Read His Words Before Ours!
I woke up today and struggled to put my feelings into words. For a person who loves words, failing to figure out which ones to use only added to the loneliness of the moment.
As I thought, a picture of the ocean tide going out came to mind.
That. I was feeling that.
How does the beach feel as the tide heads back to sea, taking with it anything not strong enough to anchor itself in the sand?
Does it recognize something is missing?
Does a sense of loss and an inability to hold onto the waves cause it to tremble?
Does an awareness of uncovering surprise it as the ocean breeze makes contact with the wet soil?
As the beach imagery provides words for my emotions, it also reminds me of the treasure trove revealed in the absence of those salty waters as the
waves run out and sea shells glisten on sandy shores. The ocean picture of runaway tides and hidden shells reminds me that while I may be feeling much like the beach at low tide, I have hope.
Good things, God-things, are found in the midst of these emotions.
Good things, God-things, are found in the faith that sustains us in the wake of raw, uncovered, and alone.
This hope is found in one Place, in one Person, the Presence of God.
Jeremiah 29:13-14 says, “‘You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you’–this is the Lord’s declaration.” How many times I have held onto this promise, and seeking Him, knowing He would faithfully allow me to find Him.
I’m sitting here humbled by the Lord’s promise not only to be found by me when I search for Him with all my heart, but to dwell within me. Because Christ came to earth and died for my sins, I am able to interact with Him directly.
This was not the case for those believers living in the days prior to His arrival. In fact, leading up to Jesus’ birth, the Israelites had no prophetic voice communicating the heart of the Father for 400 years. They had promises of the Messiah to come, but no present-day prophet through whom the Lord would guide and lead His people.
The Holy Spirit did not indwell them individually; a priest served as the intermediary between a believer and the Lord through the sacrifices required by the Law. Until Christ became our perpetual sacrifice, the Israelites lacked consistent access to the Presence of the Lord in their lives.
But oh, how they reveled in the joy of His nearness when His Presence visited! David danced with abandon before the Ark of the Covenant as it was restored to Israel. When was the last time you danced with joy, and I mean more than quiet toe tap to a song with a good beat? This dancing sprang up within David as an outrageous act of worship, totally disregarding social norms. David sought only to please the Lord and rejoice in His Presence.
Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, also experienced the impact of the Lord’s nearness. The baby in her womb leapt as the baby Mary carried, Jesus, drew close. I’ve never been pregnant, so I can only imagine the surprise and delight at feeling a child within dance. This must have been far more noticeable than the butterflies and kicks a soon-to-be mother feels.
As the first Christmas arrived, the shepherds were unaware of the nearness of the Lord’s Presence, but what must their responses have been when an angel appeared and brought the glory of the Lord with him? Years of silence ended as the host of heaven sang praises to the Lord.
The first Christmas ushered in the grace of access to experience the Almighty’s presence directly within our souls if we surrender our hearts to Him. When we seek Him with all we are, we will find Him. He will make His home with us. (Ephesians 3:17)
In those moments when an aching void turns your world dark, come to Him with your raw and uncovered and alone. Come with your bereft heart echoing mourning Israel’s exile cry,
“Oh, come, oh come, Emmanuel! “
Come with your longing for God with us, our God whose nearness is our good.
And in your dark waiting, hope in the assurance your Emmanuel is near!
Dance with David, John the Baptist, and a few surprised shepherds, and delight in the Presence of the Lord who came near!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!