What Letters do for Lovers

In the summer of 1980, I was in New Jersey working for a mason contractor named Alphonse. One day a post card arrived from, “Ginnette,” who was living in Michigan. I remembered having dinner at her apartment once, but I couldn’t quite picture what she looked like! We began to write, and once we left pleasantries, our letters took on an air of love. After work I raced home to pore over her thoughts, simple and mundane movements of a person far, far away. Inspired by her overtures, I would write sappy love poems late into the night perusing the outer limits of my imagination, willing thoughts to wrap like arms around her. It was during those long hot days of separation, that we fell in love. In so many words my letters to her read, “Ginnette, I am wild for you!

I like to think, that’s what we hear God say when we file the message of the Scriptures down to a point.

In Psalm 45, verse 11, it says, “and the king will desire your beauty.” Translated by Eugene Peterson, it reads, “BE HERE, THE KING IS WILD FOR YOU!” The psalm pictures a princess being followed by her virgin companions to the chamber of her king, leaving everything behind. He wants her heart’s surrender, and her unflinching devotion. Sons, it promises, will replace her family.

The fruit of love will be sons in the kingdom!

The Son’s of Korah have written a poem that goes beyond a human level, to reach a place God created for our hearts. On the surface it casts expectation for love to bloom between a man and woman, but that’s the illusion, and we must not be fooled by it. God uses this image to trace a picture of what can happen between us, and Jesus Christ, through our surrender to love. It’s a love song for the ages, a mushy poem meant to paint a picture of intimacy with God.

That’s what letters do for lovers.

It’s what God has done for us in the letter He’s written.  Ancient, preserved and waiting every morning for us when we wake. Some of the words seem mundane, while others make us breathless. Sometimes we’re tired, or stressed, or distracted, and the words fall on deaf ears. But other days, they inspire us, taking form through the life we lead, the words we use, and the chances we take to gush about Him to others. It sounds sappy, the way love should be, but the love we receive is the love we offer a world starved for it; just the thing that keeps our eyes dazzled, and locked onto His.

To change metaphors, I imagine God a deep well, and every day He gives us the chance to throw a bucket in, and draw from Him the motivation and energy for love. Sometimes the bucket rattles against the side, and we pull it up too quickly, without any of the overtures His life giving water promises. It feels empty to us, like the bucket. But when we hear the splash, and feel the pull, something mysterious happens. It’s as if we are poring over a letter from someone we can vaguely picture in our mind, but have fallen in love with.

That’s what letters do for lovers.

That’s why the letter means everything.

The first words we read are, “The King is wild for you!”

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