I heard of a scenario that involved a “mean trick” a wife is alleged to have pulled on her husband one day… He came home as usual after a busy day at the office, walked in the house and called her name… No response! He called again… No response! He walked through the house… she was nowhere to be found! Panic!!! He grabbed his cell phone and feverishly dialed her number… and he heard it ring nearby within a closet! His wife stepped out and with a sheepish grin on her face and a twinkle in her eye, and declared, “I just wanted to see how much you missed me!”
Thought of that story just a little bit as I read the passage today in Hosea…
In Hosea 5:15 God declared through His prophet, “I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me!” Imagine it… A “withdrawn God” motivated by redemptive concern and love for His straying and sinful people – desirous to see “if they missed Him!”
Is it possible that sometimes our feelings of God’s absence are designed to draw us nearer and cause us to return to “our first love” (Check out Revelation 2:4)? He withdraws the near sense of His presence to see “how much we miss Him!”
But then the prophet articulates God redemptive offer of renewed nearness to a straying and sinful people in Hosea 6:1-3! … “Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
Listen, if the Lord’s sweet presence doesn’t seem as precious and potent as it once did; perhaps it is a signal that some “spiritual drift” has occurred in your life. Perhaps it is a call for you to press in and “return to the Lord!” The pattern is clear in this passage… when the Lord’s presence seems “withdrawn” and He seems distant, REMEMBER! REPENT (turn around from the direction you’re going)! AND RETURN!
I want to always be conscious of His sweet and powerful presence in my life, don’t you? After all, He is called “Immanuel – which is interpreted ‘God with us!’” isn’t He? (Matthew 1:23)