I had a lot of expectations for a personal retreat I attended with my daughter at Laity Lodge in South Texas. I expected to have a great time with her and with God bonding in a special setting and with great leaders. I had been there once before and did not bring my bathing suit so I expected to go back to the famous blue hole and take a long deep jump into its pristine splendor. All of these realities took place. It’s what I didn’t expect that changed me the most.
I did not expect that this retreat would become a pivotal retreat in my relationship with God. I attend lots of spiritual retreats in amazing settings, and I am always changed and moved by God’s presence in my life. This was different. This was transformational. Many lessons from the past five years were detonated like a Fourth of July fireworks display in my soul. I don’t think I could have understood the lessons from the past five years as clearly as I did until this weekend! It makes me realize and wonder about how much more God wants to show me, but I’m just not ready for it yet. In John 16:12-13 Jesus said:
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
I wasn’t ready to understand what God wanted to teach me before that weekend. Now I can’t believe how close yet far from the truth I was. It is more than I can bear, but not in the way you may think. What God is showing me about Himself is more wonderful than I can bear. I can hardly bear it after He showed it to me now. I get it. Like Jack Nicholson said memorably in the movie A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth.”
How I was so blessed to receive the truth that God has been hinting at for about five years, I don’t know. All I know is that it far exceeded my expectations. As a young girl, I first came to know Jesus as my Savior; in my teens I came to know that God wanted me to know Him; in my thirties I came to know that God deeply and intimately loved me like ABBA, and in my fifties I am coming to know that God loves me passionately like a Bridegroom. Do you know how He has been inviting me into this deeper sense of closeness with Him? He has been pointing out sunrises and sunsets to me. I knew that connecting to God’s masterpieces painted in the sky gave me a confirmation of His love and presence in my life. My most recent extravagant experiences of that were from Israel and especially when He introduced me to a reader at sunrise on the Sea of Galilee to confirm His call to write a blog from Israel. Yet, I didn’t fully understand (now I know for sure that I will never fully understand) that He was drawing me to begin seeing Him as both ABBA and bridegroom. The passage of the retreat that was read over and over from Psalm 19 was received in my heart:
“In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.”
I’m sure you will be hearing more from me about this as I am able to take in the message ABBA-Bridegroom has for me. Until then, I want to encourage you that what you do not expect is satisfying to your soul.