He fidgeted in his seat and I drank my coffee as we both waited to board the flight to New York City. My younger son, Jordan, had decided to propose to the girl he had been dating since high school graduation. He said he knew exactly what she wanted – a one carat brilliant cut stone surrounded by smaller diamonds mounted on a diamond studded eternity band in yellow gold. This was the ring he needed to declare his love and to ask her to be his forever.
Jordan had saved for months, had sold his guitar and had carefully shopped both the internet and our local jewelers. In spite of his efforts, the sum in his bank account fell short of the price tag on what he considered to be the perfect ring. Knowing a fair amount about fine jewelry and a fair amount about love, I had asked if he would like for me to fly to New York City with him where there were diamonds to be had and deals to be made within the parameters of its famous Gold and Diamond District. So off we set on a quest that was both sobering and exhilarating.
This was the ring he needed to declare his love and to ask her to be his forever.
Halfway through the day we landed in a shop owned and operated by a family of Hasidic Jews. Their son, who looked to be about in his mid twenties, suggested to Jordan that he pick out the perfect stone from their collection of loose diamonds, then offered to help him find the setting he desired. When he opened the third piece of folded parchment and lifted a brilliant diamond with his tweezers, Jordan’s eyes sparkled almost as much as the stone itself. “That’s it!” he declared, “That’s the one.”
A couple of hours of ring settings and negotiations later we were seated in the backroom near the jeweler’s bench watching their master jeweler set the stone into the ring. The smile on Jordan’s face was as brilliant as any diamond in the store. “She’s going to love it!” he exclaimed, giving me a hug. He could hardly wait to get back home and start planning the proposal. I smile each time I think of that day and each time I see the ring on my daughter-in-law’s hand.
Love is a magnificent and magnetic force. It is one of the wonders of the universe. It is the reason life goes on, why babies are born and why young men like my son go in search of a perfect diamond ring to offer as symbolic token of that love. It is thrill, longing, desire, emotion. It is how we are made and what drives us to seek union.
Love is a magnificent and magnetic force. It is one of the wonders of the universe.
The Song of Solomon is a book of the Bible which speaks of that love. Rich in language, symbolism and sensuality, it not only was written to help God’s people better understand sex, love and marriage, but has also been suggested as symbolic reference to Christ’s love for His bride, The Church. Throughout this book is a continual and undeniable sense of DESIRE. That vivid description of human desire can be overlaid with God’s longing for spiritual oneness with us. I love the imagery and intense dialogue between the beloved and her lover contained in these chapters.
As I read it again this week, there were four different kinds of desire that stood out clearly. And although these words were probably written around 965 B.C., we still embody these same characteristics today:
The Desire To Give Gifts: (Song of Songs 1:11) “We will make you earrings of gold, studded with silver.” When we love someone, we automatically desire to give them tokens of our love. Even God Himself loves to give us gifts. James 1:17, “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. . .” Just as we love giving things to the ones we love, God too loves giving good things to us every day.
The Desire To Share Adventure: (Song of Songs 2:13b) “Arise, come, my darling: my beautiful one, come with me.” I often say our marriage may have lacked a lot of things but it certainly never lacked for adventure! I believe men especially have an innate desire for adventure and for someone to share it with them. And God has a life of marvelous, magnificent adventures waiting for us if we agree to come along. I don’t want to miss out on even one of His plans!
The Desire To Know And Be Known: (Song of Songs 2:14b) “…show me your face, let me hear your voice;” We ALL desire to know and be known but most especially by the one we love. We want them to see not only our exterior selves but our inner selves as well, to hear not only our words but to understand the feelings behind them. I love knowing that God DOES understand my every thought and emotion and that He is paying attention to me all of the time. The Psalmist David expressed that desire when he cried, “Search me, O God, and know my heart…”
The Desire To Belong: (Song of Songs 2:16) “My lover is mine and I am his…” ( 7:10) “I belong to my lover; and his desire is for me.” There is a thrill to belonging and to being wanted. There is also a sense of ownership when someone “belongs” to you. Many years ago a young lady became enamored with my husband and decided in her infatuation to go after him. One morning I called and invited her to breakfast. During the conversation I made it perfectly clear to her where her boundaries lay and asked if she was aware that by attempting to cross those boundaries she was encroaching upon sacred ground, our marriage. I honestly am not sure she had looked at it in that light but be guaranteed that by the time we left the restaurant that day, she knew who that man belonged to!
When we truly love someone we desire to give all of ourselves to them, in a sense to “belong” to them. God instructs us to love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind and early on He let the Israelites know, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God”. He wants us to give ourselves completely to Him, just as He has given His all for us.
Jordan and Starre were married in a beautiful candlelight ceremony in an old church with stained glass windows. As he placed the diamond band on her finger and pledged himself to her forever I prayed silently that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit would encircle them with protection in the days ahead. For that circle, indeed, is the perfect ring.