After a two year period of intense sharing with God and hearing from Him daily, and an especially vibrant four month study of the Book of Haggai, I suddenly reached a point where God no longer seemed so close. The fire seemed to be gone from my relationship with Him and I struggled to know why. God did not reveal the reason for my spiritual dryness for two years, during which time I drifted in and out of brief moments of intensity, but for the most part settled for mediocrity. The lukewarm condition of my life certainly required less of me, but there was a desire in my deepest heart to return to the intensity I had once shared with God, no matter the cost.
Early one morning in the shower, I cried out to God in real anguish and begged Him to show me anything that was causing me to shun the intimacy He wanted to share with me. He began to show me the bitterness that I was harboring because He had not blessed me with my idea of what success should be. Financially we had almost reached the point of destruction. I was also bitter about mistakes He had allowed my children to make. I was even angry at times because my dreams had not come true, especially since they were dreams of ways in which I could serve Him. As God began to reveal the areas of my bitterness, I confessed them to Him. They were already forgiven, even before I confessed, but as I confessed them to Him, He immediately transformed every bitter attitude. I could feel the layers I had built between the two of us peel back - one by one.
After that day of refreshing, I begged God to never let me reach that point of mediocrity again. Yet I wondered if that request was from God or a by-product of my own selfish spiritual ambition and pride. What if God wants me to spend some time in the valley since that is where real growth occurs? After all that's where the soil is most fertile. What if it's not His will for me to live on the mountaintop at all times? After all that's where the soil is shallow. Is it possible that God sometimes refrains from drawing me back to Him so that I will realize what I am missing and run back to Him on my own? Could it be that without the ache of missing Him I would have stayed in my bitterness until it destroyed my life and my testimony? Did He allow the longing for Him to linger because that would motivate a desire in me to experience Him on a deeper level. If so, then I never wanted to be completely satisfied with anything but the deepest level of intimacy with Him. I wanted to be fully satisfied with Him, yet I wanted Him to place within me a bitter-sweet longing that would always drive me deeper, deeper still. In the questions of pondering those thoughts and the reflection of how God had worked to resolve the bitterness in my life, this poem emerged. It is the inquiry of my heart of hearts - the prayer of my deepest soul.
My Most Earnest Prayer
In my hours of desperate seeking, I come calling out to You
With a longing so intense my heart could burst,
There's a yearning to be satisfied - to be filled to overflowing,
Yet just the same, I never want to quench this thirst.
I want to be content with the life that You have for me,
Yet I never want to cease from wanting more,
My fear is that when satisfied, I'll stop drinking from Your well,
And I'll be just a do-er like before.
How do I balance these desires, these obsessions of my soul,
Wanting to be full, yet never finished?
How can I stop my searching when You say, "enough for now",
And my fire for You not be somehow diminished?
Please show me how I should respond in times when You are silent,
When I long so much to hear more words from You,
Remind me that Your silence doesn't mean that You have left me,
And that Your words will be more precious when the silent time is through.
Lord, help me not to hurry when You are trying to teach me,
Even when Your lessons bring me pain,
Help me to remember that real growth does not come quickly,
And that it's always worth the wait when I consider what I'll gain.
Please don't ever let me settle for something less than You have for me,
But never let me crave more than You share,
Let me not desire to plunge beneath the level where You want me,
But please don't let me stop till I am there.
Let me never get enough of Your precious living water,
But slow me when I try to drink too fast,
I've got a lifetime left to travel in this journey to abundance,
And You know best the pace at which I'll last.
So in my hours of desperate seeking when I call out to You,
With a longing so intense my heart could burst,
Please let me know Your presence in a way that satisfies me,
But for Your presence Lord, don't ever quench my thirst.
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