I’ll never forget some life lessons. As we walked the path of infertility, I felt far from God. I couldn’t understand why He gave other people children, but not my husband and me.
In not understanding God’s intentions, I distanced myself from Him. It hurt too much to keep placing hope in a God who withheld a desire I believed He’d placed in my heart. I still had my quiet times, but that time was spent in rote activity rather than heart-renewal.
As I read Psalm 147 recently, verses 2-3 blared out at me. I’d also been reading Jeremiah and Ezekiel, prophets who spoke God’s messages to the people of Israel before and during their captivity.
“The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
He gathers those who went into captivity. Those who have been exiled from the Promised Land. The land He brought their forefathers to.
The people’s choices of idols over God forced a divide in their relationship with Him. And their hearts grew cold to the point where they didn’t care anymore. They craved comfort over holiness. The world’s ways over God’s ways. Even when He warned them of what was coming if they continued on this path.
Nebuchadnezzar drove the people of Jerusalem into captivity. For seventy years.
But we know all this.
What leaves me in awe is that God wanted them back. He promised He would build up Jerusalem. That He would gather Israel’s exiles.
Even after their betrayal, God wanted relationship with them. Not only would He gather them back. He promised to:
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
God knew the breaking His people endured. He knew the wounds inflicted upon their hearts and bodies and minds.
And He said He would heal them.
Our relationship with God is different today. The cross is our covering. Our open door into the throne room of our Father.
God is more accessible today than He was to the people of the Old Testament.
Again, we know this.
Still, we’re prone to wander. To walk away from our Father.
Even after we come into relationship with Him, we’re easily distracted.
Busy schedules, screens, real-life heartbreak as we watch loved ones struggle and suffer and die.
Friction between parents and children.
Distance between friends.
These are not modern-day signs of exile. But, real life has a way of distancing us from our Father. We become caught up in daily stress, and our hearts grow cold toward Him.
Sometimes we’re angry by what He allows into our lives. Other times we’re confused and hurt by what doesn’t happen. By the suffering of loved ones.
We sometimes place ourselves in exile, away from the intimacy with God for which we were designed.
It feels easier, for a time. Less painful.
That distance satisfies our desire to get back at God.
For a time.
But our Father . . .
Even when we give up on Him for a season, God never gives up on us. He promises to never leave us or forsake us.
He’s there, waiting to gather us back into the folds of His love. He’s ready to heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds—physical, spiritual, emotional, mental.
He’s the only One capable of working such miracles.
We will face times in our lives when we don’t understand the ways of God. When we distance ourselves from Him to try and protect ourselves.
We’re poor guardians of our hearts and lives.
As Hubs and I tried to understand why God chose to not give us children, the Spirit’s conviction that I’d made motherhood an idol stung deeply. Rekindling intimacy with God required me to release that craving for motherhood and seek Him first. No matter what He gave—or didn’t give—me.
As I let go of my dream, God brought healing by speaking the truth of His love over my heart. He helped me see the lies I’d clung to. As I released the lies, His truth brushed peace over my heart.
God eventually gifted us with two boys. It wasn’t until I came to the place of desiring Him more than motherhood that He could heal my heart. Bind up the wounds the lies left and show me His truth.
If—when—we go through those distancing times, we must remember that our God is faithful.
He loves us.
He’s waiting for us when we reach the end of ourselves.
He doesn’t want to loom over us with judgment, but with love. When we come before Him in humility, He will heal our broken hearts in ways we can’t imagine. He binds up those wounds and speaks truth over the lies we clung to.
He draws us into deeper intimacy with Him, so we’re no longer exiles. We are beloved.
What about you? What is one big life lesson God has taught you? How does God draw you near to Himself?