Return to me, for I have redeemed you.
At the beginning of this year, I chose a word. One word that I would focus on all year long. It really wasn't a word that I chose so much as I felt God whisper to my heart.
Return to what?
Return to Me.
Return to my first love, cliche as it may sound.
This morning I chose to sit in my office and read for a while. I sat with one of my old, worn Bibles. One that has writing in the margins, scriptures underlined and circled, and all kinds of memories. It's one from a different time in my life, one where I was excited to read and learn and grow in wisdom and understanding. To spend time with the love of my life, getting to know Him and allowing Him to change me, mold me, shape me into the woman I am meant to be.
As I opened the crinkled pages to a portion of scripture I've read many times, I listened to God speak to the Israelites, His chosen people. He recalled their shortcomings, their wickedness, and their idolatry. He then recounted how He had formed them, created them in their mother's wombs. And then He whispered to them the same thing He whispered to me, "return."
I wonder how the Israelites felt as they heard God whisper. Did they wonder at His grace and mercy? Did they weep with joy at the sound of His voice, knowing all their sins were pardoned? Or did they scoff, kicking their feet in the dust, dismissing Him altogether?
This morning, as I ponder God's words to the Israelites, and to me, it's easy to scoff. It's easy to say, but God, you don't know who I am or what I've done.
As ridiculous as it sounds, yes. The human heart - this human heart, especially - finds it much more difficult to lay down my pride and open my heart to Him. To His redeeming grace. To let the tears of joy flow, knowing all is forgiven. Because to truly experience what it means to return to Him, I have to let go of everything that is holding me back from Him. All the stuff I'm holding on to must be dropped at His feet so that I can embrace Him.
And letting go is hard.
Yet He continues to whisper. He speaks to my heart and tells me He loves me with an everlasting love.
With those words I know He will wait. He will be patient and loving and kind, ever prodding at me to let go of whatever is holding me back. But always with love. Everlasting love.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt God whispering to you but you found it hard to let go?