A Rude Awakening
In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that I would lose my husband while we were still young and had young children. I would have cried just imagining the possibility. When I lost my husband to covid, broken doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Grief was consuming me, and I knew that I would not be able to care for our nine children if I didn’t do something. I had to fight. So, I did the only thing that I knew for sure would save me, and I did it with a passion: I cried out to God.
Sitting in the Shadow of the Temple
As believers, we can spend many years in the courtyard of the Temple. I can honestly say that for twenty-four years, I was in the outer courtyard. My husband led me to the Lord when we first met, and, to some extent, I was following his lead for many years. The problem was that I considered myself a strong believer—a passionate believer even! Today I know that I was defining myself by a set of beliefs that I strongly agreed with. That is not the same as having a deep personal relationship with God. About a month before my husband got sick, I started to feel that maybe something wasn’t exactly right in my faith. Soon enough, I would discover what it was.
Today I know that God did not pay the ultimate price for us to sit outside the Temple. He wants us with Him, and He is calling each of us to enter into the Holy of Holies. We have worship songs about it, but entering into the Holy of Holies is not a special feeling we get during an anointed worship service. Entering into the Holy of Holies is a life journey. To embark on that journey, there are a few essential first steps we have to take. Without them, we will never make it.
The First Step into the Holy of Holies
Setting aside time with God every day has to be a priority. If we do not invest time in connecting with God, we will never enter into a real relationship with Him, and we will stay in the outer courtyard. Staying in the outer courtyard does not mean that you are not saved. But being in that place for a long time, where there is still a lot of the world and its distractions in you, makes it a lot easier to get up and walk away altogether.
You Come Alone
Like I said, for many years I was following my husband’s lead in my faith. I was fellowshipping in our congregation. I was listening to powerful messages and worship music. All of those things are absolutely important. But you can’t come into a personal relationship with God in a group. You have to come by yourself. Alone.
When I found myself completely alone, without anyone to lead me, that is when I found the way. When I was drowning in grief after losing my husband, I began crying out to God constantly. Every day. All day sometimes. Before I knew it, I was tasting something I had never known before: a real relationship with God! To be clear, it is only by His grace, not by my efforts. I just make the time to sit at His feet each day, something I had never done before. The more time I spend at His feet receiving from Him, the more grace He gives me to make time in my schedule to be there.
God desires us to be with Him so much and is jealous for our affections. It is extravagant love, and it is also dangerous love. What do I mean by dangerous? If we do not give Him our hearts now, in His great love for us, He may decide to take something from us that we have let take His place in our hearts. Anything that takes the number one place in our lives instead of God is called an idol. Sometimes they are so close and dear to us, we can’t even see them.
Removing the Idols
We can decide to remove the idols ourselves. When an idol is removed against our will, it hurts! If God in His grace and mercy decides to remove an idol from our lives, it is an act of love. Today, I am in a place where I can say that I am grateful He took my husband home to be with Him. Now, I know you are thinking, “That is extreme! Why would she say that?” I can say that because when I lost my husband, I truly found God. And I can say to you that truly finding God is more precious to me than any earthly love that I could experience, even more precious than the amazing relationship I had with my husband and having him in my life.
My husband and I were amazing together. Our relationship was so blessed, especially in the last few years: we had been through so much together, and we were in a season of our love that was just so blessed. Still, that amazing love we had does not compare to God’s love. I know that my love for my husband and our relationship were in a more important place than having a relationship with God. Nothing should take the place of this amazing love in our lives: not our children, not the love of our spouses, not work or success. Nothing compares to it. Remove the idols from your hearts now while there is still grace! For twenty-four years, I was a lukewarm believer. Now that I have truly tasted and seen that the Lord is good, I don’t ever want to be in that place again.
My prayer for you is that God would open your heart and draw you with cords of love to begin the journey to know Him in a deep way, that He would enlighten your spirit, that He would reveal Himself to you as a living, loving God who is jealous for you, that He would draw you by His Holy Spirit into the Holy of Holies where He will share His secrets to your heart through the revelation of His Word, in Yeshua’s holy name, amen!
by Monica Obreja