Thursday, April 10, 2008
Come Away With Me ...
I love Spring in Korea. It explodes onto the trees and bushes. Literally! On Saturday morning, the cherry tree outside my window had one spray of blossom open. By Sunday night, the entire tree was in full glorious bloom and by another week, it will be another memory for the year.
The two views above are the views from my classroom window looking back over the school. There are 5 weeks between the two pictures. The snowy winter picture was taken last month (March) and the picture below was taken on Monday (April). Seasons in Korea change like the flick of a switch. These pictures say a lot to me because they illustrate one of the threads that God has been speaking to me about.
Approximately 4 weeks ago I was leaning on the playground tunnel tubes watching the children play, while on duty. (I was also having a "tired" day and the tubes were propping me up!) There was still a winter chill but there was a decidedly Spring vibe in the air. As I looked around, I could see no sign of Spring. Everything was brown and barren. There were no buds on the trees. There was no green anywhere. A cold wind was blowing and I was rugged up in my winter coat, scarf and gloves. I had a definate sense of God speaking to my spirit and saying, "Winter is over. Spring has come." My mind went to Joel 2:21 - 24
"Be not afraid, be glad and rejoice. Surely the Lord has done great things. Be not afraid for the open fields are becoming green. The trees are bearing their fruit. The fig tree and vine yield their riches. Be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers - both autumn and spring rains as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain, the vats will overflow with new wine and oil."
Some of you (myself included) have been through a long dry season. It's seemed barren. You have wondered "how long"? Perhaps you have gifts that God has placed within you that are not being used. Perhaps you have dreams that are unfulfilled. Perhaps you have wondered if God has forgotten you! It may even seem that you are like Joseph - languishing in prison with dreams and hopes and gifts, and you see other people released while you are passed over, forgotten. What do you do? Well, to start with, here are a couple of things:
1. Know you are not forgotten.
Joseph told the cupbearer, "do not forget me" ... and he did. He was released and promptly forgot about Joseph. However God did not. Joseph was not forgotten even though an insiduous voice was probably whispering in his ear, "you are forgotten. No one knows you are here ... you are going to die down here Joseph ..." Joseph was NOT forgotten. God knew exactly WHERE he was and WHO he was. He was being prepared. Joseph had an appointed time and an appointed destiny! YOU are not forgotten. God knows YOUR name. He knows exactly where you are. He knows your appointed time and your appointed destiny. It was written in his book, before one of your days came to be (Ps 139). You are fearfully and wonderfully made, on purpose, for a purpose.
Isaiah 54 says, "Sing o barren woman, you who never bore a child. Burst into song and shout for joy you who never were in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman, than her who has a husband." God often works in paradoxes. What does this verse speak of? Fruitfulness. If you are barren, SING! Worship! You WILL be fruitful.
3. Be present.
Another verse running through my mind while in Cambodia was, "Be here. The King is wild for you." Let me put that another way.
The KING is wild for you.
The king is WILD for you.
The king is wild for ...
The word "wild" comes from the hebrew word "hwa". It means desire, covet, wait longingly, wish, sigh, want, be greedy for, crave, prefer. Do you have any idea of how much you are loved? God is not just, "oh, I really like her/him". He is absolutely madly, deeply, passionately and wildly in love with you. We need to learn the art of being present in our moment. Right here, right now. Not to be crass here, but imagine making love with your beloved. Part of the joy of it is being present in the moment. Imagine how betrayed you would feel, if you became aware that your beloved's thoughts, feelings and emotions were somewhere else completely and not present in the moment with you. This is where we are. Whatever the season. We are right here, right now. Be here. And be loved. I wrote a song a few weeks back - one of the lines is, "be present in this place, life is wonderful ..." It is. No matter the season. BE in it.
4. Come away ...
Huh? Weren't you just saying be present? Yup ... and now I am saying come away! Remember, God works in paradoxes! While in Cambodia, I kept humming the line from the Norah Jones song, "come away with me". I read this in Song of Songs 2:10-13
"my lover spoke and said to me, Arise my darling, my beautiful one and come with me. See the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come. The cooing of doves is heard in the land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come my darling; my beautiful one, come with me." See! The King is WILD for you and he longs for you to come away with him.
This coming away time is preparation time. It's not dead time. It's pruning and refining time. Hosea 2:14 - 16
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards and will make the valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came out of Egypt."
So, in all of this this morning, what am I saying?
Whatever season you are in, have hope. Come away with Him. Be present in the moment ... and ... Sing baby, SING!