(1) By night on my bed I sought the one I love; I sought Him, but I did not find Him.
There are times in our lives that the Lord will hide Himself (His manifest presence) from us. It is a test. Do we love Him enough to search for Him? Do we desire His presence enough to get out of the familiar and seek Him in unfamiliar ways? This is where the bride finds herself at the beginning of chapter 3.
Previously, she recognized her shortcomings and the stumbling blocks to complete union & partnership with the Bridegroom, but she was not ready to go with Him. The Lord is now using these circumstances to draw her out of herself.
We can become comfortable in our relationship with Him, but in Him, there is always more. Because He loves us so much, He will not leave us where we currently are. He is jealous over us and longs for deep partnership with us, and nothing less.
We all have times we are tested in our relationship with Him, and these tests are always to bring us out of ourselves, and into Him. You see, the Lord knows the place of complete fulfillment is always in Him, not in ourselves. Because of this, He will sometimes hide His manifest presence from us. This is a test of our faith. Where does our hope lie?
There have been times in my life that my Christian disciplines, such as Bible reading, studying, and praying, have become stale and stagnant. I did not feel the 'life' in them as I did in the past. I have come to realize this, too, is a test. Have you been there? It's not that we give up these disciplines, but sometimes these disciplines can become ritual in our lives, and even though we are going through the motions, seeking Him just for Himself gets 'lost'. Our disciplines become our God. I have been there.
The bride, in this verse, is beginning to realize she cannot find Him in the place of rest where she has fellowshipped with Him previously; the place that has become comfortable to her. It is here she must make a choice, just as we all do.