I was born in shadow, where none could see. The cord which sustained me still remained attached; none cared to set me free. There I lay, naked and bare, still covered in the blood of my birth. But when I lay there, too ugly and untimely to be loved, You took notice of me, picked me up, cleaned me off, clothed me, and said, “You are mine.”
Why should I be loved by one such as You? Why would You clothe me with silk, linen, and embroidered work? Why would You deck me with gold and silver from head to toe? Why would You feed me with fine flour, honey, and oil? You said that when people look at me, they call me fair and beautiful, but they have no idea who I was or where I came from. They don’t know that it is because I am Yours that I am beautiful, because You have decked me with Your splendor.
In my prayers and tears, when I cried out to you, I said that I was Jerusalem. But in the dark and silent stillness, You saw my tears and said, “You are not Jerusalem. I have secured You for myself; You are mine. You have not paid to give yourself away. You have not played the harlot. By My strength You have been secured and by My strength, You will abide in Me and I in you. You are not beautiful because of the linen, silk, or embroidered work you wear, but because I have loved you and laid upon you My grace, My righteousness, and My glory. You are so precious in My sight. Trust in Me and I will give you rest.”
For the past few weeks, I have felt this fear creeping in; the fear of being alone, unloved, and not being able to love. I suppose the fear mostly comes from being another year older, while still having no hand to hold and no hand to hold mine. I cried out to the Lord in my desperation and He answered me with Ezekiel 16… Of all the chapters in all His Word, God led me there. When I first came across that chapter years ago, I remember how it rocked my world then, so after reading two verses in, I knew the verses that would follow; I knew that God had led me there to break down my fear and show me again how He is enough.
The beginning of the chapter is painfully beautiful, where God steps in to redeem the unwanted, but the majority of the chapter talks about the destruction of the one God loved, Jerusalem. She had played the prostitute and betrayed the love that had cleansed her and consecrated her to Himself. At one point, God even compared Jerusalem to Sodom, stating that the sins of Jerusalem far outweighed the sins of Sodom. And because of her betrayal of covenant and love, Jerusalem suffered utter destruction, though God promised to redeem a remnant, because He still loved her.
I knew the first part of Ezekiel 16 was true for me, but since I related to the first part, I felt condemned by the latter part. In my sorrow and feelings of condemnation, I cried out to the Lord, and He revealed His truth to me more perfectly.
Yes, God breathed His Word for me and every word is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), but that does not mean that every word describes me. I have this tendency when I read Scripture to put myself on the page, so there are times when I feel condemned and times when I feel encouraged. Some condemning scripture does describe me – at least, it describes who I was – but Christ has shown me that who I am is a story He is writing even now, and that story is far more beautiful than any I could imagine. I was in a state of self-condemnation after I read Ezekiel 16, but God’s answer to my cries was the encouragement that those verses about Jerusalem did not describe me; they serve as a warning. If only I keep the faith and stay with my first love, then I will continue to experience the full blessings of my Abba. If I choose to give myself away, it would be a choice that would rob me of God’s free gift of joy and rest.
My God is so good to me and so patient. He daily lifts me up and reminds me that I am loved, and that I have been cleansed by His power and by His grace. There is nothing I cannot do, nothing I cannot face. With Christ in my life and His Word written on my heart, the temptations and trials are made lighter. It does not mean that they do not exist and I will never face hardships, but Jesus is in the boat with me; I am safe.
Thank You, Jesus, for saying to me over and over again, “You are Mine.” Your ways astound me and I know that I am unworthy of Your love, yet, when I look in Your face, all I know for certain is that I am loved, cared for, and provided for. “You are my strength when I am weak. You are the treasure that I seek. You are my all in all.” Amen.