But many of us (maybe most of us?) struggle with this issue. And He knows we will. And He stands ready to forgive us and help us to become responsible in this area of our lives.

So don't awaken love before its time! But if it does happen, don't despair. He knows how hard it can be. And He wants to draw us back into His embrace. Accept His love and forgiveness, and keep going!

Thank You, God, for Your great gift of our sexuality, and for your mercy and forgiveness when it is awakened a little earlier than it should be.