There’s always more … always a deeper place in God where we are drawn ever closer into His heart. We are at the same time thirsty yet filled. This is the great paradox of knowing He is here and yet seeking for Him more and more.
Yes, we know that Jesus said He will never leave us and He never does. (Mt.28:20, Heb.13:5) Why should we try to find Him when He is right here? Sometimes we just need to change our mindset and say, “Thank You for being here. I love you. Speak to me.” This truth has saved me many times from the enemy’s lies about isolation and abandonment.
But at the same time I find myself praying, “I know You’re here … but please come … come closer .. remove these veils so I can see You, feel You, hear Your voice.” Prayers like this do not come from casual worshipers. They come from hearts that are so in love with Him and so rightly addicted to His presence that they will die without it. We are not meant to just ‘take it by faith’ all the time. His heart longs for intimacy with us more than we could ever long for Him. He wants to reveal Himself to us. (John 14:21)
How can we be near Him and yet long for more of Him? Ask the Apostle Paul. He cried out “Oh that I may know Him.” (Phil.3:10) This was late in his ministry, after he had written a large portion of the New Testament. Surely he knew God by that time!
Ask Moses, who cried out to see God’s glory. (Ex. 33:18) And this was after all the miracles of crossing the Red Sea, of being fed with the bread of Heaven, of being in the very presence of God face to face on a mountain that shook like a volcano with smoke and fire!
Ask Job, who paints a picture of a God who plays hide and seek. (Job 23:9) Absurd? No, not really. Think of hiding Easter eggs and chocolates for your children. If you really didn’t want them to be found, you could dig a hole in the back yard and just bury them. But there’s no fun in that. So you hide them in conspicuous places for the little ones and a bit more obscure for the older ones. Then you watch them squeal with delight when they discover them. The fun is in the finding. (Prov.25:2) God does play hide and seek with us at times. But He doesn’t hide from us … He hides for us. He wants to be found by us. Then there are times when He hides so we will seek Him and come further into the deep places that we wouldn’t otherwise want to go.
Another reason why it sometimes seems so hard to find God’s presence is because there is always a battle for intimacy. It’s often a battle to get there and also to stay there. Our enemy hates this most of all and seeks to draw us away from the Lord in any means he can. Never give up in frustration. If you don’t quit, you win. The angels in Heaven worship in the midst of His glory. What else could they do? But when we, who dwell in this present darkness, choose to worship and love Him even when we can’t see – it touches them deeply. Even the Lord Himself is moved by your determination and love for Him.
There is a sense in which hunger for God is never ending … because there is always more of Him to discover. When our hearts become so sick with love and longing for Him, (Song of Sol.2:5) He fills us to overflowing with Himself and satisfies our deepest hunger. But even then we will realize that in the process He has expanded our hearts so that there is now room for even more of Him and this cries out to be filled as well. And so it goes on and on, this hunger and filling and hunger and filling until He transforms us into the very image of Himself. (2 Cor.3:18) He will never stop until we become one with Him. Nothing less will satisfy His heart … or ours.
If there is such longing in your heart for Him that you feel you will die … that you cannot think of anything else … that food and water or any earthly pursuits can’t satisfy – know that you are in the company of the great ones who have gone before you. (Heb.12:1) They are cheering you on toward the goal of intimacy with Him, to be closer to Him than anyone ever yet has been. And at the finish line you will run into His waiting arms and never be apart from Him in any way again. He is the goal. He is the great reward.
And if you don’t feel this hunger, this longing? Ask Him for it. It’s a gift He wants you to have. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst … for they shall be filled.(Matt.5:6)
In the times we are now in, it is crucial that we know His voice. This can actually determine our victory or defeat. If we do not know His voice, we can easily be deceived by the darkness.
Intimacy with the Lord puts us in a position of leaning our head upon His chest … of being close enough to even hear His whispers. Spending so much time with Him causes us to know His heart and to more quickly discern what is not from Him.
Once we are so bonded with Him and have that on-going communication, His words to us become the foundation of all our lives. Any opportunity that comes can be more easily discerned to be His will or not. The first question is always, “What did He already say to me? And does this conflict with what He said?” That will simplify and cancel many things that are not from Him. Other things may be His will, but for another time, not now. And some things are more difficult to discern, causing us to seek Him for direction. But the place to find this is in His arms. His goal is always relationship, not just handing out answers to problems.
Learn to listen carefully and separate His voice from other voices. Beware of the voice of condemnation. It is never from the Lord The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin so He can remove those things that hinder our relationship with Jesus. He will often speak quietly to us, although sometimes He has to speak louder to those who don’t listen. He deals with things we have done or basic attitudes and mindsets that do not line up with His … things that offend Him and are harmful to us since they separate us from Him. His heart is so entwined with ours that He grieves for us when we go the slightest bit astray. His purpose is always redemptive… to restore us to intimacy with Him.
But condemnation is always from the enemy. It attacks your inner being. It’s not so much about what you did but who you are. Whenever you hear things like “You’re so bad, worthless, stupid, You can’t do anything right, You’re never going to make it, Nobody loves you, God doesn’t even love you” – be assured that this is condemnation and it is from the enemy, never from God. (Rom. 8:1)
There are depths in the realms of God that can only be known by those who choose intimacy with Him. There He will communicate His heart, even more than His words. He will tell you who you are to Him and how He loves you. You will be bonded to Him in love and trust. He will awaken your spirit to the destiny He has placed within your DNA. That destiny is to be His, to be with Him both now and forever and to fulfill your individual callings here in this realm. As you draw closer, locking gazes with Him, you will see eternity in His eyes and your place in it.
So many times I have asked Him “What do you want me to do?” And so often the answer is, “Just come into My arms and let Me love you. Let me make you into My image, into who I’ve created you to be.(Gen. 1:27) Then, when you are ready and strong enough to bear My glory, I will place you where I want you and you will simply “be” My witness, My light, My peace or whatever is necessary in that place. You will be as I am – a light in the darkness, calm in the storm, hope in a place of despair…” (1 John 4:17)
As soon as you can find a quiet place with no interruptions, just see yourself in His arms. Let Him hold you and quiet you like a child. Ask Him how He feels about you … how He sees you … how much He loves you. Let His words wash over you and enter into your spirit and change you into the image He has of you.
The warm breeze and the turquoise waters of the ocean had drawn them to the beach that day. They were a happy group of friends, splashing and dunking each other and laughing above the noise of the surf. But there was a quiet longing in the heart of one of them. He couldn’t quite identify it … like a feeling of deep calling unto deep. (Psalm 42:7) Slowly he submerged under the water and entered another realm where the quiet was tangible. He could still hear the voices of his friends up on the surface but they seemed muffled now and far away. Floating effortlessly in the warm waves quieted his thoughts but the longing only increased. So diving deeper he swam out further until all he could hear was the ancient peaceful sound of the sea surrounding him and restoring his soul.
There are times and places where we are able to shout and sing at the top of our lungs and dance before the Lord in abandonment as David did. This is a place of high praise where we can communicate with Him the way He designed. But there are also other times when we are restricted by people or situations and quietness becomes necessary. Quiet worship is designed by God as well. These times can actually be much more intense and intimate. Now it’s His turn to talk and our turn to listen.
There is a place so deep in Him that it goes far beyond earthly language. It’s like swimming in the ocean. The deeper you go, the quieter it gets. When you are wrapped in His arms, words are not always necessary. There is a much higher form of communication. It is Spirit to spirit, thought to thought, heart to heart. And it is very clear and easy to understand. It is the language of eternal love.
You were programed to be on the same frequency as your Creator. His sheep know His voice. You are His and He loves you. He is always right beside you. Don’t limit this to trying to hear His audible voice. That may happen but it’s not the only way He speaks. More often it’s the quiet inner voice of the Spirit within your spirit that you must learn to listen for and trust. That brings us back to relationship and intimacy once again. Funny how everything comes back to that, isn’t it?
Since God is very creative, learn to listen for His voice in unique and unexpected ways. Ask Him to open your spiritual ears. Develop the art of becoming more aware of Him, His Presence, His voice all through the day. You will find Him speaking to you through the voices of your friends, your spiritual leaders, children and of course through His Word. He will suddenly grab your attention with headlines, billboards or anything that’s available at the moment. In the Old Testament He even used a donkey! (Num. 22:22-33) Before you watch a movie, ask the Lord what He wants to show you and you will be amazed at all the prophetic parables you would have otherwise missed. You may be walking through the mall and hear a snatch of a love song and realize it’s Him singing right into your heart. That goose-bumpy feeling and the unexpected lump in your throat is a clue … don’t dismiss it as nothing. If there is a sudden rush of His presence and tears spring to your eyes, that’s definitely Him and not your imagination.
His ways of speaking to us range all the way from the slightest faint impressions – which are all too easy to miss – to full blown, high definition, inter-active movie type experiences where you have a starring role!
Speak Lord, for we are listening.