Dear radiant Bride, today is a very special day for me because it was exactly 10 years ago on Valentine’s Day 2008 when the Lord touched my heart and gave me a new purpose, vision and recommissioning. It followed a time in my life, that many who have experienced it call “The Dark Night of the Soul”, which for me was a season of 8 years of wilderness experience, feelings of being alone, despair, darkness and yes depression. Yet despite all the turbulence of those years there remained a singular light, like a candle that had not yet gone out but still burnt within me, which was a love for God and the desire to please him with my life. And so, leading up to Valentine’s Day 2008 I felt a new stirring, a sense of growing expectancy and anticipation that the Lord wanted to speak to me. And I knew that in order to hear from God I needed to position myself before him in a way that would allow an uninterrupted and extended time of being still and quiet. So that I could simply kneel and listen.
I didn’t know where my journey would take me back then, but I said to my wife Jo how I felt the Lord wanted to speak to me and that I should go away for a few days in solitude and prayer so that I can hear from God. I thank the Lord for my beautiful wife Jo who is been my best friend and partner in life, and today this Valentine’s day we will celebrate our love and marriage again, but 10 years ago she was willing to let me go so that I could be alone with the Lord. I travelled 400 kilometres to an isolated location, and I booked a hotel room for 3 days. I had a small case with my clothes and things that I would need, together with some worship music I intended to listen to and help me enter into the Lord’s presence. Then with a feeling of excitement and expectancy, after I had closed the hotel room door behind me and settled into the room, I put on the worship music, knelt down beside the hotel bed and without words decided that I would just try to listen to the Lord.
I don’t know about you but for me this was a very difficult thing to do. The moment we try to become still we become very conscious of so much noise and thoughts which are like traffic that pass through our minds, pleading for our attention, creating noise, disturbance and disruption, they become a direct barrier and opposition to the sacred discipline of meditation. This is how it was for me. As I knelt beside my bed but I could hardly hear God because of all the other thoughts and distractions that entered my mind. Yet I had come far and was intent not to move until I knew that God has spoken to me. After an hour I turned down the music so that it was now just playing very quietly and continued to wait upon the Lord, and as the hours passed by and the music faded until it was silent, and the thoughts in my head were now also silenced. In this place of stillness, I became aware that I had entered into a very holy place before God. It was a place like no other place. A place beyond description yet incredibly real. For I could sense the tangible presence of God and I knew he was with me in that hotel room. For three days I was alone with him learning to listen and in that time, he spoke and showed me visions. But the things that I saw were things that disturbed me greatly. They troubled my spirit and I was broken because God allowed me within his graciousness, to see and to feel something of what he sees and what he feels. I won’t share all of that now but only to say that those three days changed my life and set me on a new course, to “Romance the Bride”. To call her back to a place of intimacy with him her head and her bridegroom. She was distracted with many things and had been seduced by the pleasures of this world and the Lord was not amongst her but was outside. This vision has been the guiding light and motivation for the years that followed.
When I returned home I was so pleased to see Jo my wife and to share with her the things that God has spoken to me about. We knew that this was the beginning of something new, and that it was important to continue to remain in a place of stillness and listening before the Lord. So within our home, we prepared a room and dedicated it for prayer, worship and intimacy with God. And for the rest of the year I spent as much time as I could in the presence of God learning to be still and to listen. This was not spoken prayer but the listening of a heart Intent on a deeper reality, truth and experience. For there is a place that is deeper than words can take us to, where our words and our thoughts are insufficient to bring us into such a holy place, and yet our spirit knows the way for his Spirit guides us there. It was at the end of that year of being alone in the prayer room, during which the Lord spoke so many things, that it was time to take this message around the world. And do you know what happened? The first person that I met at the end of that year 2008, was Dr Howard. When the Lord brought us together there was instant recognition in our spirit that we knew that the Lord had joined us and commissioned us to go to awaken and to prepare his bride for his return.
Today as I am even now in the presence of God in my prayer room, I am reminded of the commitment I made 10 years ago and the journey of intimacy and listening which led to the Call2Come movement as it is today. But we are now transitioning into a new day, a new season. Yes we should and do call upon Him to Come, but also the Lord is calling us to come! He’s calling us to come away with him, because he wants to lead us to a place that is reserved only for him and his bride. There is a place that we must go. There are things which need to be done in our preparation. It is time for us to step into and embrace our identity and destiny as His Bride. It is time for us to go into a deeper place than we have ever been before. A relationship that is not about surface feeling, limited understanding or agenda, but the reality of who we are in Christ, and to attend the well that is for the Bride. There is food for the Bride and there is wine for the Bride – a marriage cup that represents the Covenant of Blood and of love between the Bridegroom and the Bride. And he passes to us this cup, as he did on the night he was betrayed, he extends the cup to you today and he says will you drink with me?
This is my prayer today: that we may align our hearts with his, that our minds be transformed by the renewing of the word which washes like water, our mikveh (purification), and that we may abandon all things which have no value or significance in the Eternal purpose of God, but like the one who finds the pearl and gives up everything that he may acquire it, Matt 13:45-46, that we may also give up all things now that we have being awakened by the love of the bridegroom.
My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away! “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret places of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” SOS 2:10-14