Derek, August 2 2018

A Return to the Garden

The initial evidence is a holy dissatisfaction. Expressed in laments such as, “There must be more. Is this really it?”

Easily labeled as frustration, tension, discontent, unsatisfaction — there’s another more accurate description: hunger.

Wake up hungry. Go to bed satisfied.

This was the early language the Lord gave to us as we stood in the kitchen of our new home, in a new town, after we had relocated our family on a gentle whisper of the Spirit.

We cried out, “God, what are we doing here? Why did you ask us to leave our family and everything familiar?”

Wake up hungry. Go to bed satisfied.

The request brought to the surface another reality — I wasn’t satisfied in Christ. As I read the Scriptures, clear in their instructions, “Those who drink of Me will never thirst again.” I realized just how thirsty I was, and it had been this way for a long time.

I believed the principle of satisfaction, but I didn’t yet know it personally. I wanted it as desperately as a man dying thirst, but I had to admit I’d never tasted it for myself.

We began to sit in an inbetween space, refusing to move until God made good on His promise.

I refused to discount the Scriptures, instead I questioned my own offering. What else can I give, where else can I sacrifice, what else needs to die? I died slowly for the next six months.

God answered my cry for satisfaction with revelation.

First, I’d been stuffing myself with inferior bread. Temporary meals to take the edge off of my hunger, but never able to satisfy. I couldn’t wait for God’s bread to show up in His timing, so I filled the space with meals of my own volition. I never allowed myself to get hungry enough for God to be able to satisfy me.

The core of my impatient eating lay in a root of unbelief. There are layers and layers to unpack within that statement, but for now let’s leave it as it is.

Second, satisfaction finally came once the Spirit took me deeper on basic truths I thought I already knew.

The Song of Songs love of Jesus. I just didn’t truly understand it before. And once I did, it changed everything.

The John 4 woman at the well revelation, “Come meet a man who told me everything I’ve ever done.”

To paraphrase her account, “Come meet the first man to actually know me. I finally found someone I can belong to.”

Satisfaction began to come when I put down inferior, self-made husbands in favor of a Lover designed especially for me since the beginning of time. One whose fragrance woos me away to our secret place. In His arms I finally feel safe enough to travel up His mountain of suffering love. Whatever it takes, I just want to be with Him.

As I ascended the mountain, with no tangible proof of safety, comfort or understanding, He began to burn inside me. A burning bush unlocked inside of me. A promised land awakened by all consuming fire.

“I only have eyes for You,” was the cry evoked from the deepest, innermost parts of my being. I was no longer man in search of satisfaction, I became a bride set on fire, as I yielded everything to this furious fire until it didn’t even feel like a sacrifice anymore. (Song of Songs 8)

What was it that caused me to turn aside and put down my task at hand? Wonder. What drew me away? Wonder. What kept me hidden away in this secret place for so long? Wonder.

Could this be the One?

“Could this be the One,” is the cry of the woman at the well. At first glance not the strongest declaration of faith, but it is one of deep wondering.

Could this be the One I’ve been waiting for? I must turn aside from my current path and task to find out. I. Must. Turn. Aside.

I must rearrange things to make room for this new possibility.

I must nurture this seed of wonder now awakened within me.

It has captured my attention. It holds my gaze firmly fixed.

My wonder was not betrayed. It was in wonder that a perpetual place of praise was opened inside of me. (Ps. 100:4)

A constant sentiment of gratitude, no longer based on personal preference, self, comfort, circumstances or any of the temporary things which used to dominate my reality.

I finally knew that He was the One, He was enough. He was not a witholding God, distant and indifferent, waiting an arms length away until I earned His delight through obedience.

The nearness of His delighting Presence set me free from the never ending treadmill of getting somewhere else than I am right now.

I Arrived, Into a Garden

I was not trying to one day arrive in a place — I had arrived. Into a garden. A final destination found on the inside of me. A garden for just the two of us. “Don’t leave,” He whispered in affectionate longing. “Tend our garden with me.”

A promised land locked away on the inside of me, made for just the two of us to live out the rest of eternity together. Never to tire of each other’s company. Never out of season. Never to grow old or stale. Free from the monotony of routine. Every moment new, better and more satisfying that the last.

My purpose finally found in a garden.

It’s not good for man to be alone. So I’ve made for you a partner.

Out of this garden reality came a new rest I’ve never known before. A place of seated intimacy, where storms and dust and rust can’t reach me. An unshakable carriage seat, with cushions covered in crimson and angelic warriors on every side.

“Come away with me.” I now understood what He meant.

“You’re home with me.”

I finally found where I belong.

A place where hunger and satisfaction meet. It’s both a garden and a mountain. As I’m consumed by fire and carried away by a river. Authority and rest exist in equal measure. And most amazingly of all — I learn that my gentle words spoken by a bride to her Husband, in the secret of covenant marriage, do more damage than my warring sword ever could.

This is the city of my Living God.

And His rule will never end.

Come take it all Yahweh. It’s not enough, but it’s everything I have.

You’re worth the sacrifice.You’re worth the surrender.You’re worth the sorrow.You’re worth the wait.Yahweh, You are worth it everytime.

In awestruck fascination we heard Him say, “Don’t look away. See what I’m going to do next.”

I can’t help but wonder…

He grins as He beckons me closer, into another embrace, “Welcome Home Son.”

Recommended Reading:

Exodus 3 (NKJV)Psalms 100 (Passion translation)Song of Songs 8 (Passion translation)John 4 (Passion translation)

Written by

Derek

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