In retrospect, I admit that I didn’t expect much upon my return to God. I thought it would be more of the same: fruitlessness; stagnation; no comfort beyond the immediate; more silence; more unanswered prayers; more fruitless reading of the Bible; no guidance; no direction; no transformation; nothing. As the hours turned to days, I apprehensively wondered if there could be more. What comes after salvation, I pondered? Might there be more that I was missing? How come He had pursued me so fervently? Surely it wasn’t to park me off to the side, was it?! Had I missed something my first time around? My spirit was restless. Could there be more?
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart – Jeremiah 29:13.
This verse would have elicited a scoff from me in former days. Can God be found? Can God really be found if sought after with all our heart as He spoke through the prophet Jeremiah? For those of us that fail to ‘see the light’ so to speak, does that mean we have not sought Him with all of our heart? How can an omni-present God who is everywhere be this elusive to find? How can a God said to be reaching out to humanity to save them be this hard to find? My heart pondered many things as I turned over questions in my mind and mulled over weighty matters, trying to make sense of it all.
I remember sitting quietly in my bed at home when it occurred to me to search the internet for some hope, some insight as to what more God could have for me. I turned the world wide web upside down searching for more of God, and everywhere I looked, the message seemed to be that God speaks, and that I would have to hear Him for myself in order to know what to do next (Psalms 32:8– He will instruct you in the way to go). ‘God speaks’… How much more ambiguous could it get? It’s the first time I’d ever heard this emphasized, making me think there had to be some truth to it if all these people are experiencing it. YouTube was the most effective channel as I listened to countless testimonies of people testifying how God gave them direction on what to do. I marveled at regular folk just like you and I hearing God with perfect clarity, hope began to arise within me at this possibility. ‘And they were saved by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony’ (Revelation 12:11).
I commenced the laborious task of finding out how God speaks. I decreed fast after fast to seek His face week after week. Every single day I was off and at home, I fasted and sought His face. My spirit was hungry and I needed Him in His fullness so I could get direction from Him on how to rebuild my life. Taking down notes, I listened intently to sermons by the Great Generals of Faith –Smith Wrigglesworth, Charles Spurgeon, Dr. Myles Munroe, and most notably, Derek Prince. A pattern of how God speaks began to emerge, including how to confirm that it is His voice you are hearing by cross-referencing your rhema message to the Logos word, which is how I came to the realization that God had been speaking to me all along and since I had no idea, I was just calling it ‘a weird feeling’, ‘odd sensations’, ‘promptings’, ‘heartstring tugs’, ‘inexplicable knowings’ etc. I was amazed at just how long God had been speaking, taking it all the way back to that very first day of my crisis, probably even beyond that!
I remember the dusk when my Lord said to fast the next day; my savior and I were only weeks into our new walk. I kept hearing ‘Esther’ all day long. When Vanessa called for our evening devotion, I told her that I think God was telling me to fast like Esther did. God was whispering about making me a queen while I was sitting crownless in the ashes and rubble of my burning house! Perceiving my thoughts, He whispered back ‘beauty for ashes’.
In Isaiah 61:1-3, the prophet Isaiah prophetically speaks for Christ the Messiah, proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor to the children of Israel: ‘The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord that he might be glorified.’
Now I have always fasted in my life because we were raised that way. And when the busyness of life took over and we could no longer fast corporately as a family unit, my loving dad stood in the gap and fasted for us weekly until heaven called. But on my own, my usually weekly fasts were generally out of habit, to show gratitude to God for His goodness. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time I was being asked to fast expressly by my Lord. The week prior, I had watched the movie ‘The War Room’ and had subsequently cleaned out my closet and turned it into my War Room. And so I spent the next three days fasting and praying in my Lord’s presence in my prayer closet. I read the book of Esther and asked for spiritual revelations. I set an alarm 3 hours apart so I could stop whatever I was doing in order to pray: 6am, 9am, noontime, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm, midnight, 3am… The 3am was the hardest but I’d also heard that is the most powerful hour in prayer, so I dragged myself out of bed and paced up and down my living-room in a half lucid state muttering my petitions to my Lord.
I read Isaiah 61 and sat in my Lord’s presence as He bound up my broken heart. I sat quietly in His presence as He replaced the darkness that engulfed me for His freedom. I lingered in his presence as He traded in the oil of joy for my mourning, taking the spirit of despair and clothing me with a garment of praise instead, taking my grief and giving me His comfort… I was physically weak by the end of day three, I remember I lost my voice as my throat was parched for water. Yet my spirit-man was strengthened as the spirit quickened my heart to scripture verses I’d known from days of old that were only now coming alive. Tears streamed liberally down my face in the privacy of my home as I wandered about my house thanking my Lord for his daring rescue, because I am sure of this: ‘I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living’ Psalm 27:13.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart – Jeremiah 29:13. As I write this, I see that I did seek Him with all my heart, and he rewarded me by answering my prayers and giving me guidance and direction on what to do next, step by step. It took isolating myself away from everybody. It took silencing many other well-meaning voices. It took stealing away quietly to hide away with Him and search for Him. It took rising up early before daybreak so His light could shine through. It took quietening my body through fasting so my spirit could be stronger to hear His voice. And I’m only realizing this now as I’m writing this post. For Him to let Himself be found by me, I did seek Him with all my heart… ‘If you seek Him, He will let you find Him’ (1 Chronicles 28:9). You seek, He lets you find Him –which is why grace remains. ‘But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 6:14). All by grace and grace alone.
Why is it different this time? How come there’s a spark, a connection? Again, all I can point to is His grace. I couldn’t have earned it, and I most certainly was not deserving of it. I don’t know why He favored me, but I also know that when he quickened my heart to His supernatural colliding with my natural, I did my part by going to the door and answering it; today of you hear His call, harden not your heart (Hebrew 3:15). This makes me wonder how many other people are not hearing His call? I don’t even have to wonder if he had knocked on my door before and I had hardened my heart, I know for a fact that He did and I did not answer. When I lost Emma, He knocked (it appears we’re most prone to hearing Him when our hearts are broken). I didn’t open the door then because I didn’t think it mattered. He had done His part by allowing me to conceive, it’s my body that had rejected my baby. My not opening the door wasn’t because I blamed Him, no, God was always good, just indifferent; and as such, I didn’t expect He could do anything for me.
God is knocking at all our doors dear Reader, He has to be! The Bible says He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, Romans 211), what He does for one He will do for the next person as well. If you’re tempted to think God shows favoritism (Romans 2:11), they you need revelation to the Father’s heart, for He loves ALL his children equally. He is knocking on your door too, listen intently and you will start to discern His gentle yet persistent voice. Pray for Him to reveal Himself to you too, cry out as if your very life depends on it -and it does. I know the Father draws men unto Himself (John 6:44); I would never have been found by Him otherwise. He’s drawing you unto Himself too, of that I am sure. Reach out and touch Him, put your hand in His and let Him lead you into the abundant life He has prepared for you.
He fought for me in the battle over my soul and won for me. He didn’t stop there but kept whispering for me to seek Him; He wanted to be found by me! O loved ones, how He longs for us… He created us for communion with Him; we mustn’t keep dishonoring that desire, leaving Him out of our lives. And while the truth is that He was chasing after me all along, the plot twist is that I now chase after him, my heart panting after Him as a deer pants for water. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with Him?” Psalm 42:1. Indeed, where can I go to meet with Him? I desire more of Him than my heart can bare. He is my delight. The psalmist echoes the depth of my love for my Lord in 116:1-2 :-
“I love the Lord because He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. And because He has inclined His ear to me, I will praise Him till I have no breath” – Selah