What I'm Learning

Inside the embrace

I love the Lord’s pursuit of us, of me. He truly is quite the romantic.

As I write this, I’m hearing it all in my head in a British accent. I guess I’ve been watching too much Elementary these days. But please join me. There is something about the British pronunciation of words that makes things sound so much more proper. (In fact, if you are interested in mastering it personally, here ya go. You’re welcome.)
I love the sound of it, how it seems to inspire a sense of importance on what is being said. I think God’s Word and the way that He pursues us calls for that type of reception in us.

So back to the original point…
God will use any means necessary to get our attention. It’s so humbling to think of the days/weeks/months I go without a wholehearted pursuit of Him and yet at each turn, when I bring a piece of my heart and a little of my attention, He is there. Ready to reveal Himself. Ready to remind me of His grace. Mercy. Faithfulness. Love.

A part of me squirms as I write this, battling the inner voice that tells me that so much more is required of me in order to really hear from the Lord. That I must jump through the standard hoops of religion and process in order to get back into His Presence, as though bargaining my way back into His favor.

When truthfully, it’s quite reversed. (insert British accent again) He has done what religion and process demanded and has offered me unconditional favor through His Son’s sacrifice and resurrection. All I have to do is come. Deute.  He is there, desiring my attention and time, not shamefully scolding, but passionately beckoning me to come closer so that I can hear all that He is saying, all that He has to share with me.

How often have I dragged my feet, putting off my return in fear and regret when what really was waiting for me was joy and fulfillment? What gracious response is next that I have yet to receive in my shame and hiding?

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” -Ephesians 3:17-19

The riches of His love…that we would explore them and know them personally. That we would be willing to travel the path of resistance through that regret and fear to return and find for ourselves the personal grace and mercy and abundant love that God has for us individually, “to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” To not just hear the sermons and read the scriptures from our removed position, but to walk into His embrace, the prodigal coming home, and learn from the new vantage point of His arms. That is where we get to know His heart beat. That is where we know that He really knows ours.

This is the passionate pursuit I am taking about. The God that hunts down prostitutes and prodigals every single day and invites them to His church. To be His church, His bride. That’s how we got here. Did you not know? Did you not know that He pursues your unfaithful heart every day, that you may possibly turn and catch a glimpse of Him, the real source of whatever you are searching for…hope, peace, significance, love, redemption.

What I have considered my life verse for a long time now- Proverbs 3:5-6- refers to acknowledging the Lord over my own understanding.  The word ‘acknowledge’ means to call to one’s attention a personal knowledge that only comes from personal experience.

It’s the ‘inside the embrace‘ vantage point. It’s the place of honor that we have been called to as sons and daughters who believe that God sent His Son Jesus to redeem what was broken and separated. And to return us to our rightful place, a relationship with God.

A return to His embrace.

It is there I find clarity.
My chaos looks more like a process.
My pain looks more like  purpose.
My fear looks more like opportunity which I can choose to press through.

It is there I find peace.
My anxiety doesn’t scream so loudly.
My worries are dwarfed in His Presence.
My doubts are welcomed and addressed-not always answered, but heard – not anything I need to keep hidden any longer.

It is there I find love.
The love I have longed for all my life.
To know like Hagar that God is the God who sees.
And more than that, the God that runs and chases after me.
That I am cherished and my value is expressed by the cross.

It is there I find out who I really am. It is only there that I can really see me, who He created me to be. But it is also there that my goal changes. Because in light of His Presence, I don’t need to be known anymore. I am known by Him and that is enough.

I forget this outside of the embrace. I forget a lot. And for this reason, and perhaps a million more I will never understand, God continues to pursue me. To lovingly remind me of Who He is and what He is doing, if I will join Him again.

How fitting that the Lord would speak these words to my heart as this year is almost over, the year that He called my eyes to settle on and into the word embrace. Symmetry. The Lord bringing things back around to what He had already spoken and is still speaking- what He has done since creation – bringing order to my chaos.

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