Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.
Relational Drift... It seems at one time or another, every friendship, every marriage, every relationship experiences it... it's inevitable. Circumstances can add to the challenge. Whether someone said something they shouldn’t or didn’t say something they should’ve, all relationships have days or seasons in which they cool.
25 years ago, my wife Robin and I would stay up on the phone, often late into the midnight hours. Three states away, it was the best we could do. Back then there was a “meter” on the phone. MCI and ATT charged by the minute. There were times we couldn’t wait, and there were times we were tired and didn’t really want to talk. Over the years we have found many favorite places to “be together”.
There is a great remedy...
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
We have several hundred acres in our back yard. For years it has been my sanctuary and one of the places I can go to meet with God. He whispers to me, I worship or bear my heart to him. A few years back, I was walking into the woods, taking my first steps away from the house and into the canopy of big hardwoods and I noticed... something had changed. I felt like God “wasn’t there”. Now of course He was but not in the same way He had always been. The place I had so often retreated was no longer the retreat my heart so deeply enjoyed. I asked God, “What's changed, where are you?”... HIs whisper was, “I want you to find me somewhere else... Come after me, and find me in a new place.” A sadness landed on me first, then a curiosity. What happened in the days ahead was training on how to Seek. God wasn’t saying He didn’t want to meet, He was saying, I want to show you something else, seek me and I will show you.
I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
God was drifting away and inviting me to come after Him. Like a parent who backs away from a toddler wooing them to leave the safety of the coffee table and take steps into their arms, God was inviting me to move toward Him... engage my time and seek his presence elsewhere. Over the next days and weeks I did just that, moved to other environments and what He did was take me deeper into a discipline I needed... writing. God moved our time from us walking in the woods, enjoying the paths and scenery to sitting in a chair, writing, studying, exploring together. Books are written that way. Oh, we have returned to the woods, it is still one of “our” favorite places but finding His presence in other places has brought more Life and Love to my heart on this journey.
Absence does make the heart grow fonder… but there is nothing like Presence to make the heart grow settled.
Dear God, Holy Trinity, THANK YOU for seeking us. THANK YOU for coming after us, for rescuing us, redeeming us, and now restoring us into more. We praise you and thank you for your relentless pursuit of our hearts... for wanting us back, winning us back, delivering us from darkness, and carrying us into light.
Father, we declare your glory and goodness. Like a father wooing his child to come to him we come to you now. We come trusting you will catch us, you have us, your arms are the safest place to be, and we seek you for rest and for settledness.
Jesus, thank you for bringing us home. Giving us a place in your Kingdom, making us alive through your defeat of sin and death. You are our Savior, you are our King. We declare your glory, strength, and love and take our place in your Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension. We give you claim to our lives, and we turn our hearts toward you, taking steps of faith to know you and experience you more deeply.
Holy Spirit, we love you and thank you for continually coming after us. Thank you for guiding, counseling, teaching, and comforting us on our journey. We declare we need you and depend on your presence. Thank you for never leaving or forsaking us. Thank you for training us and working in and through us to see hearts free.
Dear God, we pray for eyes to see and ears to hear your loving pursuit of us and for the ability to see and hear our enemies' attempts to pull us away, to turn the drift into separation, the routine into religion, and the familiar into boring. Thank you that in the midst of your love you invite us to Seek and to move toward you in this fallen place. We proclaim your glory, power, and strength over Satan and all his work set against us. All the work of the kingdom of darkness to wedge or separate us from you is cast down… we wield the authority of heaven and of the Lord Jesus Christ against all forms and all voices and all presence of darkness in our lives and cast them away that nothing come between our hearts and your heart God.
We take our place this day in the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we seek the face of God and love of God for our hearts and all those who need you God; and we can help seek your love and your Kingdom. We pray, dear God, your power and love over all the invitations and encouragement going out for The Heart of a Warrior Weekend coming next month. We pray men would seek you and find you in that time and space. We pray you would woo men’s hearts to get away with you and encounter You and the Larger Gospel and the glorious expanse of your Kingdom reign and rule.
We pray all this in the name and power of the name above all names, Jesus Christ, in whom we have all Life and Goodness, settling our hearts and reminding us of home.