Essay: Strange Love

One has my name (the other has my heart), Nat King Cole

This song was originally released by Eddie Dean, and co-written by Eddie Dean, Hal Blair and Lorene Donnelly. It was later recorded by Jimmy Wakely, Jerry Lee Lewis, Nat King Cole, Willie Nelson and a host of other artists.

It is a track on one of Dad’s Nat King Cole albums — entitled’s Rambling Rose. I can still remember the sky blue sleeve and a picture of the young artist with a jolly smile on his face! I never got to hear the original version until much later, as a result Nat King Cole’s version will always have a special place in my heart. As the title goes, so does the tale. A man in dilemma between two women; one he was married to (has my name), the other he was in love with (has my heart).

What correlation has this got with matters of the spirit you might be wondering — well some theologians have described the bible as an epic love story. The story of a creator in love with His most precious creation — humankind. A love that leads to incarnation, birth and ultimately death for our sins. It can be encapsulated in these words from John’s gospel;

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In the Old Testament the Prophet Hosea was commanded to go and search for his long lost wife who had given herself to prostitution. Once she is found, re-new his vows towards her and forgive her of all the hurts, pain and shame she caused him. A symbolic gesture typifying God’s undying love towards us, even though we turn our backs on Him in pursuit of other gods — self, money, sex and power.

Perhaps the most inspiring account can be found in the book of Ruth… In the days of the Judges there was famine in Judah. A man named Elimelech, his wife (Naomi) and their two sons; Mahlon and Chillion decided to relocate to Moab in the hope of a better life. They settled into life in Moab, their sons got married; Mahlon to Ruth and Chillion to Orpah. Sadly Elimelech dies, to compound matters both sons also died, leaving Noami with her daughter-in-laws.

Amidst this all Naomi gets wind that the famine was over in Judah, so she decided to head back home in the hope that she might be able to cope better with her misery. To her surprise, Ruth and Orpah decided to go back with her. On getting to the major road leading to Judah, she said to them;

Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.

Both women wept aloud clinging unto Naomi. But after much persuasion, Orpah decided to return, she kissed her mother-in-law and said her goodbye with a very heavy heart. With Orpah gone, Naomi continued diplomatic talks with Ruth, but the lady was not for turning. Her eyes were fixed on Judah, her spirit would only be separated from Naomi’s in death — wow! In defiance, Ruth went on to make this profound statement;

Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.

On that note Naomi rested her case, Ruth had won, she was coming to Judah — and the rest is history. In Judah she got back far more than she bargained for – she was blessed beyond measure!

Every now and then human radicals emerge demonstrating strange manifestationsOrdinary people doing Extraordinary feats. You see friends, Orpah had the lord’s name, but Ruth — His heart. Ruth went far beyond the call of duty! She made a vow like Orpah, however she chose to esteem hers — even after her husband’s death. In the words of her great grand son;

As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you oh Lord

Little wonder how this woman ended up in the chronicles of time and the lineage of Jesus Christ.

~ Sabali

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