I flipped to a page where the writer penned down his struggles, and further I read, I have this eeriness travelling through my back. Well, this eeriness is no stranger as of late. Hair on my neck stand in salute. Lips mouth in a secret whisper as I couldn’t believe my eyes. Before my head could register its familiarity, my heart already bow on its knees keeling over into a position where I find my only balance.
What he wrote mirrors the journey as if the writer has stalked your life for years, and in one’s own eloquence, he simply spilled everything on the floor. He wrote them out seemingly effortless probably without knowing one of his readers is sopping up the wet floor with a threadbare mop.
He drilled onto the ground these 4 signposts on which I could literally put my index finger. In fact it’s the Creator God who first put down His finger on my heart so that mine can beat alongside His for Cambodia, for its people. Raging inside. Flaunting a riot!
Numb, dumb heart. The passage of time brings to every disciple the pounding of pleasure, pain, and sin. These conditions can imperceptibly harden our hearts, slow the arteries, and make once lithe muscle grow inflexible. we are generally unaware of this aging process, but God sees and cannot look away. He loves us too much and has called us not to settle for less than full spiritual health. At such times, the writer of Hebrews says that God “disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.”
To call our independent minds and self-satisfied souls back to a place of spiritual intimacy and dependency, God must make our numb hearts begin to feel again. Through Scripture, circumstance, He may begin to trouble and disturb your soul. Such feelings are not often associated with the Holy Spirit. They may be like the tingling ache in your mouth as the anaesthetic wears off after dental surgery or the howling pain of greater loss. But there can be no movement in our lives until we are confronted with the reality of our current state.
This is the first stage, and for me it took the form of sleepless nights troubled by something I couldn’t define. this is a lonely time because you are feeling something you can’t explain – even to God.
Wrestling. Next comes the wrestling, trying to make sense of this inner turmoil, looking for words to describe what you are feeling. You may study Scripture, splurge in your journal, read books, writer songs, go for walks, and try to pray, wondering why you are weeping or walking or wondering about taking some crazy, counter-intuitive step. Of course God is watching all this new activity with delight, biding His time.
Waiting. When eventually God gives you words for the things that are troubling your heart (and I’ll say it again: this may take some time), things become easier. The internal storm calms, and you can talk at last with clarity to God and to others. The chaos has a pattern now. There may be no answers yet, but at least you have questions and you will throw these at the Almighty again and again. You no longer wrestle with yourself, but like Jacob, with God. This is the time of waiting and watching and can last years or mere minutes.
Blessing. Finally God steps in. The one who sowed those atomic seeds in your hard heart in the first place, the one who watched you cracking up and breaking down, the one who gently gave you the questions and He waited and watched while you learned to pray, that same God now steps in to bless. A heart that was hard is now bruised and bleeding soft. An independent adult has become needy, humble and poor in spirit. A self-sufficient child has succumbed to a hug. You have learned to need and to heed, to wait and to watch once again.
Yes, my heart is bruised and bleeding soft!! He also blesses, yet those blessing come with a cost, a pricey cost!!
A journey of learning how to intercede is to learn how to bleed your heart with the pain experienced by those whom you love. It’s when you feel the pain, and not afraid to enter those pain, you are truly interceding, truly feeling the jabbing sorrow when the worst takes its turn to the deep valley of death. You finally realize there is nothing you can do but to succumb in His embrace, to trust in Him in unpromising circumstances, to face evil head-on in staggering defeat where His Hope of Glory conquers. All are left to do is to Heed, to Wait, to Watch … and again, to Heed, to Wait and to Watch … and again, to Heed, to Wait and to Watch …
The writer puts it this way, “… it also takes us to move from praying FOR people from the comfort of our own salvation to interceding WITH them from a position of need. That we are called to stand in the gap in this way, bridging the ravine between a hurting generation and a healing God – we will see breakthrough, a new level of effectiveness in prayer. There will be very great power in our pain, we will weep “sulphuric tears”.
Your heart is so tender that any reminder would become a carbon copy of your emotion reflecting on the mirror or through a photograph flying you away to the other side of the globe – Cambodia – where I long to see them coming home, where I long to see them gasping for air from beneath the waters. Tears came as I looked at a photograph. Tears spilled in a bending curve from the ducts as I stand before our Almighty God whispering my worship in the heart-chamber resonating with every note and melody of this song!!
Tears flowed shamelessly that I have to turn my face away, turn my thoughts away, shake it out like a wet dog coming out from the bath. As you pray no longer from the closed perimeter of your personal salvation, as you pray no longer looking inwardly how vast of His love for you, you start to see into the vastness of His love through a peeping gap of a broken door. His vastness is pristine and radiant, no hands and cups can contain its light, His Holiness, but only helplessly being illuminated and consumed by it. The bending curve of tears is also bending my knees until they touch the ground of intercession, wrestling, waiting, begging, fist pounding until it bleeds. Blood and tears.
“In the vastness of His love, He sees into one whom He fearfully and wonderfully made! He is going after the lost one! He is waiting for her to come home, come home to the Father!!”
Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:21-26
Not one is missing, He said! I will continue to worship my Great, Powerful, Mighty God for He calls you forth by name, for you are not missing from His sight!