GOD’s Message came to me. It went like this:
“Get out in the streets and call to Jerusalem, ‘GOD’s Message!
I remember your youthful loyalty
Our love as newlyweds
You stayed with ME through the wilderness years
Stuck with ME through all the hard places
(from The MESSAGE translation)
I was brought to tears as I read the aforementioned passage of Scripture in my favorite translation of The BIBLE (NASB), but for some to get the full impact of what our LORD was saying, I used the Message translation.
I had to go back more than 40 years to remember what it was like to truly be a newlywed. The times when I didn’t know how to cook, so it took me all day to plan a meal made mostly from cans. He never once complained, and looked at the meal I had prepared for us as if he was sitting down to a feast. The times when we sat and talked to each other. We would sit down on a Saturday afternoon to talk about our past week and upcoming plans, and wouldn’t notice until it grew more difficult to see each other, that hours had passed and night had fallen. And though we had hard times and deep losses, we stayed together, because we were committed to each other. Both of us had married our best friend. For many years we clung to each other, until life got between us, and the husband of my youth stopped clinging.
It was during the years of being alone, that my Beloved GOD, WHO I always knew as ABBA FATHER; became my FRIEND (Prov 18:24) and my COMPANION (Isa 54:5-6). I had always loved HIM as ABBA (Gal 4:6-7), but when I grew to truly know HIM as The ONE WHO loves me (Jer 31:3), The ONE WHO drew me to HIM with cords of love (Hos 11:4), The ONE WHO protects me (Psa 121:5-8, 2 Thes 3:3) and The ONE WHO lifts my head (Psa 3:3), I fell in love with HIM. I wanted to be wherever HE was. I understood King David’s proclamation “I was glad when they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psa 122:1). I experienced the same longing for HIS presence as King David (Psa 42:1-2) and the prophet Isaiah (Isa 26:8-9). HE became my strongest desire (Psa 73:25-28).
As I travelled through many valleys filled with the shadows of death, HE was right there with me (Psa 23:4). When I experienced hurts so deep that I could not cry out, HIS Holy SPIRIT interceded for me (Rom 8:26). When I traversed deep waters, HIS presence gave me peace; When I went through rivers of difficulty, HE did not let them overwhelm me; When I walked through the fires of trials and tribulations, HE kept me be from being damaged or destroyed (Isa 43:1-2).
Through all my wilderness years, those rough years of drought and famine, HE has steadfastly held me with HIS strong right hand (Psa 18:35, Psa 63:8); HE has kept me hydrated and full of fruit (Psa 1:2-3, Jer 17:7-8). Through all the rocky places in my life, HE has made me as surefooted as a doe (female deer also known as hind – Hab 3:19). I closely followed HIM through it all, because HE clung to me in faithfulness (Deu 7:9, 1 Cor 1:9, 2 Tim 2:13). My constant prayer then, and continues to be “let me never lose my first love for YOU, nor forget the fullness of joy in YOUR nearness. Yet let my love for YOU, continue to grow stronger and deeper throughout all eternity.”
As you read this, and you are no longer experiencing the closeness of GOD, or you are feeling empty; go back and reflect on the time when you were first “in love” with HIM, turn back from where you are now (Rev 2:4-5); call to HIM, HE will hear you (Psa 4:3)!
Hear my cry, O GOD;
Give heed to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to YOU when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For YOU have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
Let me dwell in YOUR tent forever;
Let me take refuge in the shelter of YOUR wings.