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Encountering Spiritual Intimacy Amid Isolation
Yesterday, I returned home from an unexpected weeklong hospital stay. It came about suddenly and there were many plot twists along the way, but in the end, it was a good thing. I came home properly diagnosed and on my way back to robust health. It has been a journey, a circumstance that God used to His good purpose.
From a brief mid-week journal note:
I am praising Father God this morning for His presence, faithfulness, and mercies during this trial. My mornings have been especially rich in His presence and the depth of our spirit-to-Spirit communion, and today this richness has been uninterrupted throughout the entire day. I’ve been needing this, wanting to be alone with God, and here I find myself spending the week in a hospital isolation room. When God wants to get you alone to do a work in you, He certainly knows how to do it. He brought me away from all distraction to a place of perfect solitude, peace, and rest, and surrounded me with compassion on all sides to minister to my body as He ministered to my spirit and soul. How great He is, how great His wisdom and mercy. Praise Him!
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My life is probably much like yours, busy all the time.
I prioritize morning devotions, spend time in the Word, and check in with the Spirit during the day as I go about the routines of life, but it is often a cramped exercise as I move from one task to another. I am guilty of giving God my attention and time as it fits into my schedule and routine. He desires more of me and showed me the way, or at least got me started on the path to the kind of intimacy I've been desiring.
The mornings were extraordinary. Hours spent in praise, worship, and prayer each morning, all accompanied by a palpable, breathable awareness of His presence, love, and care. He did not do this to scold me for my habit of working him into my schedule, He leveraged this health event to love on me and teach me a new way. He diagnosed my spiritual condition and secluded me in a place of isolation so there would be no distraction. Turning into His presence, I found His wonderful peace, rest, and communion in ways I’ve never experienced before.
I am glad to be back in my own comfortable surrounds now, but they must change.
The atmosphere must become more God-centered and less like it was. The challenge now will not be to recreate at home what I experienced this week, but to find the right balance, the right place of surrender to allow the Holy Spirit to flow throughout the day, not on demand as I am able to allocate time to it, but in a more continual state no matter what I might be engaged in.
I’ve been asking God to show me how to experience continual intimacy with Him such that I am constantly aware of His presence in me and around me. This unexpected circumstance turns out to be an open door. In faith, I chose to step into something I did not fully understand, and He was faithful in response. I am forever thankful to God, who loves me so much that He would do this for me, as He will for anyone who pursues the intimacy He desires to share with us.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 (ESV)