IMG_1462Psalm 129 : 2 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth;
Yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed on my back;
They made their furrows long.”
The Lord is righteous;
He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.

Spoiler Alert: This post is going to be a long one…

Since the winding down of the year has properly set in and I have allowed myself to let go, as if the foundation of my house suddenly became hot rubber and all the most delicate china started tumbling and crashing from their shelves. I spent three days crying uncontrollably and indulging the cacophony of head until I finally called halt and decided to let a few things go in order to cope. I, of course, called it fasting and gaining perspective, because those sounded a lot nicer than just not losing it. I decided to “get serious” with God about what He was saying.

I have often secluded myself like this. Part of my coping is shutting out everyone else and retreating into my head which I religiously often sugar-coat as a fast or a retreat. It never lasts. I crack after 12 hours and want to eat food and find excuses why I needed to do the things I decided to give up for said time. Praise God, I sat down the night before, got my journal out and wrote down my commitment. No phone, no social media, no music, no social appointments outside the house for four days, and on the first day, I kick off with a full fast (no food just water). I just want to add the disclaimer that all these would have meant nothing if I hadn’t spent time in the Word, listening and praying…but mostly listening.

Day one kicked my butt cataclysmically. I came home from work a wreck. I had heart palpitations and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. No sign of God talking to me. I took a nap, which I hoped would shut my head up and take care of my anxiety. I woke up just as groggy and anxious and went for a walk in the forest.

God has been speaking to me about my coping mechanisms and has waged war on them a while ago…I apparently did not take Him seriously. He has also been speaking to me about Christ as my hope. As I walked into the pine forest, I couldn’t find peace. I ended up going off the road and stood in a patch of saplings. They smelled fresh and their furry needles provided a nice covering and as I stood amongst them I sincerely felt safe. For some obscure reason I started praying in Korean, which I don’t usually do, but because of my limited Korean, my regularly lengthy prayers turned into a simple prayer:

God, I’m alone. I want to be alone, I don’t want to be alone. I’m afraid. Help me. Help me. 

Nothing happened. I made my way home navigating my way to the exit by walking downhill, when the voice came: “Where is the Mountain?” I turned around and looked up the incline, but I couldn’t see the mountain, because all the trees were obstructing my view (even though they are much smaller than the mountain). The voice came again: “What will those little saplings do for you? How will they help you? They are fragile themselves.” I thought, “Great, but what do I do now?” and the answer followed: “Come, sit with me.”

Psalm 129 : 2 “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth;
Yet they have not prevailed against me.
The Lord is righteous;
He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.

I spent the day delving into scripture about hope. I made this giant document with a list of scriptures containing the word hope. I mean I KNOW Jesus is my hope, but why is God telling me this now? Why won’t He just give me an answer? In-between I only listened to worship songs that dealt with Jesus and who He is. Not how we feel or how miserable we are without Him. Just who IS He. Concretely. I felt so convicted. God gave me a lot of scripture that obviously spoke to me. He wanted to move my perspective from my circumstances (which die with my physical body) and to focus on the real promises that should matter to me more than my life.

OK, but what about the answers I need NOW? Are they not importnat? Do we just hang out on earth and wait to die? God showed me that He cared about both. I had mixed emotions, but asked God to deal with me as He wished.  To move all of me to where He wanted me.

 

By day three I started looking for Christ as the Bridegroom. I always loved those scriptures in Song of Solomon about how the Shulamite goes into the city looking for the groom, because she cannot bear to be apart from Him. I am far too proud to ever allow myself to feel that way about someone, much less communicate it, and here was God revealing His love and desire after us. The language of the scriptures is passionate and without pride.

Isaiah 62: For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace,

And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
And her salvation as a lamp that burns
.…And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So shall your God rejoice over you…

I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem;
They shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
And give Him no rest till He establishes
And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

 

Here is the Mighty God, creator of the universe, chasing after my unfaithful heart like Hosea after Gomer. Urging me and constantly reminding me that his desire is to be united with me, to dwell with me for eternity, and that He has every intention of keeping His promise. That He has never abandoned me and that He never will.

 

John 14:2-32 In My Father’s house are many mansions;if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

So what is this Hope that I have?

My hope rests in the fact that God made me to be in relationship with Him. He cares for me and provides for me and loves me (this is the bit I was comfortable with). My Hope is that as Jesus Christ made good on His promise to sacrifice Himself in my place, so will He be faithful  in restoring me, in setting me free, in causing me to see and the love-message, in coming back for me.

Luke 4: 16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[j]
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”[k]

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them,“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

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