Text: Lamentations 3:37-44 and other ‘return’ messages preached by the prophets
I wrote the song ‘Returning’ as I reflected on the messages of the prophets of the Old Testament. Their message, though despised so many years ago, is still timeless today as it still beckons people to return to the Lord. Reading through the prophets has opened my eyes to the patience of God and yet his consistent character of mercy in judgment. Clearly, when the Lord announces judgement on his people it is the last thing that he wants to do; it is the ultimatum for a stubborn and proud people. Tracing the steps of my own life, I see so clearly where I turn away from God in willful disobedience and forsake not only his love for me but also his grace. Lovingly, God intrudes on my actions and thoughts outside of his desire for me and brings me back to dependency; a trust exclusively found in him.
The verse in Lamentations has unique significance in my own personal prayer life as I seek the Lord in prayer. Often times it is a struggle to devote time to prayer and really pray. I can pray throughout the day – and I do, but I notice a difference when I really pour out my heart and pray with complete attention and direction. Sometimes the difficulty in my absent prayer life results from disobedience. These are times when I know I should approach God but am reluctant to do so due to sin. I am comforted in these times when I take the step to return back to the Lord in confession and repentance. For in those times of returning I am drawn back to the heart of the Father and his love for me.
You are everything, you are my delight
You are my song, in the night.
You have encompassed me
Yet I have turned away, forsaken your love,
And like a father, you come break my world in two.
And like a child I come running back to you.
And I am returning to you.
When it seems that you, have covered up your face,
In a cloud, a darkened cloud.
And all the prayers I pray
Cannot e’r get through.
What must I do, what must I do?