I am going through a particularly difficult season these days. Self imposed really, and all my fault I must admit. I made the mistake of telling the Lord I want to be a closer friend with Him. I am burning to Hear His voice more clearly. In Him are all my fountains. All my fullness. And from there, I enjoy all life that is before me each day. With Him…
I do realize I see things a bit differently than many at times, but I can certainly relate to the apprehension and outright fear expressed by those who resist drawing closer to our Redeemer.
As I have heard articulated recently by a well known minister, faith and fear are both grounded in the same belief. That belief is that something that has not yet transpired shall occur. The reason so many of us are afraid of intimacy is because we envision the outcome.. and that perceived outcome brings fear.
But His word says that perfect love casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18)
Why then do we resist Him?
Let me tell you a story:
For years I walked in darkened thinking, believing that my Savior was interested in my behavior. So I made sure I was a perfect christian. And I was. They have a name for those elite and specially anointed children of God, gifted in the manner of all perfection.
Make no mistake. I loved the Lord. Intensely. I wanted to please Him. I longed for Him to say to me that He loved me dearly because I was so faithful to follow His Word. I yearned to hear Him say to me “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I memorized verses. Entire chapters of scriptures were at my command. I preached with great religious indignation to my classmates, neighbors, family and friends. I didn’t drink, indulge myself, swear or violate my temple. And to top it all off, I was able to recognize when He was speaking to me from time to time… in the areas I allowed Him to. There was only one issue. A minor point of contention, really. Hardly worth mentioning.
I didn’t know His heart…at all…
But who cares, right? I was perfect. Almost.. just one more area of perfection away from hearing the Holy Spirit finally say to me “Ok David. Enough. You are My image now. My vessel of righteousness, and have done it all right. I am well pleased with you.”
I memorized scriptures to support my cause. Not unlike Paul, I hunted down all who spoke of grace, carelessness and above all, freedom. The Horses of the Apocalypse had nothing on me. I was a dreadfully religious site.
Note: All scripture will be filtered through the eyes of our perception of the Author.
Since I had no understanding that I was already fully pleasing to Him, every verse I read spoke only one concept to me. Love and acceptance are earned. Because of that, the Sabbath rest that comes from resting in His love eluded me. It was a ghost, a shadow that had no figure in front of it. Whispers of acceptance would creep into my head and be dismissed as lies. To say I struggled with contentment would be akin to one saying a brick was thrown into the air and “struggled” to take flight. It was all beyond me. I lived in the melancholic twilight of the shadowlands. Saved and….. lost.
And so, one day, I sat looking out the window of my room. Tears streaming down my cheeks as I pondered on a revelation that was given me, having asked the Lord to give me a sign of His love, a sign He accepted me. On that spring day, on my 20th birthday, I had the single most life-changing conversation with God I ever had up to that moment.
“David, how many hours do you pray right now to Me?”
“Several. Lord. I pray many hours every day. You know this.”
“And you know I will love you more, the more you pray and spend time with me, yes?”
“Yes, Jesus. That is why I do it. I love you.” I replied.
“David, that means if you do nothing for the rest of your life but pray to me, 24 hrs a day, then there is a limit to how much I can love you.”
That was it. A limit. The end. No mas. My mind reeled and my heart broke. Grief, loss, and hopelessness flooded every fiber of my being. Straight from His mouth. I can never be fully loved. I struggled to lock my door even as great sobs racked my body and I convulsed in pain and rejection. I wept for a long time there in my room.
And then He spoke to me again. One sentence that would forever galvanize the desire of my heart and focus my thoughts no matter where I am or what I am doing. One sentence:
“David, find out who I AM.”
At that moment I realized that somehow, in some way, all the purifying, all the gold of my heart I had refined, all I had learned, memorized and decided was correct was in fact, dross. I didn’t know how or why yet. I had been struck down to the ground. My Damascus road was before me, and like Paul I had questions. But, all the answers are in His Word.
“ Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation…” (Col 1:21-22)
So, what is the point of my story? The fear in me was that if I sought the face of God, more than works, I would not receive His love. The false belief was that He wanted rules more than a relationship. This is not so.
We are complete in Him. We are holy, without blemish and free from the accuser’s lies. The kingdom lies in us. (Luke 17:20-21) We walk under His banner and the word on that banner reads “Love.”
There is a King that reigns within you. A Lion inside the pasture of your heart is roaring the sound of His affection toward you. The Redeemer made His abode in His redeemed. The only thing that stops us from experiencing the reality of that truth is our thoughts, beliefs, and actions that draw us away from that rest. We cannot escape the jealousy of His love. We are hopelessly enveloped in it.
So why is this season so difficult? Ah yes, back to my original thought. The closer I meditate on His love; the more I sit and be still in Him, the more I allow my mind to agree with who He says I am to Him, the more pain I feel. What pain is that? Two-fold really.
One. It is a pain that comes from wanting more and more of Him revealed to me. I call this “Zeal.”
Two. It is His pain I feel toward His children who don’t know how loved they are. I call this “Touching the Father’s heart.”
And I wouldn’t trade either for anything I may have in its place.
So, in the end, I suppose I shall continue to make the “mistake” of seeking His Face, His communion, His friendship. But I’ll never again seek His love. It’s already in us… and it’s not going anywhere.