I think I've written before on how, on my college campus, I tarried at the entrance of building where the, as we called them, "Jesus Freaks," gathered. I remember one of them seeing me, and with a smile, inviting me to come in. I stood there, contemplating, and then I moved on. I was in a bad way, but not bad enough. I was desperate, but not desperate enough. Five years later, I would be both, but there was something I was missing in both of those times. That was my knowing that the desperation felt by me, was also felt by Him. I was desperate for something more, and He was desperate that I might know that "something" was Him.
In my prayer journal I have written, "We have a desperate need, and desperate God, desperate to meet it." This can be seen in the Father's words in Hosea 11. Wayward Israel, always its own worst enemy, always wandering away from God, always choosing rebellion over being yielded to Him. A nation, a people whose hearts were usually far from Him, had before them a God whose heart was towards them...always. God saw a desperate condition and was Himself desperate to heal it. He sent prophet after prophet. He gave sign after sign. He brought about deliverance after deliverance, but again and again, Israel, like me, "lingered at the door" of salvation...and then walked away. They were desperate, but not desperate enough.
I'd like to say that I never repeated such scenes as that college one with Him, but I have. Even after coming to Him through His Son Jesus, in desperation, other such times followed in my journey. Times of being in a very bad way. Times of great desperation. Yet, just as in my college days, the way was not bad enough, and I was not desperate enough. So I sought to bring about my own deliverance, and to turn my bad way into a good one. And every time, the bad way only got worse, and my desperation deepened. In all of them, I failed to see, and realize, that my desperate God was there, desperate to enter into my suffering, my need, my brokenness.
Hosea 11:8 says that His heart was "turned over within" Him over the state of His people. How many times has it been so with you and me? Do we have any idea of the passion and compassion that He carries for us? Can we even begin to understand the depth of His desperation to enter into situations and needs, so often of our own making, and bring deliverance...salvation? My blindness to all of that led me to five more years of wandering and heartache. My continued blindness in such places added to the same in my life. A friend once related something he heard a preacher say about Jonah, while in the belly of the fish. Jonah who had sought to evade and hide from God, entered this place as a result of it all. It was in the belly of the fish that he came to the end of himself and to the beginning of the Father. That preacher simply asked, "How far down do we have to go until we know what's up?" How far down is it for you and me?
Where's your place of desperation right now? If you don't feel you have one, be sure, you will. What will you do in that place? Linger at the door, at His invitation, and then move on....to deeper need, greater desperation? Or, will you take that desperation to a desperate Father, desperate to meet it? How far down will you have to go until you know what's up?