Thursday, July 10, 2008

My First Love

I finished the second two books in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I'm so enraptured by these characters, I can hardly stand it. Edward Cullen (the vampire) is in love with Bella Swan (a very human girl). He is the perfect boyfriend. He stands as her eternal protector, but he is so concerned with her feelings and reactions that he is willing to set everything aside so that she is happy, even if it means being without her.

While it probably makes sense now that I should tell you about my first love, it's not in the way that you think.

God has taken me back into the book of Revelation. I can't believe I'm here again. I spent an interminable amount of time studying this book and all of the related commentaries and books I could get my hands on.

I've moved into Chapter 2, which begins with the letter to Ephesus. I know these letters intimately, I actually spent over a year just reading and studying them. In Chapter 1, verse 20, Jesus tells us the mystery of the seven stars and seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels (or messengers) of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

I was talking with a friend earlier about my disappointment with the institutional church and where God might be calling me right now. I haven't got answers yet, but I am spending time asking questions. I didn't know what asking those questions was going to get me into, though. I began reading this evening and didn't get past the letter to Ephesus.

This is a church that was very busy. They were known to Jesus. How? For their hard work and perseverance, they routed out false apostles, endured hardships for Jesus' name and had not grown weary. These were a hard-working bunch of Christians. Yet ... they had forgotten their first love. He told them to remember the height from which they had fallen! And then, to repent. If they didn't, he would remove the lampstand from its place. What was the lampstand? The church.

As I prayed, I began to realize how closely this church resembled me. I've spent many years being very busy, working hard and enduring hardships. Yet, I don't take time to think about the intimate loving relationship that I have with Jesus. I'm much too busy for that. I began weeping and weeping as I thought about the love portrayed in the story (Twilight) that I've been reading and how that barely begins to describe the relationship I have with Jesus!

As I cried out to Him and told Him that I wanted Him to be my protector and I wanted to feel the embrace of His mighty arms and the tenderness of His touch, I realized that many of us miss out on that intense set of emotions because we are filled with so many fears. Rejection, uncertain of the reality of His truth. Many of us have never experienced the raw power of complete love. A yearning that goes beyond anything physical. A yearning that reaches down to the very depths of our soul.

I remember trembling with excitement the first time a boy held my hand. We could barely look each other in the eyes, but soon, our fingers touched and our hands were clasped.

I remember the first time I had such an intimate moment with Jesus I thought I was going to burst. When He filled my heart and my mind and I didn't think that there could be anything else on this earth except me ... and Him.

This is exactly what Jesus was telling the church in Ephesus and what He is reminding me of tonight. As I began to picture Him waiting for me to draw into His arms, my tears continued to flow. But now they were tears of unbelief. That I am given the chance to be that close to Jesus - all the time. He wants to hold me with all of His strength. He wants to brush away my tears and whisper ageless words into my ears. He wants to tell me mysteries and express the love of Creation. He is the physical manifestation of the God who comforted David and protected Daniel, who guided Moses and led Joshua. Who spoke words of truth to Isaiah and Jeremiah and who taught Jonah and gave wisdom to Solomon.

He is my first love. How can I move from His arms to be busy again? I don't want to do anything else except to walk moment by moment in His will. Where He leads, I will follow. Where He tells me to go and what He tells me to do, I will obey. He is my first love.

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