The blog today is inspired by the arrival here of a young man who has gone through many things in the past few years that have left him in need of ‘time out’ for rest and recuperation. As we have talked and he has shared his journey with us, we have been reminded again of the tender loving care of our heavenly Father, and the kindness that he showers upon us in our times of turmoil.
We have been struck by the fact that when we have been beaten up by the circumstances of life, the Lord does not always change those circumstances but walks with us in them. Psalm 23: 4, ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff they comfort (strengthen) me.’
Sometimes, there are seasons in our life when there are shadows over us that don’t seem to shift. We pray and ask for deliverance, or wisdom, or a way out of that valley, but it just seems to go on. In these times more than any others it is important that we ask, as we were saying yesterday, who is God for me in this situation and what gift does He want to give me.
Listening to this young man it has become clear that the Lord is saying in answer to those (in this case unspoken) questions, firstly ‘I am Emmanuel’, the God who is with you. In other words this is not all happening because God has left you, or because you have done something wrong, or because you haven’t had enough faith. The Lord silences all those accusing voices with those words ‘I am with You’, or more emphatically, ‘the I AM is with you’. Secondly in answer to the question ‘what gift do you have for me?’ I believe the Lord would say, “the gift of being able to ‘lean’ on Me.”
Walking through our valley’s ‘leaning’ on the Lord is an incredible part of our heritage in Christ. We hear resonance of this in the Song of Songs 8:5, when the friends ask, “Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?” Learning to let go and ‘lean’ on Him when we need to, in those seasons of life that are like a wilderness, works something in us that we may never fully understand here in this life. We just know that in these times our ‘new life’ in Christ can grow deeper and stronger. ‘For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all’. 2 Corinthians 4:17.
As we have talked today it has become clear that the key to being able to ‘lean’ in these times is all about ‘yielding’ to the Lord; about expressing our trust in Him by thanking Him that He is with us, that He will never leave or forsake us. Hebrews 13:5, and that He is with us to comfort us. As we do so, it keeps our hearts soft towards Him, and enables us to know, somewhere deep inside, that it’s OK at this time to just ‘lean’.
I am so grateful that in these times we don’t just hear the harsh voice of a sergeant major, telling us to ‘man up’, but the invitation of our Heavenly Father through the words of Jesus, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28. He also reminds us here that He, the ‘I Am’, is gentle and humble in heart. And as we allow ourselves to ‘just lean’ we find that His refreshing, healing Spirit is at work in our spirit to renew and replenish us, and to lift our weariness ……………………….. in His own good time.