“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”  

Jeremiah 29:11-14a (NIV)

A Seeker’s Return

by Gerald T. Ching

SOUL: From the depths of my soul I cried out in confusion longing to be loved, but could not discern the diferences between physical pleasures and spiritual pleasures with God. By His grace I am learning the deepness of His Love.

     Lingering in the wings of a forgotten fortress,

patiently I wait for you to come calling.

      Peering out the window of the tallest tower with a hopeful heart,

patiently I wait for you to come calling.

      Watching the lone road that leads to my doorstep,

patiently I wait for you to come calling.

      Standing in the doorway with soulful eyes,

patiently I wait for you to come calling.

 [the desperate search for real love]

1.         In the swirling depths of my heart, I sit and wait, patiently expecting a visit from the one I long to be loved by. The endless hallways here are ever changing; the pathways are ever tedious; only one has the key to my locked heart. Wandering aimlessly through these burdensome corridors, visceral malicious feelings parade their ethereal forms, hoping to leave the imprint of their essence within my broken down spirit. Relentlessly their evil desires dirty the air, the stench of their decay disrupting the natural order of life. Mercifully, the fragrance of love floats in, disbanding the malignancies back into the shadows. Floating through the still night, musical melodies shower me in a waterfall of this love

2.         Miles upon miles of wire crisscross across the globe, connecting all. Whispering in heated conversations to one another of love and of pain, the endless barrage of words bounce and ricochet off the walls of this hollow existence with the longing for more reverberating throughout, and then deteriorating to nothing more than the echoing ramblings of conspiracy. The exchange rate of love inflates as each soul settles for a more physical love, a lesser love. Off in the distance a bazaar buzzes with seekers searching for bargains while workers restock their shelves hoping to catch the eyes of all who pass. People mill about laboring to take care of their daily tasks. Like puppets they purchase the empty promises that line these shelves. Sitting on the highest of shelves, love rests with the other rare and exotic treasures. I see you wandering past the many stands; hurriedly I make my way towards you.

3.         Gold and silver rings decorate your nimble fingers, platinum and pearls ride the curve of your neck; fanciful clothes adorn your supple soft skin, encumbering your spirit, hoping to fill the emptiness that is within your soul. A piercing whistle assaults the waiting crowds as a train pulls into the market. Weaving through the masses, we make our way on board. Hiccupping and hollering on the crowded train, your twisted ways of expressing affection batter my brow; your words shatter my already fragile spirit. Hours tick on through the endless maze of tracks, with passengers forever boarding, but rarely leaving. Hope and longing ride this train hand in hand, one never releasing its grasp of the other. My longing has consumed me to the point of obsession. Blindly I now walk, led by the gleam of golden idols

4.         Soul tied to you, I am pulled like an abused rag doll, stifling me from the growth that I need. Your suffering haunts my own life. With egotistical control, I tower over you, trying to blanket you in peace when my own being is racked with turmoil. I am running your race, clothing myself in your flesh, ignoring my own aspirations, losing my own race. In addiction I medicate myself, consuming you; feeding on you like prey. Shuttering in the winds of your frigid heart, I train myself to endure the stinging chill. Numbness has overcome me, dulling the pain, so the once bitter winds that scraped my delicate soul now go unnoticed. If they should ever dissipate, my longing for you would turn into a longing for this pain.

5.         Confusion sets in, bringing me to do battle once again with a ghost. Fear makes me run towards my strongholds, but the Truth slows my pace. Nefarious forces pressing inward, trudging relentlessly forward, raging forever onward, prickling the skin in fear, clamping ferociously upon my soul, the Evil One twists the very fabric of my reality. Dark winged muscular beasts take flight towards a murky horizon, higher and higher through the atmospheric haze they climb, in a putrid stench I am carried up and into the unknown. Chilling frost covers the hardness of my heart, freezing it. Time creeps as I roll upon these lawless winds of change to the frayed ends of this cerebral scarf of life, wondering – “Can I be saved?

6.         Broken and busted in half, split down the bipolar fissure of a warring heart and mind, the clashing of these opposing sides rage through me, mercilessly. I gasp for air as another assault from my ever paranoid mind thunders and pounds against the reinforced door to my armored heart. Always searching in this mission of the lost, I am left to wander aimlessly in confusion with an ache in my chest whose origins are unknown.

            My heart gasps. My chest trembles. My breath becomes ragged with each passing second. My heart yearns for Your Presence. My thoughts run rabid as time seems to slow. My mind crawls. My vision blurs. The deeper You delve into my soul, the harder Your love pulls at my tattered heart.

7.         Traveling ever forward I draw in deep breaths; the distance between us shortens painfully slow. The years of lonely regret have lengthened this journey. In rebellion the ties of my soul scream under the strain, taut like stretched canvas ready for paint, yearning to be loosened by a tender Hand in love. Exhaustion soon overcomes me while the blazing ball of frustration looms high in the afternoon sky. Under an unrelenting heat wave I crash into the arms of a waiting land, spent and useless. Drawing myself to the corner of my soul, I shiver.

[trying to understand the difference between spiritual and physical pleasure ]

8.         My being yearns to be touched, which brings me to tears when You are near. My love reaches out to You like a babe to a mother’s breast. In impatient impulse I seek out whatever will satisfy, which sends my spirit gravitating towards another. Shackled to the post of this other’s bed, I sit longingly waiting to be fulfilled. Hunger pains pinch and pierce my spirit, the deep ache never appeased. The longing to be satisfied is released into the cosmos, only to return to me still in need. “Where are you, Lover?

9.         A pristine picture is coming together within the jigsaw puzzle that is my mind. A multitude of colors blending and swirling fills my thoughts with this new vision. Your robe is flowing lightly in a gentle breeze and with kind eyes You gaze lovingly into mine, sending my heart fluttering towards Yours. The warmth of love surrounds me as I drift closer to You. Pulled together with purpose, the magnetism of Your Spirit creates an ionic bond between us. This new awakening, frightening yet fascinating, makes my heart sing.

            Time speeds on, laying in its wake the faithless and the heartless that clash like rams vying for position on the mountain, brutally pummeling each other into submission. Strategically and methodically their maneuvering presses onward this conflict to becoming one. The sweet scent of freedom fills the air, mixing with my own poisonous musky essence.

10.       My heart lays exposed, naked, the tragedy of my life plays as an old 8mm reel flickers and pops into action revealing the travesty of a scorned life in perpetual motion. The frames slow as the drama unfolds, revealing a mass of celestial beings jostling for position with sublime elbows, each taking its position, each playing its part while curious travelers pass on by in wonderment. One by one passing travelers pause in concern as the tragedy unfolds. Long lingering moments flit on by in silence. In distorted reality the remake mimics the truth; each memory is gnarled and twisted with shame. In unison, in an endless parade of regrets, offense after offense gets played on the rewind.

11.       Painfully I press on, lost in the swirling winds of my mind. Foraging through the drawers of my thoughts, my existence is ever present, casting long dark shadows over hopes and dreams, shattering the remains of a hopeful spirit. “Comfort me, Lover. Separate me from my ugliness; erase it from existence while holding me close to Your breast.” Thump, thump, thump, my heart beating, never stopping. Light flickering passions dart back and forth as warmth radiates from within; from the depths, a spark of light flares threatening to extinguish the alluring darkness. “When will I be free? Free from these blinding images of false gods? Free from these broken promises of peace?” “Come to Me, My Beloved.”

[the first moments of entering into the presence of God ]

12.       Guided by Your sweet melody I drift through this endless maze turning left and then turning right, searching for the source of this charismatic song. Obstacles that once hindered are no more; hurdles that once obstructed are of no challenge. I walk a rhythmic shuffle as to not miss a beat, the magnetic chorus gravitating to all on this seeker’s quest. My mind fills with new thoughts while fresh, yet familiar longings pour from my heart. “Surround me with Your peacefulness, whirl through me with Your kindness, twirl through me with Your gentleness, swirl through me with Your joyfulness, envelop my heart with Your faithful love.

13.       Your sweet Voice floats effortlessly through the deep folds of my mind, catching and caressing the troubled thoughts, making them disappear. Reaching out to me with love and affection, an image of You burns into my mind’s eye, permanently engraving Your face onto my soul. “Whisper to me the story of Your life, teaching me Your ways. Talk to me with the gentleness of a Lamb; hold me in Your loving arms, warming me in Your heavenly embrace. Shelter me in Your protective sanctuary, radiate Your goodness straight and true, press Your heart against mine and pour Your love into my soul.

14.       “Call Me into the deeper folds of your heart, let Me fill the puncture wounds that riddle throughout. The pumping sensation you feel is the healing process of My love that will slowly fill all that you are.”                                                                                        

15.        Your Voice sound like home as it resonates through the cavernous tombs of my heart where my sins cower in shame. Calling out, Your kindness draws them out. Compelled by Your love and by Your grace, I confess for the Kingdom of God has come near to me. Day one.

[finding satisfaction in the pleasures of God]

16.       Shining in the morning’s light, Your Spirit encircles me. Slowly caressing my delicate face brushing away the tears that stream down, Your kind love cradles my heart. My spirit quickens at Your touch, stoking the fire that now burns eagerly for You. Joy takes me by surprise. My heart smiles as dark clouds part opening the heavens, basking us in warm rays of devotion. Comfort fills my soul; peace and calm endure when You are near. Laughter escapes unexpectedly from my lips, sending tremors that rattle and shake the foundation of my pain.

17.       Seizures quake through my flesh, shattering and setting it afire. Like thunderous waves on a winter ocean, Your passion crashes down upon me. I shiver in anticipation awaiting the next cataclysmic surge. The sureness of Your touch quenches me, slaying me as Your radiant Spirit flows all around me. Desperately, I call out Your Name. Faithfully, Your love guards my heart; sheltering me in a shimmering prism of devotion with rainbow hued emotions interweaving their luster, highlighting this moment of rapture. In this flaring emotional release, the chill that binds my bones melts, soothing my conflicted flesh while a blinding light engulfs me as the Holy Spirit fills me.

18.       At rest in Your loving arms, You quietly sit with me, soothing my weary soul. Your gentle fingertips lovingly caress my hardened spirit, softening it. Your blazing eyes ignite through me, melting the coldness that envelops my heart, vivifying the flame that burns deep within, easing the deep ache inside my chest as they watch with a panoramic gaze. Your radiating love liquefies me making me pliable and ready to be poured. Cool breezes of love fan this metamorphosis into faithfulness billowing me towards the shelter that I seek as my soul relaxes in the cool comforts of peace. “Open my heart so I hear Your Word; speak to me plainly so there’s no misunderstanding.” Filled with compassion, The loving Holy Spirit comforts my heart-felt sighs. With unending patience You pursue me, easing my longing and refueling my zest for life as Your Eternal Spirit communes with mine.

19.       Joined together, the union of our spirits spins past, serenely they are interlocked through Everlasting love. This Love radiates like an inferno, melting the chains of bondage. The hot air blasts through the long forgotten cobwebs of regret. Dancing to the highest mountaintops, skipping from peak to peak with blind abandon, we soar through the clouds, hot jet wash in our wake. At the crescendo of this maiden voyage, we stall in mid air to enjoy the vast horizon that is Your footstool. In that elated moment, all that I once held so precious dissipates to the four winds forever lost to oblivion. I am finally filled with a purer sense of freedom.

            Together at last, Your Presence takes my breath away. Joined in this Eternal blessed union of love, my heart whispers in humble devotion. In this moment of Divine intervention warmth swells in my chest as my heart and mind unite. In that moment I lose myself to Your Grace – Breathless.

[learning to walk with God and trusting in His love and power]

20.       In repose, walking upon the shores of an evening sea, thoughts of You pressing on my heart relax me. Nightly I walk along this sandy stretch of beach towards a peaceful private alcove. I cherish the quiet personal moments that I spend with You there. I’ve come to anticipate with baited breath this time. You help me to release the frustrations of the day. The long walk ends with the sweet vision of You, waiting.

            Welcoming me with open arms, I fall deeply into Your embrace. Your deep caresses soothe the burdens that weigh heavily upon my soul. Soft reassuring whispers warm my heart. From deep within my soul, a radiant glow wells up and begins to shine; with diligence it grows. Our bond of love is strengthening and growing with each encounter.

21.       Awakened by Your gentle touch, I sit up with the warm rays of the sun beaming on me. With You by my side I am at peace. Together we walk along the paths of life; gleefully we talk of my struggles. Anxiously I share with You my moments of awakenings. Eagerly I admit my moments of doubt, knowing that I grow with each faltering step. Gently You speak to me in warm reassuring tones, easing my mind, setting my soul to rest in peaceful bliss where poetic hymns flow from musical lips making all who have ears to hear rejoice with a bold love, filling the air with childlike laughter and bringing tears to the ones with hearts like lions.

22.       Kneeling before the Light of Righteousness, I am strengthened by Your radiant love; it fills me with hope. You beckon me to rise, but I dare not move a muscle for I am unworthy to be in Your Presence. Weighed down by self-inflicted guilt, Your love penetrates the fallacy, evaporating the fabricated mask of condemnation.

23.       Together with the breaking of the dawn we contemplate the day’s trials. Standing in the morning sun, You steady my hand as we tend to all events, helping me along when I am weakened by my own futile efforts. The chiming of the bells echoes high noon to my worn spirit; Your gentle Hand holds my elbow, steadying me as I stumble. Wiping the beads of sweat that have formed on my brow, Your reassuring Presence eases the toils of the morning. Gently, You speak to me in warm tones, filling me with confidence. Refreshed and undaunted we stride to the next challenge, Your brilliance shining as opposing dark clouds roll on in. In renewal we stand as one before it all. Our blessed union heralds a masterpiece in the making. Together we are invincible, for You have already won.

[enjoying God and trusting in His Word]

24.       Big fat heavy droplets of rain fall from the heavens, threatening to wash away the guilt and sorrow that lines my earthen vessel. In a loving caress, intense electrical charges explode with grace, shocking my flesh into submission while an Angel of the Lord soars brightly along side of me rebuking tormenting evil, for Christ’s name sake. Softly staring at me with loving-kindness, unmoving yet full of life, vibrantly Eternal, You have fulfilled my deepest desire which is to be with You.

25.       Kneeling in prayer, I uplift others who are lost in this evil, depraved world, hoping that all reach the peaceful sanctuary of the golden streets of Heaven, “Where God will live with man. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will have passed away. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty the Lord will give drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and the Lord will be his God and he will be the Lord’s son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderous, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all the liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever (Rev. 21:3b, 4, 6, 7, 8; 22:3-5).                                            

26.       Your Word soothes my worrisome spirit as we approach the finish line of this race, reaffirming the convictions within my heart. Quietly, without reproach, a thunderous hum of vibrating angel wings fills the heavens, crescendo with the roaring cheers from the multitudes of Heavenly Hosts as we cross over as one.

            A transcending peace that knows no bounds overwhelms me. Without the sinful trappings of my fallen flesh You welcome me into Your rest. In my inheritance I am now to live as the sweet fragrance of Your goodness envelops me completely, refreshing and rejuvenating my soul for its final flight Heavenward. To completion You have carried me through, my Companion, my Counselor, my Friend. I am within Peace, as a powerful Arm lifts us home.

[more expressions of love towards God from a grateful heart]

27.       In the twilight of my years

                 I will still long for Your Presence.

                      The sweet scent of Your love

                           will still make my pulse race.

            In the twilight of my years

                 I will still long for Your Presence.

                      The tender flavor of Your Goodness

                           will still send me yearning for Righteousness.

            In the twilight of my years

                 I will still long for Your Presence.

                      The gentleness of Your Kind Voice

                           will still ease the burdens of my day.

            In the twilight of my years

                 I will still long for Your Presence.

                      The everlasting vision of Your Holiness

                           will still my pounding, excited heart

            In the twilight of my years

                 Your Presence will still fully satisfy,

                        ceaselessly quenching the thirst of my soul.       

28.                   I love Your passion

                        I love Your courage

                        I love Your loving Holy Spirit

                                    and the way He loves me

                        I love Your patience

                        I love Your kindness

                        I love Your gentle Holy Spirit

                                    and the way He cares for me.

                        I love Your compassion

                        I love Your graciousness

                        I love Your faithful Holy Spirit

                                    and the way He reassures me.

                        I love Your humility

                        I love Your justice

                        I love Your peaceful Holy Spirit

                                    and the way He purifies me.

                        I love Your goodness

                        I love Your self-control

                        I love Your joyful Holy Spirit

                                    and the way He understands me.

                                    I love You today

                                    as You loved me yesterday

                                    as we will love each other tomorrow.

29.       Epilogue: In a luminous night sky with shooting stars racing across the heavenly realms, angels dance radiantly amongst the clouds in preparation for the triumphant return of the Son.