"And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—
I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name."
Isaiah 43:5 (NLT)
I have been having a running conversation with the Lord the past few weeks. If you could hear it, this is what it has looked like:
Lord, please let me know that You are here.
Lord...Lord, are You there?
Please, Jesus, just let me know that You are with me.
Silence. No thunder bolt, no flash in the sky. Nothing.
My pleading has gotten stronger. Everything I have ever believed in has had to be evaluated in a new way. I wish that I could say that I have never doubted what I have said I believe my whole life. But, frankly, there have been some soul-shaking moments. And more than anything, profound silence.
And then, when I thought I could stand it no longer, I heard Him speak--not audibly--but truly to my soul:
Shawn, do you trust Me?
Jesus, I just wish that I could see You or even sense You.
No, Shawn, I didn't ask you if You could see Me or even sense My presence. I asked you, 'Do you trust Me?'
Now there was silence from me. Because the trite answers I had always been able to fall on now seemed hollow. I honestly hesitated, realizing that my trust in Him has equaled His doing what I wanted Him to. A very ugly and shallow part of me has been revealed to me.
And then He made me remember something I had forgotten, but never thought I would. I have had the profound joy of carrying five babies in my womb--three are here with me, two went to be with Jesus before I could see their sweet faces through miscarriages. My first little one was taken from me that way, so when my son was born, I falsely believed that I must hover and hardly sleep to make sure that he would not slip away, too. It was a trap that Satan set for me--the belief that I had something to do with Chase's life being sustained--and I walked right into it.
Chase was never away from me. He slept with me and was attached to my hip constantly. And then I hit a wall when he was around five months old. I was absolutely exhausted and one month pregnant with his sister. I had to make the heartbreaking decision to listen to him cry it out at night as I put him in his bed for the first time away from me.
I don't know who had the harder time--Chase or me. I would sink to the floor outside his bedroom, just out of sight of his crib, and listen to his heartrending cries as tears rolled down my own face. I knew that Chase could not possibly understand what was going on. That thought tore my heart out. We had never been apart. He didn't even have to cry because I was always there in plain view. But now, alone in his crib, he thought I had abandoned him because he could not see me just outside the door listening.
Eventually, though, Chase learned that I would come back--that in the morning we would be together again. As his trust grew that I would return, the length of his cries became shorter at being left. He actually got to a point of barely whimpering and then not crying at all when I left him because he knew I was coming back.
As I remembered what I had thought I had forgotten, I sensed my Jesus saying:
Shawn, I am just outside the door. I know that you cannot see Me in the ways you have always seen Me before, but I am taking you to a new level of trust. Our relationship is going to be better than ever because you are going to know and believe, not just say, that you trust Me. I have not left you. I am right here. You will see Me again in the old way, but it will be sweeter and deeper than it has ever been.
This time will not last forever. And after you have learned what I am trying to teach you, you will understand more that I am with you even when you can't see or feel Me. That is the gift I will give you after this is over.
And so I wait because my Jesus has never and will never lie to me. He will do what He says. Morning is coming.