l have a hallway in my home. It is where I have held my children and often stride its length until they are comforted. It is where I take my little ones’ hands when I walk them down to their rooms in times of needed private conversation. I have no doubt they each know the timing and cadence to my steps, the soft swish of the carpeted floor against my feet telling them how long until our destination is reached. It is where I slowly pace at night, talking with the Lord about the things that are on both our hearts. Praying for my wife, my children, His children…
I have a hallway.
Very late last night, while lying on my bed, I was spending some time with Dad. And then I felt him; my soft, gentle son, Daniel, and I suddenly knew he was awake. In a moment he will have gotten out of bed. I felt his heart and something was wrong. He needed His Father.
Don’t we all…?
With a bound, I was in the dark hallway and facing his door, waiting for it to open, so that the first thing Daniel would see was me. The warm glow of the kitchen night-light threw just enough brightness to cause him to squint and I had softly scooped him up before he truly opened his eyes.
“Daddy.” I took note his one word was not a question but a rather a gentle statement. He reached for my embrace, falling into me.
“My Daniel. I am here. It was only a dream.” Enveloping his body within my arms and chest, I just let him sink into all of me. Within the dimly lit hall, he began.
“You left… and were never coming back. I was waiting for you, but you never came home.”
“Do you believe that is true, Daniel?”
“No, Daddy. You are always home.”
Soon my five year old was back in bed, our heads touching. His hand softly holding mine beneath the pillow we now shared. Once again content. Once again asleep.
You see, Daniel understands already many things about the kingdom. Not once did he stop to wonder why I was standing outside his door at 3 a.m. Nor did he work through the idea that perhaps I would not catch him. He knew His Father would be there. Daniel knew what he needed. He knew where to find me. He knew exactly where I would be.
And here is what Father-God gently spoke to me after I returned to my own room.
Like my Daniel, Father-God’s children know where to find Him. But, why do we leave that place? We welcome His touch, and then are content to go back to the spiritual bed of our darkened thoughts, and wait for the next bad dream to send us squinting and fumbling for His love.
One of the great deceptions we cite to ourselves is the notion that if we have the right spiritual encounter then everything will forever be fine. No more fear. No more questioning. No more uncertainty.
This is simply not so.
No manifestation of His love can make us change our thinking. These encounters are only opportunities. They invite us to forever live in another place, every moment of every day. How often do we choose instead, to experience His love, so that we may then depart and continue to live for the love of others? Not in all areas, and not entirely to be certain. Just a little. Just enough…
No matter how sweet or intimate our communion, this physical realm challenges us to define who we believe ourselves to be. It never stops. If we do not allow His love to be continually drawn upon, we will never fully step into our identity as a child of the Living God.
We are complete in Him. We are adored. We are cherished and His beloved.
We are also rejected. We are also despised. We are conditionally shown love and value based on what others can garner from us. Likewise, we are also inclined to create self-love based on appearance, accomplishments, giftings and even the level in which we engage His kingdom. From this darkened mindset the Church also relates to one another.
These are all counterfeit offerings to determine our identity. All counterfeit forms of true love.
The power of His passion and the thunder of His affection are experienced in our encounters. But our sonship, and what that fully means, is apprehended in our beliefs. Do we accept His unconditional love forever severs our worth from anyone, or anything, or any success or failure? This is where we must lay hold of the hem of His garment. We often chose to live most moments guarding our hearts and building ever increasingly adept and complex distractions so that we do not need to face the reality that we need to heal. We start healing by what we choose to accept as truth.
More often than not, we live a life in which we draw upon Father’s love… as well as the love of the world to fashion a Samaritan form of self-worth.
To which realm will we draw from for our rest? Little by little Dad asks us to come out of the dark bedroom and confess that our fears are unfounded. He crouches there in the dim light of our broken and propped up hearts waiting to acknowledge His love as our final all and end all. Hugging us, holding us, offering to not only take that pain, but to give us His mind and heart in exchange.
We say He loves us. So why are we so often afraid to pray for a stranger?
We confess He is our breath and everything. Why are we pained by others’ unkindness toward us?
We say He is our Rest. Why then, are we truly… striving for spiritual encounters?
Why do we do the things we do? What do we truly believe about our Father’s thoughts toward us?
To be certain, in His presence, His love is perceived and experienced, and it is in His presence we are consumed. This begs the question- why do we not live there continually? If the kingdom is within us, and the Living Fire churning within our spirit-man, why are we not capable of abiding in this reality every moment? Why do we need to run away to “get filled up” and to “get refreshed”?
The answer truly is simple.
It is because it is our spirit that bears witness with His that we are Sons of God. However, it is our soul… our thinking… that is the gatekeeper, and who determines what we chose to dwell on, and how we live and move and have our being.
Our Lord is already right in front of us…inside us, longing to whisper His truth that will dispel the lies and fears and apprehensions. Our eyes wander all about as our soul attempts to find a compromised form of rest in this world and all the while His eyes are only on His child.
Please hear His heart. There is no condemnation in His calling us. He already loves us without condition, and without fault and without blame. Truth does not condemn. It sets us free.. If we allow it to be our truth.
It is the fire of His longing that is forever offered up as a light in an otherwise compromised soul. You cannot “chase God.” He is already here. Inside you. We must come out of our dark bedrooms and into His love and acceptance.
And so in a similar manner the Father who never sleeps is waiting, His heart longing to hear the sound of that door creak, that He too might meet us before it opens, arms wide and in the soft tender mercies of the third watch, affirm His love. A love that isn’t going anywhere.
“Everyone is looking for you.” Simon Peter declared to Jesus.
I can relate to this. Are we, like those who are lost, still attempting to search for someone or something that is already inside our innermost being? We don’t seek Him to be loved. We seek Him to embrace the reality of that love. At what point will we begin to perceive that love all the time? All around and within… His love is pouring from His throne-room. Flowing from within us.
There are no words need be spoken. We simply enjoy each other’s presence. The more we allow our hearts to release to Him, the more we feel His own churning from within us. That surging ebb and flow. The spiritual tide of wordless intimacy we call “communion.”
The Sabbath rest is the peace that comes by accepting we already ARE loved… and then- rejecting anything that attempts to pull at us to deny this truth.
The deepest call our Dad has issued for us is not to come into that hallway so that we can experience relief from our wounds. The call of our Redeemer is not to feel His embrace in the quiet watches of the night. The Spirit of the Living God is not longing for us to partake of a unique and wonderful spiritual encounter. Our Lord is not looking to tell us all our pains and fears were “just a dream” so that we can then go back to bed peacefully. Not at all.
He is calling us to remain.
Stay in that hallway with Him. He is calling us to forever embrace His love and affection and thoughts toward us. His deepest desire is not for encounters. It is for continual, perpetual communion.
Until that dark corridor begins to dawn like the breaking of the day. From that place our embrace with Him will create an ever increasing light that emanates from His being rushing through ours. Like a cold bulb that receives more and more current, we will shine with the Glory of His love. As that light grows, all thing fade. The outlines of all that are not of Him will slowly disappear in His radiance. Everything. No bad dreams, no room, no door. Not even the shape of that hallway. Until all that is left is just a Father and His Child, now and forever one in the dazzling light of His love, forever blinding us to the rejection, the scrambling for worth, and the lies that worldly thinking is constantly throwing at us.
This is what we are called to. Anything less is compromise.
As I write this, I pause to reflect on the realms where I am criticized by others. I stop and think on some areas I know I am grossly misunderstood. I sense where I wish my inner man would express himself better. I feel the drain this is on my soul… because I allow it to be so. Because I have chosen, at this moment, to leave that hallway and attempt to walk out my day drawing from the strength of time spent with Him until I am empty and weary.
Instead, I think I shall go back to the Source of all Truth. I shall return to His never-ending embrace and hear Him say I am complete in His love for me. I desire to live every moment of my life in that hallway. Every moment starts with now…
The rest returns. The peace is tangible. His kingdom all around me, vibrating at a frequency I would be hard pressed to express at this time, but best summed up in one word. Love. I am criticized. I am misunderstood. I am far from perfect. I am often not regarded very highly… and I just cannot seem to mind these realities at the moment.
I am complete. I am loved. Right now, in this Hallway.
I am home.
“Until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 2 Pet 1:9