Friday, November 8, 2013

A closer walk

I am weak but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

From an old traditional hymn, Just a Closer Walk With Thee

God is sovereign, powerful beyond my mere mortal understanding. And I am weak. Even my weakness is beyond my mere mortal understanding. Can I draw close enough to Him to absorb by osmosis (or by some other means that I can’t understand) just a scintilla of His strength? Can I touch the hem of His garment and get all I need?

Yesterday was rough for me, especially last night. I was thinking about Mike, thinking about the early days, and I followed it through to how it ended, how he died loving me. And I cried, nostalgic tears but also tears of gratitude, tinged with sorrow. I thanked God that I could still be grateful, despite the grief.

This morning I sat at my kitchen table in prayer. I had a feeling that I can only feebly explain—it was an incredible sense that the Lord really was there, listening to me, being with me. I began to pray, not in a distracted, detached way, but with real fervor, almost a sense of urgency. I realized that I had clenched my fists and told myself, no, I can’t clench my fists, I can’t try to be strong on my own; I must be with Him and rely on Him from a position of receiving. So I prayed with open arms.

I poured it all at His feet, told Him I wanted to draw closer and closer to Him, to rely only on Him. I can’t do any of it on my own. My ideas for what I expected my life to be have not materialized. I want to believe in Him with all my heart and I want to know that my truest joy will come with unwavering trust in His plan for my life, not my failed plan. I don’t want to fear the winds of change or fear facing the rest of my life alone. I want to be able to withstand the grief that life throws at me, knowing there is something much better beyond this frail human existence.

All the while, my arms outstretched in supplication and tears running down my face, I still had a nagging doubt about my sense of God’s presence. Was it real? And the words, “I am with you always,” came to me, unbidden, like vapor in the air. And I felt compelled to open the Bible.

I opened my big ESV study Bible—thousands of pages—to exactly the page in John 16 where I read these verses:

 “Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33

 It was such a moment of pure grace. I have never so strongly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. “It’s true,” I said. “It’s really true—God exists. How could I ever have doubted?” I laughed and cried, thanked Him, and asked Him to let me keep this assurance until the end of my days.

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