Return to me, God says. & I’ll return to you.
Well, the Lord of Armies, to be exact.
Just because I was raised in the church & have never known a world apart from it doesn’t mean that my faith has been a good representative of that. I’ve always known Jesus, but that hasn’t necessarily stopped me from praying late nights on the way home that he would save me all over again. Praying that he would forgive me, & then doing the same the next night & the next.
& here I am, for the first time, having something important I wish I could say to 22 year old me.
Return to him & everything he has will be yours & he’ll hold you tight again & you’ll have that lasting love you want so badly. Don’t pray that prayer anymore. He is yours! Just step out into the sun & his warmth will meet you there.
Because Zechariah said it & now its all too clear.
Returning doesn’t have to mean lost.
I think this is where I was stuck in the “Jesus, shoot me a Bible character that’s relatable” mindset.
Because I wasn’t lost. I’ve been saved the whole time, but maybe I haven’t searched him out with the passion I know he is worthy of, or I became casual in my faith, or, through the seasons I most regret, I didn’t put him first.
Just because we aren’t lost doesn’t mean we’re where we’re supposed to be.
God sent Zechariah with these words because he felt second choice, like an unimportant, “I’ll worry about Him when there aren’t any better options” kind of feeling. & just as God says these words to His people all those years ago, He repeats it again to us in our seasons of raised comfort levels & lack of transforming love. He says return to me. Let me fill you again.
& when Zechariah repeats this heartfelt message (Zechariah 1:3), He doesn’t just call God ‘Lord’. He refers to Him as the Lord of Armies, a name commonly used when God’s people were living in exile. Why did they call Him this instead of just Lord? Because they were constantly aware of their state of captivity. All they had to do is open their eyes & all the memories & reality of where they were flooded them. They couldn’t escape their struggles. But the Lord of Armies, the Lord of vast angelic armies, His power was great enough to deliver them. When there was no other answer, God still stood as powerful & mighty enough.
A couple weeks ago I was editing a maternity session & came across an image that left me floored. Sure, I had taken it, but I didn’t realize the powerful vision the picture portrayed until I was sitting there in my living room getting ready to edit it.
Rewind a little to the session itself where we were playing under a big tree. It was huge, & on such a bright evening, the shadows cast below the tree was vast. The little boy wasn’t all too sure about me or the session, & in the moment, he was under the shade of the tree & I was the one standing between him & his current position & his dad, who was standing in the sun.
In this picture, this precious little boy is running out of the shade into the light, not looking side to side, but staring straight ahead into the sunny clearing where his father was.
Come into the sun, child.
Stop looking around & trying to figure things out on your own. Stop waiting for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Return to Him & I promise you, He won’t hold back.
When we come into the sun, & its warmth isn’t delayed based on how much time we spent out of it. We come into the sun & immediately are flooded by the warmth that pours out over our shoulders. His love is the same.
His love does not delay. It isn’t withheld from us until he knows we’re serious about this transformation business. He simply wraps us in his grace & carries us home.
Come dance in the warmth & watch the Lord of Armies swoop you up into His arms & welcome you home, sending His angels to take care of the battle before you.