These words, “Speak Lord, your servant hears,” were spoken by a small child whose heart was tender and listening. “Then the Lord said to Samuel…” (1 Sam. 3:11), then we see that the Lord spoke to Samuel directly, to him individually.
What I think is a most amazing discovery about God and His word, is He speaks to me – and desires to speak to you as well, individually and at times, specifically. There are times when I read the Bible and it doesn’t speak directly to me that minute, but, then later in the week, what I read was perfect with what I was going through.
You can imagine the deeper depth of listening that went on in Jenny these 5 1/2 years, as she battled being paralyzed and unable to even hold her Bible, or anything for that matter! All I know, is when I read God’s word aloud with Jenny, she was listening, she held on to every word!
Well, each time I would go and visit Jenny while she was in the hospital these last 10 weeks, God would guide me as to where in His word I was to read aloud. And we didn’t understand every word, but there were verses that were read, and I would pause and Jenny would simply say, “Wow!” God had me read from many places, but for many of the visits we were reading Song of Solomon from my Amplified Bible.
We discovered that this truly was ‘the song of songs – the most excellent of them all – which is Solomon’s. (Song of Sol. 1:1). This amazing Song is an allegory of our amazing Shepherd King and His Bride – us!
And the Song of Solomon is full of the Shepherd-King’s words of love to us, His bride. And Jenny and I were all ears and our hearts burned within us as He spoke to us. I was not going to write about this time in His word together, but the Lord told me, “Write!” So I am writing this out of obedience to the Lord because this is a story He wants read.
The Lord wanted us both, to not only know His love for us, but to KNOW HIS LOVE for us, deeper and richer than we had before!But to tell you honestly, I was the one that had a lot of growing to do, it really seemed as if Jenny had already grasped all of this truth and the Lord was teaching me what ‘intimacy’ with Him looked like through Jenny.
“Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth![she cries…]For your love is better than wine!…Draw me! We will run after you!” (Song of Sol. 1:2,4). Perhaps, it was our separate prayers, “Lord, increase my faith” that God brought us together. Will I ever cease to thank Him for answering my prayer by drawing us together that we may ‘run after Him!’ So our relationship was simply time in worship, time in God’s word, and in prayer, and sweet fellowship, and Jenny’s continual perseverance through each and every trial only proved that she was ‘running’ after Him in such a way to win (!), oh, how I was in awe of the way she ‘ran after’ her Lord!
And I will forever be thankful that the Lord had put on my heart to gather my guitar and my Amplified Bible and go to room 609 at the local hospital to have the most glorious moments ever- they almost seem like heavenly moments now. He brought us both together to draw away, to be with Him. It’s as if He transported us to His castle, our Shepherd-King. The Son literally brought the ‘sunlight’ into that dim, gloomy room. He brought His kisses to our lips, so to speak. His word lifted us away from this earthly place! God’s Spirit breathed encouragement and hope into both of us.
And how mysterious is God’s word. But it would leave us thinking and learning and pondering Him. How beautiful to think that our Shepherd-King can only kiss one person at a time with his lips! He is in love with each of us individually! We are His Bride! And, Jenny had such a sweet intimate relationship with Jesus, that I could read these words with ease, thinking of her as being the ‘fairest among women’ speaking of her Shepherd-King.
And the Shepherd King spoke, “Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; you have dove’s eyes.” (Song of Sol. 1:15.) Can it get any better than that, when we give our hearts to Jesus, all of the ‘dark’ side is ‘covered in the blood’ and He sees us as ‘lovely and pleasant’. And ‘dove’s eyes’ talk of being ‘filled with the Spirit!’ This is how our Shepherd king sees us, “You have dove’s eyes.”
And the Lord speaks, “As the lily among thorns, so are you, my love, among the daughters…”(Song of Sol. 2:2). And I couldn’t help but think of the many ‘thorns’ Jenny was surrounded by. But she is His ‘lily’ among the thorns. And then it made me think, Jesus was a ‘lily among thorns’ as well. He knows thorns…
We’re reminded and even thank Him for His willingness to wear a crown…of thorns in an old hymn, ‘My Jesus, I Love Thee‘. And with an added visitor from Jenny’s church, we sang together these words, “I love Thee, because Thou hast first loved me. And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree. I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow. If ever I loved Thee, My Jesus, ’tis now.” And we had read together that verse in Plilippians chapter 1 that no one wants to include in their promise book: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him,…”(Phil. 1:29). But Jesus saw her, “As the lily among thorns,” and He called her ‘my love’ among the daughters. And I am His ‘lily’ as well, but I don’t know anyone among so many thorns as Jenny.
But God brought so much comfort through His beautiful word. Comfort for Jenny specifically! “How fair you are, my love, he said, how very fair. Your eyes behind your veil remind me of those of a dove…”(Song of Sol. 4:1). The name Jennifer means, “fair one”, and that is what He calls His Bride! “[He exclaimed] O my love, how beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you! (Song of Sol. 4:7)…”A garden enclosed and barred is my sister, my [promised] bride; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed…” (Song of Sol. 4:12). Can words describe the healing, the perfect peace that God’s love can bring. It is written that “God’s love never fails”(1 Cor. 13), and His word is truth, and I was able to witness God’s perfect love letter, perfectly minister His love and perfectly heal, not only Jenny, but myself! We were blessed beyond measure.
To think that we are the King’s private ‘garden’. And Jenny had a heart that was drawn so close to her Shepherd-King, that these words seem to fit completely for her: “Let my Beloved come into His garden, and eat His pleasant fruits.” (Song of Sol. 4:16).
I had an example in front of me that had had some severe ‘north winds’ blow on her and her family, and some hot, difficult, never ending ‘south’ winds as well, but these winds brought out a most beautiful ‘lily’ among the thorns. Jenny was so yielded to the Lord. Her garden was so fruitful that her heart was the same as Paul’s when he wrote in Philippians 1:19-21, (As I read them aloud to Jenny, I couldn’t help but notice, this was her heart completely!)“Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Jenny’s garden was full of the fruit of the Spirit, ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. The nurses that took care of her are forever changed when they talk of the joy and the kindness Jenny had.
What a beautiful garden! Perhaps this time of sleeping for Jenny, is a precious time for Jenny and the Lord. Perhaps, her Beloved has ‘come into His pleasant garden to eat His pleasant fruits.’ Because they really are ‘His pleasant fruits.’ He is the One who did that work of the Spirit in and through her, and her life was ‘fully pleasing to Him’ (Col.) She understood that her life was for Him, “Let my Beloved come into His garden, and eat His pleasant fruits.” (Song of Sol. 4:16).
So, as we pray and wait, we also grow in the Lord as we seek Him. And Jesus ministered to my heart specifically, in my moments of anxiety, He said, “I charge you, O you daughters of Jerusalem,…that you not try to stir up or awaken my love until it pleases.” (Song of Sol. 2:7). Yes, my Lord spoke to me. It’s as if He is saying, “Toni, I know what I am doing. I have brought her to My ‘banqueting table’ and My banner over her is love. You can trust me, even in this, you can trust me. Remember the verse Jenny wants you to write out: “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” (Jer. 29:11, Amplified).
My response, “I have heard You speak Lord, I am listening. Even in this, I will trust You! We can always trust You, because Your love is greater than we could ever imagine! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
(Jenny went home to be with Jesus, Nov.9, 2013). I can hear her speak: “My beloved spoke , and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come…” Song of Solomon 2:10,11,12.