First off, I want to apologize for my almost deafening silence. There are times in life where all of our responsibilities beckon all at once and this is usually when reflection is most needed, and a pause is demanded in order to continue to press on.
It has been an extremely intense summer and as many of you know, there is a time during this season on the Hebrew calendar known as the â€œdire straits.â€ This is a three-week period leading up to the famous 9th of Av, when both temples were destroyed in Israelâ€™s history and also when Nebuchadnezzar breached the walls of Jerusalem. The Bible makes mention of this time in Lamentations 1:3, says, â€œJudah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude; she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place; her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress. â€œ
We had a particularly tough time during this period that truly seemed to coincide with â€œThe Three Weeksâ€ as referred to in Judaism. Pipes bursts, dishwashers flooded, air conditioning unites were in desperate need of servicing, mold began to grow due to water leaks, work problems, health scares, relationship woes and so on and so forth.
Nothing was easy.
Oddly enough though, the solutions to them all wound up being quite simple. The sheer magnitude of everything was nothing short of overwhelming. But the solutions were truly found in simplicity.
There was one more thing that did happen during the â€œdire straitsâ€ that I want to mention. When everything seemed to be falling apart around us, there was a time when God did draw nearer to me than perhaps any other time in my life. This was on a night when I felt the Lord beckoning me to stay up with Him all night. It was something I had never done before, but the draw was so strong, it would have been devastating to ignore.
That night was a night where I was in the Word all night. I wrote about 40 pages in my journal during that 36-hour period. His presence was so strong that I all I can say about it without going into all the details was that His love is so powerful, so pure, so consuming that it can break our minds. Think Isaiah, â€œWoe is me for I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips.â€ His presence can undo us. This flesh is truly feeble and only dust in His presence. His love is so strong that there is no way to stay the same once we experience it. Yes, He accepts us as we are. But His love is far too powerful to let us remain the same.
Its melts away pride. It chases away fear. It restores hope. And it develops an even more intense dedication to His ways and His Kingdom.
This is the love that He wants to reach the lost with. The only â€œproblem,â€ for lack of a better term, is that we arenâ€™t ready to receive His presence and live. Itâ€™s truly something that takes a slow building up to. It makes so much more sense now why the High priests had to have bells on their robes when they entered the Holy of Hollies. Their flesh may not survive.
His presence is love and is truly consuming. Itâ€™s life-altering, heart-changing and perspective-shifting.
So, I just wanted to update everyone with this report, that He is True to His Word. Yea though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear no evil for He is truly with us.
I know many people who have just come through the dire straits and are still dealing with the aftermath of all that hit. I just want to leave you with this Word of encouragement: Keep pressing into Him. Turn off all the distractions you are able to, make time for Him and get into His Word. He has never left us nor forsaken us and He never will. When we seek Him with all of our hearts, all of our minds and all of strength, that is when He will be found.
Many times, the solution is something so simple. In the midst of finding that solution if we seek with our whole heart, He will consume us . . . and when He does, itâ€™s so worth it.
In the Words of Jeremiah:
I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath;
Lam 3:2 he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
Lam 3:3 surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.
Lam 3:4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away; he has broken my bones;
Lam 3:5 he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;
Lam 3:21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
Lam 3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
Lam 3:23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lam 3:24 â€œThe LORD is my portion,â€ says my soul, â€œtherefore I will hope in him.â€
Lam 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
Lam 3:26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.