One eventful day my relationship with Jesus entered a new dimension. After knowing Him for more than twenty years I suddenly found myself in love with Him. It was great! For the first time I learned what this "being in God's Presence" business was all about.
About a year after that eventful day I seemed to lose the "ability" to be in His Presence anymore. I was frantic! What was I to do with this deep unquenchable need I had to be with Him?
I explored several possibilities for why this was happening. I confronted sin and repented. I shared my dilemma and asked for prayer. I sought and received wise counsel. Then one day God impressed me with the following message:
He reminded me of how He instructed newly married men to stay with their wives for one year before serving in the army. He showed me that was similar to what He had done with me. Now, He said, it was time for me to be willing to enlist in His Army. He indicated that my relationship with Him as His betrothed was the main thing, the permanent meant-to-be thing, and that now I needed to go to battle to preserve that relationship. He reminded me that family is always a person's primary reason to fight. He said that the battle wasn't the main thing, that it was a temporary thing, but that it was my job now. He noted that this Army I was to serve in wasn't a ragtag band but a resplendent force awesome in uniform (armor) and preparedness. (Although many soldiers neglected to take their commission seriously and failed to get properly attired.)
He showed me that my Beloved in my personal life was my General in my job. (In a way that no other explanation had, this picture helped me understand how I was able to simultaneously fear God and relate intimately with Him.) He noted that I was not to take advantage of our personal relationship to gain selfish favor or "leave." He said that when on the job I was to pay the General the highest respect and regard and obey unquestioningly and immediately; and that He had equipped me and readied me to do this.
I knew that He was (and had been) anointing me and that remembering this was important for me because there could be battle situations that I wouldn't understand or which would seem isolated or brutal or desperate. I was to remember through it all that my General / my Captain / the One planning the strategy and deploying the troops--that One is the One who is in love with me, the One I can go home to live with happily ever after after the war is won. Also I knew I could depend on Him to know when I would need R&R or even a stay in a M.A.S.H. unit.
Later I realized that those who have only recently come into relationship with God need that time of being alone in His Presence to learn to experience His love. Much of our battling needs to be done on their--these newest family members'--behalf, to protect that time of theirs with Him. During that time they will need to learn a lot about the battle. Still, I think we must be careful not to expect them to fully enter into the fray until Jesus Himself has given them understanding of His personal abiding love for them. That way, they, too, will have the anointing and the motivation to fight at their Beloved General's side. After all, the love and peace and trust they learn during that time will be the weapons with which the battles will be fought.
Even though God spoke all this truth into my heart, it was some four months later when I emerged from this difficult time. He used those months to teach me valuable, necessary lessons. As I look back I see that a good name for that season in my life would be boot camp. I am very grateful that God did not take me to boot camp before I had learned the lessons of love as His betrothed.
Deuteronomy 24:5 (NIV)
If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war
or have any other duty laid on him.
For one year he is to be free to stay at home
and bring happiness to the wife he has married.
I John 2:27 (NIV)
As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you,
and you do not need anyone to teach you.
But as His anointing teaches you about all things
and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—
just as it has taught you, remain in Him.
II Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV)
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.
On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
Romans 12:21b (NIV)
...overcome evil with good.
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