I arrived at a Prayer Meeting that I was leading and one of the members was already present. This was unusual for him as he typically arrived after the first 30 minutes. But I could sense something in his spirit was bursting. It didn’t take long for my friend to share the experience he’d just come from – an impromptu morning worship time where he had ‘laid all his burdens down’ before the Lord as he lay prostrate on the floor.
I envied his freedom and the heightened experience of lingering with the Lord.
We had time before the others arrived for me to share that I too had experienced something similar at the Writers Conference I attended a month or so back. Both our experiences were stimulated by Spirit-enabled worship. There’s something very special when you’re completely given over to worship, whether in public or at home in your own secret place. It really feels like a touch of heaven, caught up in the arms of your lover. No words need to be uttered; no supernatural miracle of healing or prophecy or word of knowledge or other has to occur (even though they might), just the two of you wrapped in a cocoon of extravagant love.
The deepest level of communication is not communication but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. (Thomas Merton)
God wants us to linger. Lingering may seem a waste of time because there is so much to do, isn’t there? But it’s interesting when one looks at those others who have a deeper connection with the Lord, they’ve usually spent lots of time lingering in His presence. It doesn’t have to be with music. As Mother Teresa once said: “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence.”
We all know Jesus lingered with the Father. It was a regular habit of his to disappear early in the morning before sunset to simply spend time in the presence of the Father. It served to replenish Jesus, to refill him for the day ahead.
And Joshua. The one who led the Israelites into the Promised Land knew God intimately. That’s why he was given the responsibility. How did Joshua know God so well? Let’s see what Exodus tells us:
“And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood atthe door of the tabernacle, and the Lordtalked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing atthe tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man inhis tent door. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” (Exodus 33:9-11 NKJV)
Joshua stayed behind in the tabernacle. With God.
I’ve probably referred to this verse many times over the years, as it is one of my favorites:
“Here’s the one thing I crave from God,
the one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house,
finding the sweet loveliness of his face,
filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace.
I want to live my life so close to him
that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.
In his shelter in the day of trouble, that’s where you’ll find me,
for he hides me there in his holiness.
He has smuggled me into his secret place,
where I’m kept safe and secure—
out of reach from all my enemies.
Triumphant now, I’ll bring him my offerings of praise,
singing and shouting with ecstatic joy! (Psalm 27:4-6 TPT)
Oh my … The Passion Translation just takes it that one step further doesn’t it? David wrote these words; he who learnt to linger with the Lord during the long hours of solitude when the only sounds were the occasional bleats from the many sheep he shepherded for hours on end. It was how he developed a ‘heart after God.’
The enemy knows if he can keep us busy and/or surrounded by noise and distraction, he keeps us from lingering with God. So our connection with God tends to be rushed and compromised. We will often ‘hear what we want to hear’ rather than hear what God is telling us. We only have to reflect on a similar situation with our spouses – when we only connect in busy, noisy and distracted seasons, our relationship struggles, we often simply resort to going through the motions and everything is done quickly and without passion. Until one of us breaks.
Why wouldn’t our experience be similar with our Lord? What we do know is He never leaves us and His love is always constant. He won’t break. Only we will. And He is there ready to pick us up, having forgotten about the distance we’ve kept in recent times.
I hope you are able to make some time to linger this week with the lover of you soul. “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” (Psalm 149: 4 NIV)
He really does. He delights in you. Believe it. Enjoy Him.
Grace and peace, dearest friends.