Jesus, My Love

I can remember the conversation almost like it happened yesterday. 
 
“God is our Father, right?”

“Yes,” my youth pastor answered after a Sunday morning service, a little hurried.
 
“He’s also our Friend, right?” I wasn’t relenting. Though I knew he was busy, I finally built up enough courage to ask what I really wanted to ask.

“Yes,” he paused and looked at me, giving me his full attention. I think he sensed the struggle and determination in my mind.
 
“Is Jesus our Lover?” I finally blurted out. “I’ve heard people talk about it and it just seems strange. How can God be our father, friend, and lover?”

A knowing smile stretched across my youth pastor’s face and reached his eyes. “Yeah. Jesus is our Lover. The Bible talks about us as being His bride. That’s pretty intimate. And yes, God can be all those things at once.”
 
I was petrified. God. The infinite God who says He is our Father and Jesus our lover-- it made no sense and also seemed quite strange. And yet I felt a release of tension too.

I could talk to Jesus like a lover and it not be weird. And if it was somehow weird, I could blame it on my youth pastor telling me it was okay.
 
That day I went home and wrote in my journal “okay Jesus, Christopher said I could talk to you like a lover so I mean I just want to give it my best shot. Um… hi?”
                                                                                   
                                                                              ~     ~    ~  

It’s funny how we all desire the deepest intimacy with God and yet we feel this embarrassment to ask Him for it, or at least I did at first. I think we are so afraid of rejection that we play if off as “weird” or “not normal” to be “lovers” with Jesus. We’re afraid if we are that vulnerable with God, He will get uncomfortable and leave us. Is this just me or you too?

I think that’s because shame has woven itself very subtly into our mindsets.

I also think it’s because we hear “lover” and our brain races to our human understanding of love. We think it means sexual relations and intimate conversations and scandalous things that are not good. Is that just me that thinks that?
 
But being a lover with Jesus is so much more about access to our hearts. It’s about asking the question “does Jesus have my everything? Including my deepest desires for connection and intimacy?” He wants all of us and He definitely commands us to love Him with all of us. But how do we begin to do that?

At the age of 17 I began to ask God what it is like to be His lover and friend. I was in a pretty desperate time in my life so I didn’t really care if He was “weirded out,” I just knew I needed Him.  
I was inspired by Song of Solomon, the Psalms, John 15, and one of my favorite verses, Isaiah 54:5: “For your Maker is your husband. The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.” (NKJV).

Our Maker is our husband.
 
Wow.

Each time I read that verse, I am brought back to a sense of wonder and excitement. Our Maker is our husband, our redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, and He has a name. Does that verse stir something within you? A longing to be known intimately by God?
 
When I read this verse, I also realize this verse calls for a heart check.

Does God have the most access to my heart or am I just using Him as a place-keeper until I find someone, who I think is better, to fill it? Am I convinced that God is my everything?  
 
I am thankful for the 17-year-old me who was bold enough to knock on God’s door and ask for more. I am so grateful for the me that was uncompromising and unafraid to be honest with God.

Because since the initial journal entry, I’ve encountered Jesus as a lover a lot these past few years. I’ve grown to see Him as my closest friend and yes, my husband.
 
(But not in the Christian cliché of “oh I can’t; I’m married to Jesus so I can’t date you.” If someone ever said that to you as their “no,” then I am so sorry they used Jesus as a way to deflect you rather than actually being honest. I pray for that person and for your heart. That sucks and isn’t fair. But back to my point.)

Having approached Jesus as my lover and friend I’ve watched my love grow immensely for God. There was something that wasn’t released until I was willing to be vulnerable with God on that level. There was something that wasn’t released until I chose to be honest about my desire for intimacy and closeness with Him.
 
Friend, maybe you’re feeling strange right now like we can’t or shouldn’t explore the depths of God like this. If that’s you, I get it. I seriously do. There are times I get really embarrassed and I feel very exposed to share about my love for God. Which is okay. I just choose to step over my fear of man and choose connection with God despite the fact I feel weird for thinking of Jesus as a lover. 
Regardless, I cannot deny the fruits this new mindset has produced in my life. I have so much peace because I am no longer looking to be filled elsewhere. I am kinder, gentler even. I am filled and satisfied. I am grateful!

And most importantly, I have grown so much in my love for God. That’s what it is all about anyways, right? We are growing to learn to love God with everything within us while here on this side of Heaven.
 
Yes, there have undoubtedly been hard times where I do not want to love God – typically because I felt He was wrong to let something happen in my life. But mostly, there’s been some amazing times. I get to wake up and do life with my closest friend, sweetest lover, and deepest confidant. I mean how is that not fun? We have conversations all the time & yes Jesus responds! We go on adventures. We love my neighbors together. We do everything together. And it’s great. Seriously, Jesus and I, we’re a match made in Heaven. (hahaha, I crack myself up.)  
 
My love for God grew out of a boldness to step into a deeper relationship with Him, one marked by honesty, vulnerability, commitment, trust, and love. So, if you’re wanting to grow to love God, I’d encourage you to just be honest with Him.

And if you need permission, like I did, to talk to Jesus as a lover then, here, take my permission.
Go out and romance Jesus and see what happens.
 
Blessings on you.  
 
Author | Samantha Richey

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