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Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your own people also, and your father’s house; so the King will greatly desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, worship Him.Psalm 45:10-11
As is so often the case, this passage of Scripture has literal meaning as well as figurative. In the literal sense, it is encouraging foreign-born women who are marrying Jewish kings to leave the political and religious beliefs of their past and embrace the beliefs of their new husbands. And as interesting as that is, to me the literal meaning always pales in comparison to the figurative, for the figurative speaks to me.
Who we are the moment we accept God’s invitation is not who we are to be going forward. My own conversion is a good example of that. I had received Jesus while praying with an older friend when I was about 10, but my faith life had no real nourishment in the environment in which I was raised. I went to a few youth retreats at our Episcopal church, but with rare exception, I didn’t hear much about Jesus. So it wasn’t until I was 19 and came face-to-face with actual Jesus-loving people that my faith life began to grow.
I’d been invited to the home of Bud and Lois, who had only been married a few months. We worked together at The Bon, a local department store, and God clearly caused our paths to cross. I’d been accepted to tour with a singing/dancing group called “Up With People” but needed to do some fund-raising; Bud had toured with them for several years and offered to help me with fund-raising ideas. That was pretty much the end of our “Up With People” talk. God had orchestrated my life in such a way that I came face-to-face with people who really loved Him. “Up With People” had been merely a prop to move me where I needed to be. I never toured with them; that had never been God’s intention.
At that dinner, they asked if we could pray together before we ate. When I heard Bud address God, I began to cry, for it had been a very long time since anyone in my life had spoken His name out loud. Bud and Lois sensed my need and offered to pray with me. At their guidance, I recommitted my life to Jesus and began to really walk with Him for the first time.
But what’s interesting to me now, when I look back at that time, is remembering what else was going on in my life at that exact same time. Just the night before that momentous dinner, a friend had invited me to go with her to the National Organization of Women (NOW) and help them make phone calls encouraging people to get out and vote the following day. The political item of interest? I can’t remember any of the details except that we were calling people encouraging them to support the pro-abortion candidate.
I don’t even know the girl who went willingly to that meeting. She is so far removed from who I am today that she is a veritable stranger. Within just days or maybe weeks of meeting Jesus, I understood His heart toward the unborn. I saw abortion for what it was, and it pained me that there had ever been a moment when I’d acted in support of it.
Loving God means learning to love what He loves and hate what He hates. You cannot have a harmonious marriage when your ideals are constantly at odds with one another, and in any contest where we are weighing our ideals against God’s, we must yield to Him. But there is beauty in surrender. If we would be molded into His image, it requires a laying down of our own preferences, our own wishes. It requires that sometimes, even when it pains us to do so, we declare to Him, “Unless You approve, this thing becomes dead to me.”
It’s the fastest way to intimacy with our Beloved. And though all around us scoff at our willingness to leave our former beliefs and principles, we are better off melding ourselves into God than we could ever be opposing Him.