Her people will return from exile far away and rest beneath my shadow. They will be a watered garden and blossom like grapes; they will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon. Hosea 14: 7 TLB
I still remember the first poem I wrote as a returned prodigal. I was in the middle of planning a women’s luncheon at my church. I had a hundred details on my mind, when the Women’s Director came to me and said, “I need you to write a poem about a garden.”
I think I looked at her like she had lost her mind.
I thought, “A poem? Are you kidding?”
I’m pretty sure I tried to make up some kind of excuse about how busy I was. I seem to remember telling her that it must have been years (If ever?) that I had written any poetry!
Well, she wasn’t hearing it.
She had a VISION of this luncheon, with potted FLOWERS on every table, and she wanted a POEM for the mini-garden on each table for all the women attending…
One that they could see “planted” in every pot… period!
Baby steps first?
I’ve always thought it strange how God turns us in a certain direction by leading us with baby steps first. And, it isn’t until we are miles down our road of that simple turning, that we begin to behold God’s “big picture.”
What I recall most about that first poem, is how I wrote it in obedience, but with great irritation!
I sat down and scribbled out the following thinking, “There, the poem! Now, can I get back to what is really important?”
The Garden Of My Heart
I am Your own creation Lord; the flower that you’ve made
And I’ll bloom where You have put me; in the sunshine or the shade
I’ll trust You as my Gardener; I won’t holler or complain
I’ll not quiver, but I’ll “Be still…” and in Your will remain
If time comes for You to move me, then I’ll know, You know what’s best
I’ll love You, and I’ll trust You, whatever trial or test
‘Cause, it’s Your will that I want Lord, only You know all the ways…
To bring out the glorious flowers of all my life’s planned days
A Life-changing prayer…
Oh boy, how differently I hear those simple little words today, and laugh out loud at the ME I was back then!
(Yes, I was completely clueless!)
A baby Christian, who knew how to say the right words, but getting the reality of those words? That would take years and years of following Jesus, with many difficult, and heart-wrenching renunciations along the way.
Proverbs teaches us, “Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life.” [The Voice]
It was years into my “so-called ministry,” before Jesus would introduce me to the one KEY person in my life, who would teach me how to pray; not with big words or high-sounding religious phrases, but with a sincere heartfelt simplicity, like a child. It was an eighty-years-wise Jean Kenoyer, who taught me life-changing prayers like:
“Show me my heart Jesus. As You see it.”
In his devotional, Prayers On Fire, Brian Simmons prays,
“Where are You? Sometimes I feel as if you’re hiding. The silence doesn’t beckon and my heart feels dry. I can’t seem to find you anywhere. Come out, Lord. I’m searching for you… release me from this season of bewilderment. Find me. Lift me up, because I’ve fallen in the dust…”
How often over the years, I have wanted my heart to reflect the words of that simple long ago poem, and yet, I have had a heart that was more like the confession of Brian Simmons,
“… release me from (my) bewilderment. Find me. Lift me up, because I’ve fallen in the dust…”
In search of Eden
How easily we Christians can fall into the trap of living out our faith, and our believing, as if we are a mere “show” put on for the sake of impressing others, while inside, our hearts remain dry and dusty, longing for the refreshing rain of His presence.
Lord, set our heart’s on a path back to Eden.
May we long to become like that watered garden once again; walking and talking with You face-to-face, and heart-to-heart, the way it was always intended from the beginning.
In Your love and mercy, draw us back.
“I remembered my worship songs I used to sing in the night seasons, and my heart began to fill again with thoughts of you. So my spirit went out once more in search of you.” Psalm 77:6 TPT
Can’t get no satisfaction?
To two men who were once following him, Jesus turned and asked point-blankly: “What do you want?” What if it is a question he still wants us to answer? What is it you want? What are you looking for? What is it you’d call your deepest desire? What would it take to make you feel alive? We find ourselves in a world filled with many tempting waters said to satisfy any thirst. And yet, our chorus seems to be closer to the old song: “I can’t get no satisfaction.”
Yet the pull of heart and mind for satisfaction is persistent. Saint Augustine famously wrote that our hearts are only satisfied when they are satisfied with God. King David pursued many things passionately, including women, kingdoms, and power. But his thirst was not touched until he fell to his knees and admitted that his longing was for the touch of God. He writes in Psalm 63, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you.” When God is seen clearly, the seeming promises of the world come into focus. “My soul longs for you,” writes David, “in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Jesus once said to anyone who would listen, “If anyone is thirsty, let them come to me and drink.” Generations of thirsting pilgrims have prayed that all would find their way to these real waters: “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”(If you know the longing is real, what might become of it if you turned that restless thirst toward God? What if we lived as if truly knowing that anything that is not eternal is eternally unable to satisfy our deepest thirsts? With joy perhaps we, too, might draw deeply and be satisfied by Christ the King. – Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.
Revival begins the moment we ask
If you are longing for more, God says, “Come…”
And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
Isaiah 58:11 TLV