The tomb was a very dark, lonely and painful place. The fear that comes to paralyze us during those times is something we cannot overcome in our own strength. While in that place God’s still small voice can be difficult to hear and discern especially when the enemy is yelling lies into our ears. For me responding to his voice to get out of the tomb meant making some very difficult decisions. I always thought it was worshipping him through the pain. I say that because I didn’t overflow with praise like I used to. That led me to believe that praise was something I had allowed the enemy to steal from me. Looking back, I now know that was not the case. Had I lost my praise these songs would have never been written. My praise my worship was different, it led me to wrestle with God in the same way Abraham did. It forced me to sift through all the wrong thought patterns an ideas I had about God and me. It required me to fight for what I knew was truth in the depths of my soul. Fighting is never something we want to do and is not something that comes easily, hence it wouldn’t be called a fight. Fighting means resistance, opposition and struggle. My praise and worship during my time of battle was different because of the resistance, opposition and struggle. But nonetheless it was still worship.
Making a difficult decision and trusting that God would take care of me even if the worst happened was me getting up and walking out of the tomb. What happened in the hours and days after that was a miracle. A conviction and certainty that God was with me, would take care of me and loved me immediately replaced the fear, doubt, confusion and feeling of abandonment that had been plaguing me for years. All of a sudden I knew. The weirdest thing is that making that decision should have brought me to despair, but it didn’t. On the contrary, it brought me to a place of peace. Why? Because what I actually did was choose to trust God. It wasn’t so much about the decision (which by the way was not a decision God allowed me to follow through on) rather it was about my ability to trust God with the outcome regardless of what that meant, even if it was something I did not want. I was ready to face whatever came my way because I decided to take him at his word. At that moment He faithfully responded to my faith, the size of a mustard seed, and gave me the gift of faith. I believe – I know - He loves me not despite of who I am or what I’ve done but because of it. Is that not insane and awesome at the same time?!?!?!
I can’t say I feel God the way I used to yet or that we commune in the same way. I still miss that and desire that. But I no longer battle with fear, doubt, abandonment or despair because of it. Instead I am certain He loves me, is with me, is taking care of me and fighting for me. I know He is taking me deeper, though it may not seem like it. I know that He won’t leave me wanting for him:
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD’s Decree. Jeremiah 29:13-14 MSG
I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the LORD. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. Jeremiah 29:10-14 NLT
Here God is talking to the exiles in Babylon. Just like He exiled His people from Israel for disobedience, we can be “exiled” as well. Not in the same way, because we live under grace, but we do suffer the consequences of our sins and the sins of others. Just like there was a remnant in exile, we can feel like we are in spiritual exile during those difficult times in or lives when God’s presence in our lives is not sensed or seen. Although I am no longer “exiled” I am not home yet. He promised to bring me back! He says he will do it because He has my best interest in mind. He also promised not only that I will find Him but that He will restore my fortunes. Wow!!! He is my greatest treasure, He will not leave me wanting. One day (hopefully sooner than later) I will feel him, at the very least the same way I did. But more than likely in an even deeper, more personal and more fulfilling way. I can now wait in expectation and full of hope for that day because of what He has done in my life.
What does all this mean? It means, I am finally out of the tomb and free of my grave clothes. His love is transforming, healing and restoring every part of my mind, soul and heart. He is leading me to his quiet and still waters. I never thought this day would come, but because He is FAITHFUL…it did. The journey promises to be difficult, painful, dark, and lonely. Jesus said we had to lose our lives to gain it. Losing is not easy but difficult. Losing is not something that comes naturally rather something we learn to do by His grace. The beauty in all this is that God promised He would be with us - that we would not be alone - and because of that regardless of how overwhelming the journey becomes, He promises to make it worth it. I for one choose to believe him after all the only one who has constantly failed is me...yet he still loves me!!!!!!!!!
You Still Love Me