“God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble – more than enough and always available whenever I need you. So, we will never fear even if every structure of support were to crumble away. We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes, moving mountains and casting them into the sea. For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves cannot erode our faith in you. When the nations are in uproar with their tottering kingdoms, God simply raises his voice and the earth begins to disintegrate before him. Surrender your anxiety! Be silent and stop your striving and you will see that I am God. I am the God above all the nations, and I will be exalted throughout the whole earth.”
Yesterday, I had the privilege of leading a small group of our area Vineyard pastors in a Spiritual Direction practice called Lectio Divina. I read the passage above from Psalm 46, The Passion Translation. I find it a most appropriate reminder for this day in the US as elections are happening amidst such rancor, fear mongering and public incivility. The very tapestry of our one-of-a-kind culture would seem to be being shredded. What a great declaration, then, from God Himself, that ‘God is above all the nations’ and ‘will be exalted throughout the whole earth.’ I particularly like the wilting image of ‘tottering kingdoms’ as they rattle their swords and breathe out curses.
But more than that, I’m still thinking of the central message of the prophecy that is our Book of Revelation, that God is a jealous God and the Lover of our souls. He craves intimate fellowship with his Beloved as would any lover. So many times during the Old Testament period of the prophets, the message was akin to the beseeching of a heartbroken lover calling to his Beloved: ‘Return to Me.’ Even when Israel was sent away into captivity following centuries of unfaithfulness, the promise of ultimate return to Canaan, the Land of Promise, was upheld. Such a revelation of God’s unconditional love! (in the face of continued, unspeakably horrible idolatry and sinful disrespect).
God is Love. Pure. Enduring. Unchanging. He only knows Love. Not a first love, a second love, etc. When He pleaded with the church at Ephesus to return to the passionate love she had for Him at the beginning, we can sense the near begging in His voice: ‘I miss you! I long for you! Please come back!’ I think it would be helpful for us all to examine whether or not there is a distance between us that wasn’t there in the beginning of our relationship with Him. Can we hear Him calling out to us? And if so, can we feel the renewed rush of longing for that original intimacy, its simplicity, its naïveté of those first days? I feel it. I love it. I’m looking forward to the freshness of spring in Narnia and the sheer thrill of Aslan’s roar. PD