Are there times when you feel so far away from the Lord and His purposes? Or maybe you observe someone you care for deeply, and it seems they are so far away from Him?
Several years ago, I took an online poetry course and was given an exercise to write out my thoughts using prompts of 2 photos and a word for each. I was surprised at the “expression” God brought from my heart, as I “explored” His stirring within. (The prompt words were “exploration” and “expression.”)
Where I had felt that distance for myself, and for my loved ones, God revealed His presence so very near:
He covered himself in white
Before he escaped the city
Led him deeper
Deeper than he'd planned
The forest called his name
Like honey to a bee
And like those gone before
He lost himself in light
In a world of green
There are those who fear the dark of the forest. Their comfort comes in the wide open spaces. But there are also those who look longingly at the deep shade of forest trees. Exploring the verdant growth stirs a longing in their hearts. And the Light of Life beckons them to taste and see what gifts our Creator would share within the canopy.
I have been on that journey of exploration. I thought I craved the wide open spaces of health and vitality. But something called to me from the forest of pain. A voice from above, a light from within, and a stirring deep in my soul joined to echo the Living Word’s call to follow Him.
Would I allow His Spirit to lead me on that path?
Would I allow His heart to cover mine, to find His compassion, to uncover His jewels sparkling with the Light of Life?
My prayers rose from within the pain. From within the dark tunnel there shone a light. Hope was born as the pain pressed me deeper.
My body trembles
As I stare down the tunnel
I am covered in green
Yet the dark of trees
Looms large in my mind
What expression will they pull
A song rises stronger
Than any dark I might feel
The Singer of Songs bids me
Join Him in love
Alive in a symphony of light
Here in His doorway
Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! Romans 15:13 MSG
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:12 ESV
Studies from the servants of Christ who have gone before us, linger as encouragements to let His Word sink deeply in our hearts. In the places of suffering, where we least expect Him to be, we find His hands open before us:
“We found it. Where we least expected it. In a despised place. In a lonely place. Where we lost ourselves. Very near us — where we hid like Adam among the trees.
[… ] We will go. To God in Christ. For all He gives. To dwell with Him. To learn of Him.”
“We found it in the fields of the wood;” (Psalm 132) at Kirjathjearim, which signifies the city of woods; being built among woods, and surrounded with them: here the ark was twenty years, (1 Samuel 7:1) and here David found it; and from hence he brought it to the house of Obededom, and from thence to Zion. (1 Chronicles 13)
Christ has been found in the fields of the wood; in a low, mean, abject state, as this phrase signifies: Ezekiel 16:5 . The shepherds found him rejected from being in the inn, there being no room for him, and lying in a manger ( Luke 2:7 Luke 2:16 ); the angels found him in the wilderness, among the wild beasts of the field ( 1:13 ); nor had he the convenience even of foxes and birds of the air; he had no habitation or place where to lay his head: Matthew 8:20 . And he is to be found in the field of the Scriptures, where this rich treasure and pearl of great price lies hid: Matthew 8:44 . — John Gill.
As Anna and I have shared our prayers and our thoughts together for this book, and especially this chapter, Anna shared precious words about these poems and Scriptures:
The dark of trees is His purposed overshadowing. Even that tunnel speaks of those “trenches” and “entrenchments” we were sitting with recently (in a previous day’s posting) and asking God to redeem and dig His way through. He takes us into places we can’t see any way out because He wants to become our Way out – He wants us to get to that place where we can “do” nothing, so that HE will pull the expression of His love and grace from us, as He opens the doorway of light to us.
How can we intercede for the Body of Christ, without becoming One with Him in His suffering? Without carrying the weight of His love for those whose bodies and hearts and souls are locked in a state of disobedience? And yet this intercession from Christ’s heart is a place of deep humility that we can only arrive at as we too are convicted afresh of our own state of disobedience without His saving grace, of our own desperate need for Jesus to become our Way out.
For Him to become our obedience in our disobedience, our ability in our inability and our yielding trust in our clenching distrust. It’s here Christ reminds us, as we pray for the salvation of others that He, “is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward [each one of us], not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV).
As we knock upon the door of His heart again and again in our weakness and need, He reveals His Word to us, filling us with fresh hope, faith and love. As He opens our own eyes and ears anew to His saving grace through His Word, He persuades us to trust Him to open the eyes and ears of all those He has called us to intercede for also. He rises to stand within us, expressing His love to us, in us, and through us, as He reminds us:
no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17 (ESV)
Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; Deuteronomy 7:19 (KJV)
Are you facing a dark tunnel today? Is your body trembling over what lies ahead? We would love to have you join us in prayer today, as we lift our hearts to Him:
Dear Heavenly Father, Sweet Son of God, and Gentle Holy Spirit,
Thank You for the gift of Your overshadowing Presence among us. Thank You for leading us into the very places where we will be pressed more deeply into You and Your truth.
Will You forgive us for the times that we have resisted Your leading, for the times we have assumed You were far away, for the times we looked away from Your deepest heart of love?
We are drawn now into Your heart of compassion. We long to hear Your expression, Your songs being sung over us, Your light of Life shining upon us. Thank You for Your call that is even now going out into the whole world.
We lay our hearts bare before You, and we ask You to show us how You have led us to these lonely and impossible places to reveal Your power and might right here. Thank You, our precious Saviour, for reviving hope in our prayers and intercession as You have become our only LIVING HOPE.
We praise You our Faithful and Loving Lord. You are ever present in all of our moments, shining Your light upon Your precious children, the jewels in Your hand. And we rejoice in You, our treasure and pearl of great price.
In Your name we pray,
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not suppressed it. John 1:5 (CJB)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. I John 1:7 NIV
For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:2 (ESV)
“Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
Mattityahu (Mat) 7:7 CJB