When I was a child, I remember praying for 'the Lord to come into my heart' everytime I had messed up or fallen short. I thought I needed to ask Him to come, again. and again. And then at some point I shared that idea, and was guided to the verse Hebrews 13:5 which comes out of Deuteronomy 31:6. The truth in both was that the Lord spoke over Israel, and over us,
"I will never leave you."
I could trust that He would not leave me. I believed that, and I still do.
I remember another point in my youth, teenage years, when in my prayer life I would often pray, "Lord be with me". And at some point, I was guided to the idea that it was silly to ask for that, because he said, "I will never leave you." So why include that in my prayers? I can be confident that he won't leave, and therefore, he is with me.
But this past Christmas season, this past year, it has dawned on my differently.
After reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis again as an adult, I saw some truly amazing truths depicted throughout the stories. One of them was the true wonder, awe, amazement, bewilderment, and terror that filled their hearts when they were able to look at Aslan. Even when they spoke his name, told his stories, whispered their hope in his coming. It filled.
I have always struggled with connecting 'beauty' to the Lord, even I know He is beautiful. (I understand this is a strange leap, but hang in there.) I also feel that as I embraced what is feels like to long, to desire, to wait for Aslan to come, I was able to connect that to the Lord. The heart connection was made, and when I read the last book, The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, it clicked.
In the last book, the characters are faced with the idea that what if Aslan IS NOT what they think? They answer one another,
"What lies before us? Horrible thoughts arise in my heart. If we had died before today we should have been happy."
"Yes," said Jewel. "We have lived too long. The worst thing in the world has come upon us."
Those thoughts arise in my heart some days too. The enemy tries to whisper to us that our Lord doesn't love us, isn't for us, and isn't with us. Some days we fight hard against all that we see with our eyes that makes us wonder if the lies are true. But friends, they.are.not.
The one thing in the world that makes their hearts sing is Aslan. I wish I could describe to you what a heart stirring feels like, how suddenly it makes sense to long to see Jesus. How suddenly the beauty of Heaven becomes clearer in a glimpse of the heart & mind & the soul sings. Oh, how we long to be with you, Lord. Oh, how my heart it burns for you, Lord.
So I've decided. Emmanuel, GOD.WITH.US. I will begin praying for the Lord to be with me in 2015. Why? Because my heart longs for Him. Because it moves me to tears. Because my.heart.it.burns. Because isn't the separation from our Lord the one pain that will continue on until we are reunited in Heaven with Him? So even though I know, I trust, I believe that He.is.with.me and that He.will.never.leave.me, I will be praying. Oh, that you would be with me. That you would come.
"They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us as he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?""
Like the lion Aslan, that our hearts would burn, sing, ache, long, and be filled. Like the lion Aslan, that we would be confident in you. Confident in your coming, confident in your goodness, confident in your wildness. Without doubt that you will come. As a certainty in our uncertain world, that we could behave a little differently.
That it would make our heart burn & stir & ache within us when we call out to our Lord, who is & was & always will be. Emmanuel, God with us. That His presence would always inspire awe & humility & love & our everything.
May the God of the universe be with you as you move into this new year. May the Lord bless you and keep you. Make his face to shine upon you and bring you peace. Amen.