Novelist Tessa Afshar asks a powerful question – do you spend time with God only when things are going well? In her newest book , her main character Elianna learns to lean on God even while suffering a bleeding disease and being an outcast in her community.
“She has to learn in suffering to linger with God, in the midst of the pain, in the midst of the suffering.”
Do you linger with God? Tessa shares a parallel in her own life. When she was writing this book, she was getting to know the man who would become her husband. At the time, he was merely a close friend. She asked if he would consider helping her read through her manuscript to tweak it and offer feedback. As they became close, and fell in love, it became harder for them to say good-bye at the end of the night.
One night he was standing on her stairs and Tessa found herself thinking,
“Lord, I love when John lingers with me. I love it; it makes me feel so special. It makes me feel so wanted, that he likes me. He loves me more than he wants sleep. He wants me more than he wants rest.”
Immediately the Lord brought a memory to mind for Tessa – at a prayer conference, she had a moment of intimacy with God that left her “in a stupor.” When she finally got up and started moving around, God whispered to her, “You don’t linger with me.” It was an important reminder of God’s delight when we linger with Him. He loves talking with us and connecting with us throughout the day. He has a Father’s heart for His children, and when we don’t make time to sit and be still with Him, we’re missing out on a beautiful piece of our faith.
Lingering with God doesn’t mean things will always be easy and lovely. We may be walking through a valley, but God still wants time with us. Tessa’s book raises a question – how do you learn to linger with God in the midst of suffering? How do you stay with him when everything is stripped away, your dreams are gone, when your longings seem to have disappeared? How do you linger with God? How does He still become your best?
Featured Songs: Jesus, We Love You by Bethel Music; Good to Me by Audrey Assad; Miracles by Jesus CultureNovel talk : Land of silence