There is more to Christ than I wanted.
In the early days of our relationship, I basked in the gentle qualities like His love, peace, and comfort (1 John 4:18; Ephesians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 1:3). He and I would go on dates where He proved to be my Joy, Hope, and Help. My quiet times with Him were like picnics along calm waters, where I experienced Him bending His ear to my prayers and opening His arms to caress me.
Along the journey, I asked to know Him more, and He began to introduce me to His friends. I liked Strength and Understanding but didn’t like Grief and Anguish of Soul (Isaiah 53:3,11). I found that He had lots of acquaintances in this latter group. Affliction, Hardship, and Suffering were all well-known by Him. Although I preferred to travel the brilliant heights, He frequently led me directly into the valley of tears. Places of discomfort and pain seemed particularly valuable to Him.
Maybe there was more to Him than I wanted to know.
He, Who formed light, also created darkness; and He Who generates peace sometimes causes calamity (Isaiah 45:7). At times, He reveals Himself, and at other times hides Himself entirely (Amos 3:7; Isaiah 45:15). On the one hand, He invites me to know Him, and yet on the other, knows that knowledge of Him is unattainable for me (Jeremiah 31:34; Psalm 139:6). Indeed, He is an enigma.
As we, the church, look into the future, we see both peaks and valleys ahead with no easy leaps between summits. Like even a journey through the mountains, time spent between summits is often prolonged. Thankfully, our Guide remains with us all along the way. He is both the God of the Highest, as well as the Man of shadows.
While in the valley, our default is to cry for deliverance, yet our protracted time in the low places contains our greatest blessing. Our words can testify Jesus as our Shepherd (Psalm 23:1), but It is only in the shadow of death that He becomes personal (“for Thou art with me” Psalm 23:4). As we recognize Him with us, our cry for deliverance out will change to prayer for endurance to keep up.
Becoming His ready bride will include both the power and fellowship, one for resurrection and the other for suffering (Revelation 19:7; Philippians 3:10). Our viewpoint of gains and losses must shift to see the value of His Presence. As His nearness becomes our greatest good, we can endure all things (Psalm 73:28; Philippians 4:13).
This is Who He is, beloved; He is the One to Whom you are betrothed. He is the One journeying with you. And He is enough.