A personal encounter with Jesus Christ creates unspeakable joy in His presence and unparalleled agony in His absence. To miss something or to long for something, one must first love and desire it. We never despair the loss of something that we take no interest in. However, when our lives are completely invested in something or someone it is unthinkable to imagine living without what we’ve begun to see as a part of us.
Since Jesus Christ came for us and promised to never leave us or forsake us, how or why do we experience His absence? The truth is, we create His absence. By turning away from Him and indulging in our sinful natures we create a chasm between us and Jesus Christ. This chasm is not insurmountable as long as we repent and turn back to our true love, our Savior, allowing His unrelenting love to bridge the gap we’ve created. The wave of darkness that we feel when experiencing suffering, loneliness or pain is not the absence of God but the very real presence of the trials of a broken world. However, amidst the suffering we are offered the presence of our true love and Savior, that is, if we will have him. For a person that has experienced the presence of Jesus Christ, to retain and sustain the presence of Jesus in their life is worth trading this entire world for. For the person that has never truly experienced the presence of Jesus Christ, gaining the whole world is the equivalent of 30 pieces of silver and the denial of Jesus Christ is a reasonable bargain to make. The measure of hate we feel toward sin is equal to the measure of love we feel toward Jesus. The more we love Him, the more we feel in agony when we feel a separation between us and Him. Therefore, in order to avoid this agonizing space between us and Jesus, we actively fight sin so as to protect the relationship most dear to us. If we feel no despair in the fact that our sin separates us from him, and if we never find ourselves missing the presence of Jesus in our lives we must ask ourselves the same question that Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?”
16 My beloved is mine and I am his;
he browses among the lilies.
17 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag on the rugged hills.
3 All night long on my bed
I looked for the one my heart loves;
I looked for him but did not find him.
2 I will get up now and go about the city,
through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
So I looked for him but did not find him.
3 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
“Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
4 Scarcely had I passed them
when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
to the room of the one who conceived me.
5 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.
6 Who is this coming up from the wilderness
like a column of smoke,perfumed with myrrh and incense
made from all the spices of the merchant?
7 Look! It is Solomon’s carriage,
escorted by sixty warriors,
the noblest of Israel,
8 all of them wearing the sword,
all experienced in battle,
each with his sword at his side,
prepared for the terrors of the night.
9 King Solomon made for himself the carriage;
he made it of wood from Lebanon.
10 Its posts he made of silver,
its base of gold.
Its seat was upholstered with purple,
its interior inlaid with love.
Daughters of Jerusalem, 11 come out,
and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look on King Solomon wearing a crown,
the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
the day his heart rejoiced.
Love aroused is more powerful than anything in the entire human experience. True love has the power to defy reason. It has the power to contradict logic. It has the power to dismantle immovable barriers and boundaries. True love is an elixir for the soul that makes us believe that anything is possible. When we experience true love it provides us with sweetness and flavor that instantly makes all other tastes and pleasures pale in comparison. True love makes us sleepless, not out of worry but out of anxious anticipation of the new day that our love will inevitably be fueling and revealing. True love keeps the heart smiling when there is nothing visible to smile about, and it keeps the heart laughing although sadness dominates our surroundings. True love is something that we rarely receive but when we do we never want to let it out of our grasp. True love is something we never forget. The love of God can be nothing less than this to someone who professes faith in him. If the love of God is reduced to anything less than “true love” the structures that currently reinforce our lives, that often provide more obstacles than free-passage, will remain unaffected and unmoved. If the love of God is anything less than “true love” there is no hope of a better day. All that remains is wishful thinking and empty promises. If the love of God is in fact “true” you will find yourself always aware of it, always thankful for it, daily overwhelmed by it and transformed by it.