I awoke this morning hearing the verse from Song of Songs,
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved? Song of Songs 8:5(a)
Many of you have gone through a long wilderness period. I, too, went through a three year wilderness time in the late 1990s. It was the hardest time I ever faced as I navigated my way through what I would call my “dark night of the soul”. The amazing thing is that in the most painful and dark time in my journey with Christ I was given the strength to wrestle down the despair that sought to take my life, in order to find the place of “leaning upon my Beloved”. Then He carried me out of the wilderness into a vast and open place.
Although God is not the author of despair, it is not foreign to even the most spiritual of men and women. Yet, in the midst of wilderness times or dark nights of the soul, there is great hope to be found in dependency and intimacy with our Beloved Savior. He does not abandon us in the wilderness but rather He is ever present to calms our fears, comfort our pain, and invite us into His arms of love.
Though I’d never wish my “dark night” onto anyone, I am so grateful that God allowed me to go through the wilderness because it was during that time that I was set free of many strongholds, healed of deep wounds from my childhood, and discovered true intimacy for the first time. It did not come cheap or without many moments of stumbling over the chains that bound me, but in the end I found abundant life as I learned to lean upon my Beloved.
During the last months of my wilderness time I would hear the words from Songs of Songs flowing through my spirit like a declaration of joy from the Throne of God. It was like an announcement of freedom and a completed work in my life. As I came out of the wilderness, leaning with absolute love and dependency upon Jesus, I was greeted with such a Heavenly celebration! The next three years became a manifestation of unexpected and undeserved blessings. I had encounters with God that I didn’t even know were possible and I walked in a favor that was unexplainable.
Today I heard those sweet words from Song of Songs 8:5 once again. This time they weren’t for me but I knew they were for His people who had been through a long wilderness time and learned the beauty of dependency and intimacy. You have let all self-sufficiency fall away and in the midst of the darkness and pain you have learned to lean upon your Beloved.
You too have a celebration of Heavenly encounters awaiting you. An open land awaits you that is filled with favor, desires fulfilled, and great restoration. As you have rejected the fate that the enemy sought for your life through this difficult time and held onto the promises of your inheritance in Christ Jesus it has strengthened you and prepared you to remain pure in the abundant blessings He has in store for you.
I encourage you today to “choose life”. This was a key element for my freedom. I had to reject death and destruction and choose life at a time that I just wanted the pain to end.
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
In the wilderness I found that the Lord was my life and every other thing fell away. Nothing saved me but the Lord! As I chose life, in reality I chose Christ! Prior to the wilderness time I had many things that I chose to comfort me, to fill the empty places and to dream of that took the place of Christ alone. As they fell away during my three years in the wilderness I found Him to be my all-sufficiency. I learned to lean upon my Beloved and desire Him alone. After that other things were added but they did not take His place.
I finish with the following words from Songs of Songs 8 for you to pray,
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” Song of Songs 8:6-7
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