Thursday, August 12, 2010

Intimacy

There’s someone who has been in love with me for many years. This man is loyal, true to his word, and though I don’t understand it, he loves me despite my weaknesses and flaws. He looks at me with such tenderness. I’ve never known anyone who displays such infinite patience towards me.

I claim that I love him— but I often pursue other lovers, thinking they can offer me something he can’t. When I return to him with a shattered, bleeding heart, he embraces me and still longs to pursue me.

He stretched out his arms on a cross as he gave his life for me. That’s love—better than the kind portrayed in the movies. What more could I want, right? I claim that I know and love Christ, yet at times I look for someone else to fill the deep desires of my heart.

The pursuit of “other lovers” only temporarily satisfies us before we become discontent. Fill in the blank: I would be happy if __________________.

If what? If you were married....? If God healed your child from cancer? No longer struggled with that sin...? No longer had to deal with your controlling mother-in-law...?

God is whispering (or perhaps shouting!) to you: “Am I enough for you?”

What if the only thing we had was Him?….if He stripped us of everything…would it be enough? Would we still praise him, even if our eyes could see no blessings? (Is Job or Paul coming to anyone else’s mind??)

“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” –Phil. 4:12.

I wish I could say “yep, I’m finally living out that verse.” But the truth is, I let silly little things get me down and before I know it, self-pity (discontentment) is creeping in.

The Lord has really been working on me these last few weeks, impressing on me the importance of intimacy with Him. He died on that cross, not only for salvation. But also for intimacy. He doesn’t say “bye, see you in heaven one day….” and then forsake us. No, he longs for us to truly know him. To walk through each day with him, not just representing Him.

I’m still trying to figure out what intimacy with my Savior looks like. But I know there are two key ingredients: Biblical meditation and continually talking with Him (involving Him in every aspect of my day, which is easier said than done. How easy it is to get distracted and be self-focused!)

I’ve been excited to share these thoughts with you all (I spoke about this at staff devotions this morning as well) and pray it somehow affects your thoughts/actions. Feel free to comment with any thoughts you have.

This past weekend, when my soul needed a boost, I was encouraged by a quote from Amy Carmichael--a young woman from Northern Ireland who traveled to India to be a missionary in the early 1900’s. Imagine Jesus walking hand-in-hand with you down a path as he assures you of His love. Place your hand in His, wasting no time deepen your relationship.

Trust me, my child…Trust me with a fuller abandon than you ever have before. Trust me, as minute succeeds minute, every day of your life, for as long as you live. And if you become conscious of anything hindering our relationship, do not hurt me by turning away from me. Draw all the closer to me! Come, run to me. Allow me to hide you, to protect you, even from yourself. Tell me your deepest cares, your every trouble. Trust me to keep my hand upon you. I will never leave you. I will shape you, mold you, and perfect you. Do not fear, O child of my love, do not fear. –A.C.

handhope

Inspiration came from a variety of sources, including Leslie Ludy, Paul, and Max L.

1 comment:

Joe Loves Kim said...

Outstanding, Ashley!! Many graduates of seminary do not understand that concept. Thanks for challenging our proverbial "socks" off!! Good job for following His leading and trusting Him. You amaze us!! You challenge us daily!! Thank you for the challenging application for our lives. Keep up the great work.

You are gifted at capturing images!! We love this most recent "handhope." Your pictures are covering our walls of our house. We ordered large canvas prints of about 7 of them. We are so grateful that the LORD allowed us to meet!! CHEERS!!