"Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way out."
Did you ever have a thornbush block your path? Thornbushes are prickly. They pierce you, leaving raw and burning flesh. Thornbushes hurt like hell, especially if they are blocking a perfectly good path.
Ever have walls? Not walls you erect yourself to fortify you from hurt, but walls that God puts there. You can't climb God walls. You can't get under them or over them. You can bang on them, cursing like you've got Tourettes, until your fists turn into ground meat, and they still won't move. Not God walls. They don't move when you want them to. Finally, you give up and say, "God, there are walls here." As if He didn't know.
"She will chase after her lovers, but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them."
I don't care how long you look, you can't catch a lover God doesn't want you to catch. Not when you're in the God walls. You can look for 20 years, and later find that they were on the other side of that same damned wall, looking for you, too. You can chase after lovers whose contours you still remember, whose familiar whispers still hold allure. You can eye potential lovers from a distance, wondering if they will fit you, if they will feel you, if they will fill you. They are all so much safer than He. They don't ask for much...a little bump and grind in the dark, and a lie that lets you feel known for a moment, but He, He wants everything. If you could just bust outta those walls, you'll take a little feel good to soothe the soul and quench the fire temporarily. But other lovers don't satisfy, and He--He a jealous Lover. He demands that you release them. He tells you that it is He, it's always He that you are looking for, no matter how much your flesh burns, and you are naive if you think it burns for others that are not He. All lust masks a deep desire for Him.
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her."
Hot. You are burning, woman. You are the woman at the well, parched and spent. Desire blazes and you've gone through one man, and then another. Then more. You stopped counting. It hurts to remember. They don't stay. You are too damned hungry. You are too damned needy. You are scary and intense. You are looking for something, dying for something that lovers can't give you, that even your husband can't give you. Any man can only give you a shadow of it. But He--He speaks tenderly, and by now you are so defensive--I am so defensive, that I wouldn't know tender if He placed a gentle hand upon my cheek and whispered, "I Am called Tender and Mild. You've known this since you were a child." And then I remember, vaguely, through a glass darkly, yes, He is tender, mild. He does speak to me.
"In that day," declares the LORD, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'master'." (Hosea 2:6-7, 14, 16 NIV)
No more Master? I really don't mind being your slave. But husband? Oh, God. Lover of my soul, do you want this burning lust in me? This desire. I am ashamed of it. I don't understand it, I only know I can't contain it. I need your walls to keep me safe. I need your new name, 'husband' and, my Bridegroom, I need you to speak tenderly to me. Speak to me until you Come, and I come, and I don't even care how that sounds--in fact, I want it to sound as orgasmic as it should, because I thirst, and I burn, and who can satisfy but You? You, my Safety. My Satisfaction. God, who reveals Himself in sexual terms in the Word, reveal your self to my sexuality *and* my spirituality. I am your creation, body and soul. I was made for you.
I am terrified of this prayer. What if You say
I lie supine and waiting, powerless to You.
grasping for ecstacy,