Have you ever lost yourself to something so wonderful and amazing that you wanted to throw into it your mind, body and soul? Have you ever been so passionate about something or someone that you were hardly aware of anything else around you, the object of your passion and delight eclipsing all other things?
Perhaps you’ve had tastes of such reckless and luxurious abandon if ever you’ve fallen “head-over-heels” in love or if ever you’ve been ablaze with passion for a high and noble cause. Such passion and zeal are exciting when they grip us with fingers of vision and emotion, thrilling when they carry us on the winds of activity and accomplishment, yet soul-rending and heart-breaking when they end in cold disillusionment and emptiness.
Look around and you’ll see all about you the wearied and jaded visages of people whose passion has led them into a deep and dismal cavern of skepticism. You’ll see men and women whose hearts have been so buffeted and bullied by false promises and wistful wishing that they no longer know what can be trusted and have failed to even care anyway. Thick and deadened layers of calluses now cover their once tender hearts so impenetrably that worthwhile passion and zeal can no longer seem to get in or out.
We do well when we learn to not squander our passion and fervor on temporal things, and better yet when we learn to steer away from those things that have promised their great spiritual worth yet lead only to spiritual graves. But our disappointments have so completely veiled our spiritual eyes that we no longer see the brilliant countenance of the One in Whom “there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). We no longer hear His voice though He “calls us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3), deafened as we are by an earwax of complacency. We no longer respond to His invitation to love and be loved, an invitation that God has written with scarlet letters and sealed with His own promises. We have become distant and reluctant in our relationship with God. We’ve become cold and dreary “worshipers” who have no real worship to give.
But though we’ve spurned Him again and again, He is yet knocking on the door of our hearts, calling us to hear that we are loved, beckoning to us with fingers extending from nail-scarred hands to come and see that the love of God is eternal and more than sufficient to overflow with goodness our parched and famished lives. Even now He invites us to risk everything and love Him in return.
“I will make for them a covenant on that day… I will betroth you to Me forever. I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD. And in that day I WILL answer, declares the LORD” (Hosea 2:18-22 ESV – emphasis mine).
God’s people are the love of His life! He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) because He passionately desires our love in return. “You yourselves have seen… how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession…” (Exodus 19:4-5a ESV).
Have you ever been loved passionately by another? Whatever you may think about yourself or your past, the answer is yes: you HAVE been and ARE now loved passionately. There is One Who gave everything to have You with Him forever. How now will you respond? Will you wholeheartedly embrace His invitation to “dance” with Him in relationship? Or will you turn away, either permitting yourself to not believe that He means what He says when He says He loves you, or postponing your response to Him, choosing instead to dwell in the horror of luke-warm service and ho-hum worship?
Oh, I hope you’ll dance… that you’ll at the least dance in your heart like King David danced in body in 2 Samuel 6:14-16! I hope that you may be willing to shed an over-developed sense of propriety and allow yourself to be vulnerable in the great dance that is genuine worship. I hope that your great delight will be in walking with God as was David’s as he lavishly rejoiced in the return of the glory of God to the heart of the land. I hope that you’ll remember that, no matter your station and whatever your rank, life is only really lived when you lose yourself in unabashed devotion and celebration of the King of kings!
And while you will undoubtedly have your critics (as David did in his wife, Michal, in 2 Samuel 6:16, 20-23) let your aim be to “dance” for no one but the Lord Himself. Let criticisms and misguided good intentions roll off your back as you refuse to tone down your adoration for God.
“(I danced) before the LORD, Who chose me…. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this” (from 2 Samuel 6:21-22a). And why not be willing to set aside pride and self and all other things that stand in the way of genuinely seeking His face? Why not discard the rags of pretension we tend to wrap about ourselves that hinder our freely walking with Him? There is, after all, no substitute for truly pursuing God in relationship and there is no love like His which dwarfs even mountains of affection and adoration were you to summon them from within your heart.
As our cold hearts thaw to the warmth of His love and our eyes are met by the golden glow of the sunshine of His glory, He lovingly whispers His invitation, “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone” (Song of Songs 2:10b-11 ESV). Why don’t we now just join Him in the dance of life, listening to the music of His love filling our ears with joy, following the rhythm of His daily leading as He guides our wayward feet, and rejoicing in the wonder of fellowship with Him?
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 23 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)