I recently spent some time in the prayer room at my church, telling God that I wanted more. That could sound quite spiritual, except that I wasn’t sure what “more” I wanted. I only knew I have wanted it for quite some time now.
As I sat there, swaying to the worship music and running through all of the things one might want more of, I finally realized that it all really came down to one thing. I want more of Him. Not His power. Not even the sense of His presence. In that room (where His presence surely hovered), my longing received its name.
I want to be near His heart.
I had come to that room because people were gathered to pray, and I am a woman who loves prayer. But it didn’t take long for me to realize God was after something other than my prayers. He prodded until He got my heart to acknowledge the hunger for more. And the only thing I could think to say was “Why?”. I knew that if anyone could answer the question of my own longing, it would be Him, and I was right. He knew exactly why I have been longing for a place close to His heart.
Because I’ve been there before.
I lived near His heart for a season, learning to love someone who didn’t love back…and He resurrected a marriage from the grave.
I lived there learning to trust, believe and pray relentlessly for a daughter to find her way to Him…and He went after her and brought a prodigal back from the far country.
(Being near to the heart of God is to know the agony of love.)
You see, I’ve seen and I’ve tasted that God is good. I learned that when you draw close to His heart and live from that place, He does mighty things through you, for you, and in you.
I also learned that it is a fiery place, and getting close means something will get burned. And that is the dilemma of drawing near to a heart as fierce as His. Life and death both live there. Spirit grows strong in the heat of those flames, while flesh is consumed by that same heat.
I have been away long enough. Drawn to less intense places, I have tried to be satisfied with ministry, bible study, and various spiritual endeavors, as well as other things not so spiritual. They have all left me hungry.
Maybe deep down I thought I just wanted to know His heart for me. Don’t we all want that? But in that room, while others prayed, God met my hunger and extended His hand. It held His heart, but not just His heart for me.
For the woman in the corner, and the man laying face down on the floor. For the person who brings me pain, and the one I have ignored. For the bigot and the prostitute. For the muslim, the hindu and the atheist. For the spiritually poor and the spiritually proud. For the one who doesn’t love back. For His Church, with all of her flaws. For the nations of the earth. And I knew the question He was asking.
Is this the heart you want?
Yes. Yes it is. I know it is a fierce, fiery place, that heart of Yours. I know it will burn away the comfortable places in my own heart. I know it will mean coming out of the safety of hiding behind spiritual busy-work to be exposed, naked before You. It will demand the bravery to do what I’m afraid to do.
It will be hard, and it will be beautiful.