Gate of Heaven (Canvas)
Selah. A pause or break. A time to rest. "Be still and know that I am God." One day in God's courts that are better than a thousand elsewhere. This is exactly what God has been impressing on my heart the beginning of this year as I have gotten sick over and over again. Now it's best not to wait until God provides circumstances that make you slow down, but here I am in these quiet moments listening to what is on His heart and I couldn't be more thankful.
More often that not, it isn't until we slow down that we can hear that certain way He says our name or His gentle knock on the door of our heart. As we entered 2020 I felt the Lord inviting me once again into His desire for intimacy with His bride, but this time through His identity as the Gate.
In Hebrew, “Sa’ar” or gate is used in Psalm 118:19 referring to the “gates of righteousness,” indicating that by entering the temple, the Israelites were gaining access into the very presence of God. In Greek the word “Pyle,” for gate, is used by Jesus when He tells His followers in Matthew 7:13 to “Enter through the narrow gate,” and again as the word “thyra” when Jesus told His disciples, “I am the gate. Those who enter the sheep pen though me will be saved.” (John 10:9)
All throughout history this has been the invitation. An invitation to respond to the One who is knocking and to enter in through the access He alone provided - Himself. It is a narrow, small gate which Jesus says only a few find. As I was painting this depiction of His nature, I felt Him asking: "will you be part of the few?"
Will we be like Mary who set aside everything else to sit at His feet to truly hear His heart? Or will we recognize His knocking, and yet, in our comfort of the culture, hesitate like the Shulamite woman with her lover? (Song of Songs 5:2-3). Would you recognize when He says your name as Mary did when the risen Jesus spoke her name? (John 20:16).
As we journey into this new year I saw God showing me a doorway into the heavenlies that is opening right now - realms of intimacy with the Lord that we have not yet experienced. A knowing of the Lord that goes beyond just knowledge, taking us into an encounter with the deepest longings of His heart and even to the place of identifying with His sufferings. Will we slow down to respond to His call, stirring the fires of devotion and wholehearted love for Him alone? It is the same calling to intimacy He gave to the lukewarm church in Laodicea:
“Look, I’m standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I’ll come in and we’ll eat together.” (Revelation 3:20)
If we do, I believe we will be taken into the secret council of the Lord and hear Him speaking to us as He did to Jeremiah: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)