A friend’s mother passed away this week. While many of us celebrate life, another soul has passed into the next life beyond. As I read her page, a post caught my eye. In it, a young man sang a capella classic hymns. It was “Be Thou My Vision”. I suppose it was the line “I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord” that struck me unexpectedly. And then I immediately knew without speaking. I listened, and then I wept. Tears fell because I miss God.
I really do. I was so close. So very close. I could hear Him. I could feel Him. He just was – ever present. With me in the ebb and flow. Guiding my steps through dark valleys. Close. Very close.
I hear the refrain – Be Thou My Vision – and it pierces my soul … “Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.”
Ahhh, there it is – the sting, the pang of separation. Not the I’m-lost-and-doomed-to-eternal-hell separation. It’s the ache of separation. The gnawing void. The missing. The something-is-not-quite-right. It’s the pull. The soul crying out. Him. Him! He’s what you’ve been missing. He’s what you’ve been longing for. Look up. My soul tells me yet again, this is the ache of love. The kind that breathes on you to come up higher, step up a little closer.
So I have missed my God. Too busy, new job, distractions, and all the other world noise. I forgot – till my soul opened and caught a glimpse of what it meant to belong. And I still belong. Can’t stop crying. Why?
A flood. A river. An overflow I cannot stop. Too much bottled, but still He bids me, “Come. I’ve never left your side. I was never far away. I have always been here.”
I hear His words, and I am silenced. I have no excuse, no reason to offer that would ever suffice. Yet, I do not hear condemnation. Instead a hear the Whisper of Grace. His unmerited favor resting in the air and heavily on my soul.
“You want to know something,” I hear Him whisper. “I’ve missed you too. I don’t want you to be far from me. I want you to be close. You were made for closeness. You were made for community with me. You were made to belong. I’ve always treasured you, and I’ll never stop loving you. I know the piercing in your heart. I felt it too when you were away from me. Come up a little higher. Come in a little closer. Just be still and let me love you. I know you have questions. I am.”
And so whatever I thought I just “had to know” all of a sudden didn’t seem so important. All the background noise didn’t matter. What mattered in that moment, was that God entered my chaos and spoke peace to storm that had been raging and tossing me about.
So my heart again can say, it is well with my soul. This is the ache that leads to life and restoration. It is the pang that purifies and cleanses. It is the piercing that catches your breath and bids you “be still and know.”
I hear this hope “Though my great Father, I Thy true son; though in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.” Son or daughter, you belong. You are heart of His heart.
Listen for His whisper. God loves you most ardently.