By Russ Ramsey
It is the feeling that comes over a child in the days leading up to Christmas, as presents begin to find their place under the tree. Or the thrill in the woman’s heart when she knows he has bought the ring but hasn’t yet proposed. Anticipation.
You know the feeling, right? It seems like an almost disproportionate desire for the thing you actually want. It’s the feeling when a longing outpaces the value of the thing you desire, and yet, the desire remains and sometimes even grows. Why does this happen?
Today’s text from the Song of Songs is filled with a longing for something to happen—for the lover and the beloved to finally be together. She hears his voice over the distant hills, but cannot see him. She wants him to run, to hurry. The setting is perfect: the winter is past, the rains are gone, and the flowers are opening. It is the perfect spring day and romance is in the air.
Finally, he arrives. He tells her to stand up so they can explore the countryside together. It is like something out of a musical—a young man and a young woman dancing and singing across the fields in bloom. They are in love.
But in the midst of their joyous union, they eventually turn to the hard realities of life. This world can be a tough place. They talk about how as they dance, they need to also take time to chase away the foxes that ruin their vineyards (2:10). They talk about how the shadows will come and the day will grow dark. This is the reality of the life they know.
They want their day of romance in the spring meadow to be a dance that will last forever, but it won’t. And yet, the longing is there—and that longing came from someplace. So it is with us. We all have insatiable longings for a perfect love that goes on and on and on without interruption, and that desire comes from someplace. Where?
C.S. Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” The Apostle Paul said it like this: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Because of the finished work of Christ, the day will come when we will dance freely without having to keep one eye on the foxes. But for now we can rest in this: our longings often feel disproportionate to the thing we desire because that thing we desire is only a foretaste of what we really want most—to have all we need, at peace with our Maker and at rest in our eternal home.
Written By Russ Ramsey