15 May The Highway
Set up roadsigns, put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take. Return, Virgin Israel, return to your towns. How long will you wonder, unfaithful daughter Israel? The Lord will create a new thing on earth – the woman will return to the man. ~ Jeremiah (31:21-22).
It looks at me every time I’m set to leave my flat, penned on the whiteboard in the rough but hopeful scribbles of a black marker. It is God’s promise. And, as with all of His promises, like the good father that He is; it comes with instruction.
It is time to return. To stop wondering. He is a jealous God. He doesn’t leave us; we only leave Him. When we go without His say so, He’s still there. But He can’t give us what He wants to give us. How would we learn if He did? That would be irresponsible. Bad parenting. And so, when we ‘go’ on a red light – or even just presume He has given the green light when actually it’s still on amber – a bump or a crash is far more likely.
Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart. Wait for the Lord. ~ Psalm 27:14
But those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31
This blog aims to be simple. No gimmicks. No self-promotion. Just a journey with God, captured.
Its starting point is the end of the second of two failed Christian relationships since the writer was ‘saved’. Both relationships spanned across two countries, but both certainly seemed to start with a divine introduction. Both were with ladies who had a relationship with the Lord, and who displayed qualities of a ‘Proverbs 31’ wife in the making. Both relationships started with hope and attraction, but ended with confusion, frustration, and sadness.
I came across the verse from Jeremiah which started this post while walking along the Devon coastline. It was a short while after the second relationship had seemingly and abruptly ended, and emotions were raw (more raw than they are now…and they’re still raw). I came across this Holocaust memorial in the picture. Something told me to get out my phone and read on. And so I came to those verses.
The next posts will explain how God has taught me in this struggle, so precisely and articulately, through Numbers 22, and how he had introduced its story of Balaam and his donkey to me before things had taken place. But before long I will also describe God’s absolutely faithfulness in how he has picked me up again after the ‘third fall’, and has thrown down the gauntlet, with Ezra 7.
As the second apparently failed relationship ended, I pleaded to God to take over the steering wheel, having realised I was not qualified to drive. I soon asked Him to also do the same with another area of confusion in my life – my job. While sitting at my desk in a career as a ‘Transport Planner’ (working in what is often referred to as ‘highways’); quite amazed about the sudden turn around in favour and experience of work, I heard my colleague’s voice from behind the restrictive workspace divider. “He said you were good at writing too”.
My colleague’s mention of her partner – a former colleague of mine – whose writing she admires, was a catalyst for what I was already thinking God had meant by ‘take note of the highway’.
And so, His promise is in my (clean) hands and etched on my (pure) heart; “‘the woman will return to the man”. The woman here, is both the bride of ‘the man’, Christ: his Church, that is man and God’s kingdom, who are reconciled through redemption and salvation. But also, I believe, ‘the’ woman in the context of this promise is that one who God has predestined for me to be with and to love like my own body. So I have no reason to be down or feel lonely. Now, I just need to learn to put the ways of childhood behind me and step into the new thing, as he makes a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
What can I do to help ascend this mountain of God and find myself standing in His holy place (Psalm 24)? As I forget former things and don’t dwell on the past (Isaiah 43:18), how do I make sure not to put anything before God (idolising) or trust in something other than Him? I pick up the 5 instructions that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra to take on the highway from the land of exile, Babylon, along the river of ‘Ahava’, and into the promised land.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I will, by His grace and for His glory.
~ The Highwayman ~