If you were to put a glass over a candle while it is lit, what would happen? It would go out. Why? Because you’ve cut off the oxygen. A fire needs oxygen to survive. The same is true of us. When we are cut off from the Holy Spirit, we suffocate in ourselves. Just like a fire when it’s life source has been cut off, so are we when we are apart from the life that comes from the fire of the Holy Spirit.
We lose peace.
Seems like a no-brainer, right? If peace is one of the characteristics of the Spirit, it would make sense that that fruit would be less prevalent in us when we are apart from it. It’s that “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) that seems the hardest to grasp at times…and even harder to hold on to once we’ve caught a taste of it.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my “dove of peace” that decided to take up residence on my porch (a friend helped me pick a name for her…”LoveyDovey!”). I became so used to her being there and truly felt a sense of peace with her presence. Morning after morning, night after night, there she was standing guard over her nest. She never seemed to leave. Last week, she disappeared for a few days. I was worried because her baby was still in the nest and I thought something had happened to her. Truth be told, I had grown quite fond of this little bird who had become quite a constant. Plus, I knew in my heart that the Lord had sent her as a symbol of peace to remind me that He is there….He is always there.
Well, last week, that little baby flew. I had gone outside to pull some weeds and looked up to see if the mama had returned, but this time the nest was empty…no baby! I looked around and found him in a corner shaking and scared out of his wits…poor little thing! I wanted to go to it, but I knew I could be getting in the way. Plus, if the mama came back, she might not help him learn how to survive if she smelled my “humanness” on him.
I think God is like that with us sometimes. He is fully capable of coming to the rescue or intervening in our situations anytime He pleases…but He also knows that if he doesn’t allow us struggle a bit for the purpose of becoming stronger, it could do more harm than good. Because we won’t know how to survive. Even if it breaks His heart to watch us suffering.
But then, I saw her! Standing behind my car in the driveway!
“Where have you been?!”, I exclaimed, happy that she was alive and also like, “hello, you left your child here for days!”. I had to walk close to her to get to the driveway and when I did, she flew to the top of the house next door…keeping her eye on that poor shaking baby birdie, no doubt.
Then she flew to the porch, walked up to him, and poked him like, “hey, it’s okay! I’m here!”. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get him to follow her, she flew into the tree next door and called to him. Over the course of the next couple of hours, I got to witness one of the most precious things ever…..At first he was afraid…then he started to walk around…then he jumped….then stretched out one wing….then out came the other….finally, and just before dark, that baby flew…right to the tree his mama was calling him from. I wanted to go, too! I wanted to go to the mama/baby reunion! But instead I just cheered from the house : )
God used this to speak to me in a powerful way. “You are like that bird, My love.”, I heard him whisper into my soul. Just like that precious little baby bird, I’ve had my times of “falling from the nest”, shaking in the corner, too terrified to take that next step…even when Papa Bird (God!) comes to the rescue, poking at me like, “Hey! I’m still here! I know it seems like I’ve been gone, but I’ve never left you.” And just like the true Papa that He is, He will come down to where we are (sometimes on the floor!) to meet us where we’re at and nudge us…but He, being the Gentleman that He is, will not force us…and sometimes, He has to fly to the “tree next door” (read: take a step back) to call us to come up to where He is.
…It’s up to us….Will we fly or stay grounded?…
…So, my doves are gone : ( At first I thought that meant my Peace was going with them. Plus, I was sad! I’d started to grow fond of talking to her everyday. Which is hysterical considering I wanted to take her nest down after her first baby left. (porch of poop!) Good thing she never left after that!
But as a good friend reminded me last night, “You carry heaven inside of you…that peace can never leave because it’s embedded into your heart….Even when you don’t feel it!”
And that peace cannot be based on circumstances, emotions, or the actions of others. Even if it feels like we’ve lost a friend. The Lord is what needs to be that constant source of peace in our lives and that is something that comes only through time spent with Him…even when we don’t feel like it. A lesson I am learning daily.
And it’s so true. I’ve been to conferences and times of Worship that were really powerful and just what I needed at the time…but the novelty started to wane when that was ALL I was seeking.
Yes, you can experience God through other people…but nothing beats that one-on-one time with the King Himself…even when it’s uncomfortable.
And I find now more than conferences, more than retreats, more than ever…it’s being alone in His Presence that I crave more and more…
…because nothing else can truly satisfy, rejuvenate and restore like that audience of One.