“You have left your first love.” The words jumped off the page at me and I melted into a puddle of tears.
I had come back to Bible study after taking a couple of years off. Prior to that, I had spent years studying, leading, teaching and writing Bible studies. Then my life seemed to fall apart. A few dear friendships disintegrated. My marriage was in jeopardy. And we left our church of 14 years. I felt like I had been hit by a speeding train. I was grief-stricken, scared and very confused. The following two years were incredibly painful.
My faith was shaken. Spiritually, I went on autopilot. I loved God, but for a while I held Him at arm’s length, because He scared me. I went through the motions with Him. I prayed and still read my Bible, but I stayed in the shallow end.
After a couple of years, a friend invited me to Bible study. I protested. She insisted. So I went. It was a study on Revelation. I thought that would be safe. End times, lots of symbolism, facts and timelines. No heart stuff. Perfect.
Little did I know that the first week of homework would leave me weeping on the floor. In Chapter 2 of Revelation, Jesus speaks to the Church at Ephesus and on that particular day He spoke to me. “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance…, but I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore, remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.” (Revelation 2:2-4)
You see, when my life started to fall apart, I went into overdrive to put all the pieces back together again. I stopped Bible study and all ministry and focused on my marriage and relationships. But down deep, in the place no body knows, I was brokenhearted. I thought the One I loved most had let me down. I was wrong about that.
God was so faithful to restore my marriage, my friendships and most importantly, my relationship with Him.
Do you need restoration? Are you like me and think that God has let you down? I can promise you that no matter what you are going through, He is for you and not against you. And He wants you to return to Him.
Father, I come to You, in reverence and humility. You are good, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness. (Numbers 14:18) This life can leave us broken and bruised. We can so easily become cynical and hard-hearted. From hurt. The enemy would have us believe that You have disappointed us or held out on us. O God, quicken us to know that You are always for us and never against us. (Romans 8:31) And that nothing can separate us from Your love. (Romans 8:35)
Lord, I know firsthand that we can close the door to our hearts because we’re afraid of You. O God, knock the door down and draw us to Yourself. You are the answer to all our questions and the solution to all our problems. Come after those of us who have been knocked down by life. Those who are hurting so bad they can’t pray, perhaps they can barely function. Father, you are close to the brokenhearted and save all those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) Come nearer, Lord.
Show Yourself to those who are running away from you that You are the good Shepherd. And that You have laid down Your life them. (John 10:11) To give us all life. To the full. (John 10:10) O Lord, my heart is so tender to those who feel their life is falling apart. Wrap them in Your loving arms and speak to them. Your word that brings life and healing and hope.
Restore them, O God, put a new song in their mouths, a song of praise to You, then many will see and fear and will trust in You. (Psalm 40:3) In the name of the Healer and Restorer, Jesus, Amen.
Linking up over at Barbie’s place for The Weekend Brew! Join us!