(Originally published on The Year of Blogging Faithfully, December 14, 2014 ©Bethany Turner)
Our church has a marriage ministry, and as part of this ministry, we have occasional special events. Sometimes there is a speaker, or a “lesson” to learn, but sometimes the emphasis is just on fun. And always, we look for ways to draw couples closer together, closer to God, and to help solidify the foundation of their marriage. Last night, we went dancing. I mean, like, legit ballroom dancing. We learned to dance a waltz, rhumba, and jive, and it was amazing to see couples with little or no dance experience (ahem…like the Turners…) twirling and laughing across the floor.
I learned a lot, but one thing I learned jumped out at me more than any of the steps, patterns, or rhythms. When a man takes a woman to the dance floor, their first physical contact is supposed to be their hands. But it’s more specific than that, even. A man is to put his left hand in front of him, his palm facing his partner, in dance position. At that point, it is up to the lady to accept his offer to dance. She not only decides whether or not to dance with him at all, she also decides how close to get to him – and how close he can get to her. She grabs his hand, and then she determines the level of intimacy. An important thing to remember, however, is that regardless of how close she gets, his control is never in doubt. He is with her – guiding her and protecting her – every step of the way. There is increased effort involved if you choose to get closer (there are toes to watch, after all…), but the intimacy is worth the risk.
What’s more, I discovered that when you are in the arms of a man who is properly leading you, dancing is actually easier, more enjoyable, and less worrisome when your eyes are closed – at least when you are first learning. With your eyes closed, you have no choice but to trust him and go where he leads.
Isn’t that a fantastic metaphor for our relationship with God?
As our pastor sometimes says, God is a gentleman. He issues an invitation – and He wants us to accept – but He won’t force us. Once we accept – if we do – it is up to us to decide just how close we’ll get. We determine the level of intimacy. Does a deeper, more intimate relationship require more work? Absolutely. But the closeness is well worth the effort. Regardless of how close we get, His control is never in doubt. Once we accept His invitation, He will be there.
What’s more, when you are in the arms of God, and He is leading you, and you let HIm take control, life is actually easier, more enjoyable, and less worrisome. Life is as good as it gets when we close our eyes, trust Him, and go where He leads.