Saturday, October 1, 2011

Droughts & Roots

Today I spent the good majority of the morning doing yard-work, which included mowing the grass but also a lot of weed-pulling...our next house will have St. Augustine grass like we have had in the past - Bermuda is a pain!

So some of the weeds were large, but most of them were in the normal range of what we have come up in our yard. Imagine my surprise today, that as I pulled these seemingly identical weeds I've pulled before, when they were NOT coming up easily at all. If you know me personally, you know that I have decent strength, I guess you could say, for a girl :). And when I say not coming up easily - I mean both feet planted, knees bent, gloved hand wrapped around it firmly - weed-pulling. When they finally did let go, most of the time it sent me backward a little. You would not believe the root systems on these babies! We are talking maybe a pencil diameter, as compared to these same weeds having more like dental floss-diameter roots in the past. Here in South Texas, we have had an incredible drought this year; and I can only imagine this is the reason behind these very beefed up roots, as even the weeds had to work hard to search out any moisture available!

As I continued to work, that got me thinking about our spiritual root systems, and I continued to mull along these lines all day. We all go through times of spiritual refreshment, and then I know we sometimes go through periods of drought, like Texas has experienced in the natural this summer. I recently came across a different perspective about these so-called drought times that I'd like to share. I am currently working through a study on the Song of Solomon from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, and here's their enlightening discussion on the different 'seasons' of His embrace:

"His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me." Song 2:6
This is the "divine embrace" or His "jealous grip" which describes the 2-fold activity of God in her experience. By embrace, we mean the "sweet" feelings of being loved and the "sweet" feelings of loving back. The "Divine Embrace" is found in 2:6 & 8:3. There is a certain mystery to God's embrace as He releases and withholds His presence in very strategic ways. God wants MYSTERY to be in the relationship.
a. The Invisible Activity of God ("His left hand is under my head")
Her head speaks of the Lord touching her and releasing to her wisdom and a heavenly perspective. God's left hand touching her UNDER her head speaks of His indiscernible activity she can't see, because His 'hand' is under her head. He is still drawing her in.
b. The Manifest Presence of God ("His right hand embraces me")
This speaks of the "sweet" manifest presence of God that can be seen, felt, and discerned. The right hand of God is the part that embraces. This is something that you can feel and it is discernible. It is the cherishing embrace (Eph. 5:29).

I liken these seasons of His embrace (invisible and manifest) to mean the same as drought and rain periods in our spiritual journey. Much of the time in Christian circles though, you don't hear the positive analogy (embrace) just the negative one (drought). Thinking of it in the terms described above makes it much more palatable, wouldn't you agree? That our amazing Father isn't withholding anything (in one case rain) from us; but that He is actually there, literally holding us and teaching us the whole time, and we just don't know it!

Regardless of how you view it, these times of quieter spiritual activity in our lives can still be very unpleasant and confusing. I know I've been in positions where I was trying to figure out what I could do to get out of them, when in fact, they were something He was taking me through. And for what purpose? Of course, the answer is maturity in Christ and a greater understanding of Him (roots being more firmly and deeply planted); but that answer can very hard to receive when you are in the midst of going through.

So if you are experiencing such a time in your life (as we all have) - I want to leave you with two mental images this evening: 1) Side by side comparison of your root system before this season and what you think they will be after you walk this out (imagine my steroid-esque weeds described above!) and 2) Your being held by God in an embrace that transcends our human understanding, regardless of whether you feel it or not!

Colossians 2:7
Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.

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