Saturday, March 17, 2007

Come Away With Me

Tangible things in times of intangible dreams and hardships can bring such encouragement, pleasure and even healing. A friend recently shared that she planted a garden and when the flowers “bloomed in their season” what great joy it brought her.

The smallest flower, a sunny day, a little hug, a special dessert, a heartfelt card, a beautiful song, stillness, quietness, laughter, a look, a smile, “the stop and smell the roses” kind of moments that slip away so quickly and quietly. Yet, often in those very moments is when you sense the touch of eternity. But do we sense them? Are we aware of them? Do we stop, take notice and appreciate?

The key to touching these eternal things is in the sensitivity. All tries to desensitize us. The fast pace, demands, influx of information, noise, disappointments, rejections, fears, sin and struggles. It takes more and more to make us feel, to catch our eyes, to cause us to hear. Yet in silence, in the stillness and slowing down is when we actually might hear the voice that is still and small that desires to sensitize us to the things that really matter.

The God of quietness and rest, the God of peace is wooing us. He has prepared a Garden of Eden for each of us, a place He desires to come and meet with us in the “cool of the day”. “Where are you?” He questions. Usually the answer is we are hiding because of shame over some sin or some lie the enemy is telling us. Or maybe we are too busy taking dominion and “doing” all the things we are supposed to be doing. However, it doesn’t really matter where we are. What matters is that He is coming looking for us and even notices that we are not there.

Isn’t that what we want? Don’t we want someone to come looking for us and to want to be with us? Even if you answer “No” to that, the truth is the “No” only comes because for so long you have desired it, but life has taught you that you are undesirable. Still He desires us. Always, always, always He pursues. Every book in the Bible shows us this truth, if we will see His real heart and not the mean, disconnected, judgmental God that we have created because of our issues or that others have created for us.

Why do we keep so busy and allow so much noise? Why can’t we be still? Are we afraid of what we might feel or hear? Of course! Why are we afraid? Because we do not understand or comprehend His desire for us and the fact that He truly enjoys us---the good, the bad and the ugly. “Who told you, you were naked?” He asks. It doesn’t bother Him, He is very well aware. After all He is the one that fashioned you. He didn’t want you to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because than you would compare, measure, feel inadequate, prideful, and have a wrong kind of wisdom or knowing. Life, the Tree of Life and all of the other trees, are delightful and desirable to eat from.

The character of God that is often overlooked yet verse after verse and chapter after chapter of the “Good News”, tells us of His lovingkindness and mercy. Jeremiah 9: 24 says, “But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth, For in these I delight.”

Jonah ran from preaching to the Ninevites for this reason… he confesses, I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. (Jonah 4:2)

We cannot receive or comprehend this because we are so different. We love when it’s convenient or when we “feel” like it but withdraw our affections when others don’t measure up or meet our needs. What an injustice to God that we limit Him and our perception of Him to be like us. He does not withhold anything from us for any reason, especially His affection and love. He has done everything He can on His part, our only part is to repent and /or respond to Him with open arms.

What if in the garden, rather than hiding Eve would have run to God and said “I messed up. I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat from the tree but I did and then I made Adam eat too. Forgive me.” Would things have worked out differently? I don’t know, but I do know she would have had shown she truly knew God’s heart, because she ran to Him when she messed up and took responsibility rather than away from Him blaming everyone else. She would have shown that she knew although He is righteous and holy and has standards, that He also is compassionate and forgiving and waiting with open arms. (Lk 15:20)

Allow the Lord to sensitize you in this season. Allow Him to draw you away and delight in you. Let Him in. As you do, you will come to life in all the dead areas. He will love you into life. As He does it will awaken you to the good realities of life that are all around. You will begin to touch, taste, see, notice and appreciate anew. This awakening in the awareness of the smallest things will begin to bring you hope, joy, laughter and just plain peace and pleasure. Come away with Him, beloved. He is drawing you.