February 2010

(Eighth In Series on “What God is Saying to America in 2010”)

Pilgrim Reflections” (For the Week of February 17, 2010) By Tom Smith

From the beginning, it’s been there. That “itch” you can’t scratch. The hole you can’t feel. That hungering and thirsting you can’t satisfy.

And until we realize what “it” is, we won’t know where to go or what to do.

So what is “it”?

It’s a call to return to our First Love.

When God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden He created them for fellowship with Him. Even a cursory reading of His interaction with them in Genesis 1:27-31; 2:7-25 evokes within us “Echoes of Paradise” that are implanted within us when we’re created in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139).

Some have likened this unto God’s “Thumbprint” on our lives.

But, I prefer viewing it as His instilling within us a “longing for our First Love.”

Even now I see Adam and his Creator having beautiful communion together in the Garden as he named the various animals (Gen. 2:19-20). And, it doesn’t take much imagination to try and picture Adam’s reaction that day when God created Eve from one of his ribs (Gen. 2:21-22).

Can’t you just see this first man. . .the progenitor of the human race. . .awakening from his God-induced sleep. . .looking over at that lovely creature beside him and asking, “What are you?!?”

And, can’t you see her batting those pretty eyes, smiling and answering so sweetly, “Why, I’m a woman”. . .which caused Adam to smile and cry “Woooooo, man!!”

Yes, theirs was a special relationship with the Creator of all things. And, even though later on they’d break His Heart by willfully choosing to disobey Him (Gen. 3:1-7)—which caused Him to have to discipline them (3:8-24)—His Love for them (and us) never changed.

In reality, there’s never been a greater Love relationship between anyone than that of God for His creation. Repeatedly, throughout the Bible we read of His many expressions of love. . . His repeated attempts to show how much He cared. . .and how His Heart was grieved over their willful rebellion.

Truly, He is the supreme expression of a “Wounded Lover.”

No one has ever suffered more rejection than the Lord God. No one has ever had his heart repeatedly torn out by its roots more than Him. No one has ever shed more tears over broken relationships than this One Who quietly formed us in secret in our mothers’ wombs.

Yet, He keeps on loving us. And, keeps on providing for us. And, keeps on wooing us by whispering on the wind “Return to your First Love.”

The book of Hosea in the Old Testament is a poignant picture of a “Love that pursues.” Throughout those pages we read of a God, Whose Love—though deeply wounded—keeps reaching out to the recipient of His Love (as portrayed through Hosea’s interaction with his wife, Gomer).

And, in the New Testament the supreme example of this “seeking, never-giving-up-on-you Love” is found in His Son, Jesus. Throughout the four Gospels we read of His loving the unloveable. . .healing lepers by touching them. . .making the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, etc. . .and ultimately demonstrating to what lengths the Heavenly Father would go to show/prove His Love by dying an agonizing death on the Cross.

No wonder John 3:16 has been called “The Gospel In A Nutshell.”

Since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day this past weekend, it’s good that we pause a few minutes and “chew the cud” on just how much the God of the universe loves you and me. He desperately desires for us to know Him and have an intimate relationship with Him.

Why not stop what you’re doing right now and “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10a)? Why not close your eyes, calm your mind and listen for a few minutes?

If you do, don’t be surprised amidst the noises of your heart if you hear His quiet Voice whispering to you, “Return to your First Love. You’ve been running from Me far too long. Why not follow the prodigal son’s lead and head Home (Luke 15:17-19)? I promise to run to meet you, hug you, smother you with kisses and give you everything you need (vv.20-24). So, don’t delay; return to Me. I love you and miss you.”

(NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 582, Coushatta, LA 71019 or e-mail him at pressingon@hotmail.com).