Do you remember what My love looked like when it first began? Did you feel the passion with which I first wove you together, longing for intimacy and fellowship with you? Can you go back to the day My affections for you first sprang forth within My heart?
No, My child, you cannot go there. You do not know those places–sacred and sweet to My Spirit. You cannot got there, but You can trust My words that they exist. They are alive and well and they swell over you every day of your life: Every day that you fail, every day that you experience another little piece of success or joy.
I am there in all those moments and My love is not unknown. I ache for you to know Me in these places. And slowly you are growing into My wish. Your awareness of Me is deepening, becoming a natural element of any situation you find yourself in. Then, as your senses are enlivened, your interest is also piqued. I am behind that.
I love that you are experiencing all these things. My joy is yours as you process through your walk with Me. You are catching a greater glimpse of what it really means to be alive, to be, well, to even be…human.
“You have trained my thoughts in grace, Father,” I intimate with wonder. “Before you took on my need, I did not know how to think with any rightness.” How I know God remembers my error-plagued ways. For years I could not see one concrete evidence of His kindness to me. Nothing that I would initially acknowledge as a blessing remained in my consciousness beyond that first moment or two of experience. I was constantly trying to pressure God into proving Himself to me again: I wanted Him to conform His love to my idea of a good show, a perfect dream.
“My perception of Your love was tainted by all the garbage that filled my soul,” I confess. “I knew nothing outside of contaminated impressions of life and You and me. I was in a really bad place. And it still amazes me that I can tell You these things in the past tense. Apart from You assuming the role of my Neighbor and Friend, I would still be there; the confusion and excuses continuing to reign over me. But, now You are the King.
“And as Your precious servant, I have been set upon a rock solid foundation, where I need not question the origins of my Hope, for there You are beside Me. The conclusion of the story–though I’ve not gotten there yet, I nevertheless know: You have won the victory in my life. No obstacle has stopped You; nothing has made You come up weak–short of the mighty triumph that was Your goal. I have been made stronger internally than I ever imagined I could be. You have given me hope and instructed me in a love-your-God-with-all-your-mind kind of worship. I am free…and I can only think that You are the reason!
“God, I can’t live this dependent on You.” My words are truth–an admission of undeniable need–not a whining attempt to manipulate His hand by way of His heart. “Every day it becomes more obvious: You have set me on a path that is not equal to my abilities. In Your sovereignty over the grand scheme of my life, You were not looking for a way to make my strengths and Your goals compatible. Rather, You have made a way that allows only for all strength to come from You.
“Truly, Father,” I go on, in a tired way. “I cannot pretend that this is easy for me to take. It isn’t. I feel like You’re taking away my freedom. I feel like you are condemning me to death. I can’t escape and I don’t know how to live here either. What am I to do? How am I to continue on this unfriendly-to-me path? Nothing I’ve ever experienced in life presents me with examples of how to handle this latest test. I am helpless, in myself.”
My child, that is exactly how I want you to be. In the greater-than-you difficulties of your condition, you are most present to grace. All your reaching from that place can but be for Me. I know it feels like death to you but, loved one, you must grow to embrace death in My hands just as you embrace life. I am the One who provides for you in both–I am the One who uses both for your good.
I know you don’t want to see good from Me in this way. But, My tender one, it is time. You are ready to face this. You must grow deeper in Me, and this is what is required. If there could be another way, I would execute it. Yet, My still one, you will not truly suffer: The gain you shall receive through this is knowing more acutely the pleasing submission I exhibited in My death. You will understand what gave value and depth to My resurrection.
You will be acquainted more deeply–more feelingly–with My travails for you. You will be consumed by Love in a greater way. You will rejoice–on the other side–for you will know that your God did not hold back from you any revelation that would bless you; though, at times they ran so deep that they exposed your weaknesses.
“Alright, Lord,” I announce. “Rest won’t come to me in slumber and my heart is irritable with my restlessness, so here I lay before You.” With a sigh, I lean into hope: “I don’t know what Your purposes can make of moments like these, but I’d like You to make me a witness of a new form of grace, if You please.” The request is offered in weak faith, yet it is set before a positively powerful and earnestly eager God.
He waits on the wings of deepest night and earliest morning for requests like these. He whispers in the darkness a secret I can’t quite comprehend: I am one who has unconsciously been honored with the opportunity to engage Him at an irregular hour. It is my privilege to lay aside the thought of my own trouble and reach out for His unchanging mercies. As I do so, I will grasp in a new way the meaning of these gifts that wake the morning.
I twist and turn a bit, letting a thought or two of disagreement pass through my mind. I would like to be zapped with an appreciation for this blessed occasion, but the option is not presented to me. The only provision God gives is an invitation for me to exercise faith in what He declares to be true. I must act as though this is a period of time–however long it lasts–in which I can enjoy untold pleasures with my Lord.
He alone knows what may be–will I bank on that and put my heart in His hands? I do, and then He shows me something new–something that chases away all that made me blue.
This for Me, My child, is a perfect moment: My name is on your lips. The difficulty of the moment has sharpened your expectation for Me and there is no way that I will not rise to meet you in the midst of what I have ignited. Yes, dearest one, sleep is far away, but don’t spend your time fretting about it and wasting time. After all, I am up and I want to speak while no one else can yet be heard, lifting their voice in competition with the Divine. Yes, savor this precious bit of silence–the secrets that swim between us will more than make it worth embracing!
“Just thought I would say hello, God,” I breathe. The stillness stirs me up inside; my heart desires His fellowship–communication with Him in the deepest places I possess. “I don’t know what You have in mind for today, but before we begin, could You come and be with me for a while?” This has become a familiar, though not perfectly consistent, refrain of my heart. He hears it and draws near. I don’t know how to explain it, but I can tell that I have His fullest attention; that He is here to be with Me and let Me know Him now.
I am excited. I don’t know any other way of responding. He is gentle and He is quiet, yet I do not find Him boring or unable to relate to my heart. Instead, the opposite is true. He relates to my heart in a manner that bares no resemblance to anyone who has ever interacted with me. He has no match in His ability to draw me out and draw me near, all at once. He handles me as though I were His expertise, as though He could not go wrong with me–could not fail to understand what was right concerning me.
If such things delineated the bearing of someone else I had not yet fully come to know, I think that I should be quite uncomfortable but it is clear that such knowledge and purpose are His prerogative because I am His and have always been His. Truly, I have not known this for any time equal to eternity, but it matters not: He has known and imparts the security of that reality to me in His own way. You see, in being in His presence I have found what I did not know I was looking for; what I did not know was missing or must be relocated; what must be Home. God is here and I know that I belong with Him…so what else could I call it?