Behold, The Winter Is Past

“My beloved speaks and says to me…”

My beloved
Knows my pleas
Has heard my heart
The heart that now lives
He understands full well because
His own hand has formed it
His mercy did wake it
His grace fills it
With His love
Now
My beloved speaks
And says to me…

“Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away…”

Heart, my heart
Can you embrace the widths
The length, the heights, the depth
Of His great love?
Can you look away
From the sloth
That is me
To His love
And see
Really see
His loveliness
His tenderness
Encouraging you
Encouraging me
His beloved
To rise from her slumber
From her sin
Her unwillingness
And her many excuses
That disable and discourage?
Yes!
To rise
Even from her many comforts
That are no comfort to her at all.

My beloved speaks and says to me…

“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.”

The winter is past
The time of darkness and of ignorance
The rain is over
And gone is the bareness
Of our cold indifference
Confounded
By the breaking of His light
Upon our frozen hearts
Melted
By His grace
Awakened
By His love
The rain
The clouds
The blasts
Of our sharp afflictions
And our hideous sins
Are over
Fallen
Beneath His blood
A new calm awaits us
His strength quickens us
Calls us away to enjoy Him
To be joyfully fruitful
In Him!

“The flowers appear on the earth…”

Re-Creation!
God’s grace upon grace extended
Extending the sweet savor of Christ
The ornaments of His pasture
The beauty of redeemed life
Life returning
His life
In us
His righteousness
For us
Reviving
Renewing the fragrance
Of the Holy
Expressed in Christ
His fairness
His beauty
His grace
His love
Adorning
Consoling
Flowers
Appear on the earth!

“The time of singing has come…”

Heart, my heart
Can you hear
The singing
The voices
The praises
Of all who love
The Lord?
Can you hear
Your own imperfect warble
Perfected
By His perfect obedience?
O heart, can you hear the air
Filled with praise?
The time of singing has come!

“And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.”

Yes!
Even here in our barren land
And there in our lush and lusting land
The everlasting truth
The God News
Is heard!

His battle victory rings
Through all eternity
His glory
His word
His grace
His pardon
The blood of the Lamb
And our testimonies
Speak
Of His renewing grace
And our gladness
In prayer, song, and praise!

“Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the crannies of the cliff…”

My heart
Be still and note
How wide and long
How high and how deep
Christ’s love truly is
He calls you
His dove
Harmless
Inoffensive
Cleansed by His Word
Hid
Safe
In the clefts of the Rock
Secure
In faith!

“Let me see your face, let me hear your voice.”

Heart, dear heart
Do you realize
His desire is for you
For your communion with Him?
He longs to see your faith
He desires
That you look
Fully
Into His wonderful face
Where all fear
And temptation
All sin and its shame grow dim
Strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace!

“For your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”

My heart, take note!
Your voice is sweet in Him
Pleasant and delightful
To Him who loves
The voice of His people.

Hear this, o my heart!
Your prayer is sweet to His ear
And your face is lovely!

Don’t ask
How can this be?
You are fair and beautiful
In Him!
In the perfect eyes of the Savior
There is now no condemnation!
There is now no longer any need
To be ashamed
Lift up your head
Lift up your beautiful face
O Zion!
You are the love of Christ
His beauty
Without any spot
Without any wrinkle!

Oh,
But catch for us…

“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”

Catch for us the little foxes
Those trifling departures from His truth
Those little sins
That so easily beset us
Those subtle lies
Those crafty errors
Those little slips of pride unchecked
That spoil our vineyards
His graces
Our true comforts.

Our vineyards are in bloom!
Our budding beginnings
In Christ
His gracious mercies
Blossoming in us!
Oh catch for us the foxes
Those little foxes.
For…

“My beloved is mine, and I am His; He grazes among the lilies…”
The lilies!

He grazes among His lilies
He sups with us
Yes, even with me!
God with me
Even now!

“Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle or a young stag on cleft mountains.”

Turn!
My beloved
Be like a gazelle
O, my Love
Do not delay!

Petra O. Hefner