“Father, humble my soul,” I fervently prayed, unaware of what was to come. I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I consistently prayed that prayer. Be careful what you ask for because the Father will answer, and almost never in the way that you expect Him to. I sit here today in the aftermath of that prayer, with nothing to do but humbly trust and submit to Him.
Turn back time to about two months ago and there I was, working towards an opportunity to go overseas that I thought would be a good fit for me. I also enjoyed the blessings and comforts of companionship. I put a lot of my chips in the those as I relied on my relationship and plans for the future to bring some kind of comfort and stability to my life. Then suddenly, and all at once, those things were stripped away from me and I was left with wondering where to turn. As a young adult, I tend to be a bit idealistic and I dream extravagantly with the hope and desire that I will find meaning and purpose in the pursuit of those dreams. I fear that I won’t be able to live up to my own expectations and that I’ll miss out on the fruits of marriage and companionship. The temptation is to feel that I’ll find myself in the pursuit of those things.
In Hosea 2, God compares Israel to an adulterous woman. Instead of being satisfied in the confines of covenantal relationship, she seeks provision and satisfaction outside of it. “For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink’,” (Hosea 2:5). “And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal,” (Hosea 2:8). The Lords goes on to say that He will take back the provisions He had given to her so that she would remember who she was and where her provision came from. However, in a beautiful and redeeming turn, the Lord says He will meet her in that empty, desert place to allure her back to Him and in that place of emptiness He will provide for her and restore her.
As I read through this, I quickly recognized that I am the whore. How quickly do I turn to other things for provision, security, and love? In my own life, I tend to look for security and purpose in my plans for the future and in my relationships. The Father took away those things and led me to this empty place to allure me closer to His heart. It is in this desert place that He will will sustain me and cause my soul to flourish. I recognize that the Lord did not take these things away from me to cause me pain or to hurt me, but to pursue me and to bring my heart to the realization that I must find myself solely in His abounding love. Going forward, I must be persistent and committed in abiding in Him, diving into His word to guide me, praying to communicate with Him, and worship to draw my eyes to what is really important. Finally, the hardest thing of all for me: trust. Trust that He knows what He is doing and that all I need do is follow Him rather than taking my life and my satisfaction into my own hands. So in that spirit, I submit to Him and humbly accept wherever it is He leads me next.
The following is a poem I wrote while I was going through these things:
Autumn leaf, vibrant and true
An ember of burning red
Eloquent in beauty
Vivid in glow
Shining fire of a thousand suns
At your peak radiate
A rush of winter wind
Fall. Fall. Fall.
To the ground–fall
Here you lie, once a grand exhibition
Your luminous soul grows dim
What are you now?
Dull and indistinct
Decomposing with time
Yet there is hope in your remains
Sustenance for what is to come
First published on seanmburke.wordpress.com