The Alluring

I awake in the night and he is gone. The sheets are still warm from where he lay beside me, and his scent lingers in the air. But he is gone. Love is a mist, only an illusion that hangs in the air, fading with the morning light. I must have been kidding myself to think he would stay this time. As if in a dream, I swing my legs out of bed and shudder as my toes touch the cold floor. I wrap myself in the red satin robe he gave me and slip outside.

It is a foggy night, the moon obscured by the silvery clouds. I stand on tiptoe and strain to see. Distant, shadowed, but there he stands at the end of the path. My lover.

He sees me standing there, the breeze toying with my loosened hair, self-consciously fingering the front of my robe as if I suddenly feel  immodest. He turns and begins to walk away. His back is disappearing into the mist, but I can still catch him and somehow convince him to stay. It’s not too late. I begin to run, but in the darkness the trees suddenly seem to hem me in. The path narrows as the hedges thicken, creating a wall on either side of me. Am I still dreaming? I can barely see him now. Which direction has he gone? I look desperately around me at what now seems to be a threatening forest. I have lost my way, but I continue to push through the undergrowth. The thorns begin to tear at my robe, at my hair, at my skin. I feel like I am fighting, but what for? My lover has gone.

I stop, panting for breath, choking on the tears that have begun to surface. I hear footsteps behind me. Is that him? I spin around quickly…and there He is. Not my lover. The one I had left. The one had forgotten. The whole time I had been chasing my lover without a backward glance…He had been chasing me.

I walk towards Him slowly, apprehensively,  not sure what to expect. His face is difficult to read. I can’t quite place the emotion I find there, but somehow it tears me apart inside. He extends His hand to me. As I place mine in His, He pulls the gaudy ring from my finger and examines it. Then He tosses it away and pulls me to Him, roughly. I brace myself; this wouldn’t be the first time I had been hit by a man. With a jealous fury He snatches the adornment from my neck, throwing it to the ground with an anger that frightens me. He tears off the scarlet robe. It cascades to the ground, leaving me standing before Him naked and exposed. I cry out and try to cover myself with my arms, but it is no use. There is no hiding from Him. He is looking not even at me, but straight through me. I duck my head, guarding myself against the shouting and the beating that is sure to come. Surely His patience is worn through by now. Aren’t all men the same in the end?

But nothing happens. I open my eyes. He reaches out and tilts my chin upward to meet his gaze with a touch so gentle it gives me chills, and the look of intense longing in His eyes makes me catch my breath. Can He really still love me? The harsh voice I was expecting never comes. Instead, He begins to speak in a low, tender voice. “Stop cowering, beloved. Why are you so afraid? You will no longer call Me ‘master’; you will call Me ‘husband.’ For I will betroth you to Me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion and faithfulness.”

The words wash over me like a cleansing rain as I fall into His arms, their purity healing my heart of all the lies and the broken promises. Because this time I know…I know. This is the last time He will ever have to come after me, because nothing else will ever satisfy the way this love does.  I will look for love no further than here, where it has found me. This time I will stay.

~Hosea 2:6-20~

Published in: on August 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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