Roses in the Desert: Courted, Chosen, & Cherished

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

In Isaiah 61:1-3 God’s servant is given the mission to bring good news that heals the brokenhearted, frees captives, and proclaims the favorable year of the Lord. We could use good news--especially in 2020, a.k.a. The Year of Living Dangerously, Plans Dissolved, and Dreams Deferred. I love seeing families dancing on social media and singing funny duets together while sheltering at home. Though some admit so much “together time” can be maddening, the Romantic in me believes having a partner could change the dystopian novel we’re living into a bonding adventure. When lockdown began, my single friends and I quipped, “We’ve got this! We’re used to living solo.” But months of isolation and a few meltdowns later, we’ve confessed to bouts of loneliness and sadness. Cut off from our communities, group activities and celebrations, we have felt depleted and unable to focus. Some days Fear whispers, This will never end. And I wonder...When will we be released from solitary confinement? From not only the pandemic but the single status of our lives?

Some days when the present looks grim and I can’t visualize the future, I get into trouble ruminating over the past. January 2020 I sat with a man I loved watching diamonds of sunlight reflected on the Gulf of Mexico. Our future looked so bright we were both wearing shades. I dressed in sequins for our Valentine’s Day date, the first I’d had in over 20 years. But instead of dinner and dancing in the movie-set-worthy restaurant, he walked away.

Pain and confusion blurs truth. One hurt piles upon another. I recall other Once- Upon- a- Times when I was all-in but someone left or never really showed up. Then I believe lies about myself and God. I default to flawed thinking that started somewhere in my childhood...Where’s the knight or prince the fairy tales said would rescue me, protect me? Or simply a partner to navigate this new wilderness with me so I don’t have to go it alone? Why do some women get the Happily Ever After and others don’t? When will it be my turn? And then I think of harsh adult realities...What about the women who are trying to “shelter” with abusers living in their homes? When, how will they find what they need to leave?

I spin until I’m spent… what I always do when I take my eyes off God to focus on man or circumstances. Then I remember His good news for captives and the brokenhearted: I EXCHANGE ROSES FOR ASHES. YOU ALL GET THE LOVE STORY. I AM COMPASSIONATE, GRACIOUS, FAITHFUL. I NEVER LEAVE. 

Better than a prince, we get the King. One day there will be the Marriage Feast of the Lamb between Christ, the Bridegroom, and his Beloved (Revelation 19:6-9). But that relationship—personal and intimate—begins now. Psalm 45:11 instructs, “Be here—the King is wild for you. Since He’s your lord, adore him” (The Message). He says we are lovable and loved. He says it’s a lie we are too much or not enough. And He takes delight in us, rejoicing over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). 

God chooses to call His people—once Israel, now all believers—Bride. Isaiah says, “Your Maker is your Husband.” Hosea says He sweeps his beloved away on a honeymoon in the desert where He courts her with roses and she sings like a new bride.