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Hemmed in by God: How to Tell if Christ is Keeping You for Himself - by Lorraine Espenhain

Hemmed in by God: How to Tell if Christ is Keeping You for Himself

5 minutes

You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me.”
(Psalm 139:5)

A little while ago, I found myself tossing and turning in my bed from 10:00 P.M. to 1:00 A.M. in an extremely agitated state. I could not understand why I was feeling so restless and agitated.

The more I lay in my bed, the more intense these feelings grew. Try as I might, I simply could not sleep.

Frustrated, I finally gave up, got out of bed, went into my study, and there began to meditate before the Lord. As I meditated, His Word began to burn in my heart, and it was then that I discerned that it was the Lord who had kept me from sleep because He was summoning me to write.

Midnight Inspiration

Usually, when I sit down to write, the Lord inspires me to write material that will pertain to all who follow Him. But this time was to be different. This particular message was to be directed to a certain few, handpicked and specially chosen by Christ, to glorify Him in a very unique way – a way not assigned to most.

Although God loves all of His children equally, we are not all called to glorify Him in the same way.

There are certain individuals who have been called to walk alone with Christ in much the same way that the desert mothers and fathers walked alone with Him. These individuals may not live in deserts or in caves, but they find themselves isolated and lonely nonetheless, and they have worn themselves out trying to figure out why this always is.

They see others enjoying the blessings of friends and community, yet wonder why these things always seem to bypass them, no matter how hard they try to pursue them. They never quite feel as if they completely belong, and can never shake the feeling of being one who is different from the rest.

A Wild Flower

Many years ago, I read something in a book. Perhaps it was something that St. Therese of Lisieux wrote, or perhaps it was something that was written by another spiritual writer. I cannot give credit to the author of these words because I cannot remember where I read them, but the words, I never forgot. Please allow me to paraphrase what the Holy Spirit has brought back to my remembrance in this regard.

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There was once a beautiful flower that had been planted in the midst of a barren wilderness. A traveler came along and observed the flower all by itself in the wilderness.

The existence of this flower in this particular place did not make sense to the observer, who took it upon himself to question the flower. He wanted to know why the flower had been planted in a place where no one could see it, enjoy it, gather it, take pleasure in it, or put it on display.

The flower explained that it was not created for men; rather, it was created for God, for His enjoyment and pleasure. It had not been placed on the earth for men to be captivated by its beauty and fragrance; those things belonged to God and to Him alone.

There are some in the Kingdom of God who have been called to be those flowers. And to ensure that they serve this holy purpose, Christ hems them in. He encloses them behind and before, lays His hand upon them and guards them with a jealous love. There are some whom He wants all to Himself in order for them to glorify Him in the manner prescribed for them before the foundations of the earth were laid.

It is not because these individuals are loved more than others. It is because the specific task to which they have been assigned in order to glorify God on the Earth demands this way of life of them. It cannot be otherwise, and Christ will not let it be so.

Perhaps you have complained often to God that you were not getting the fellowship that you needed.

“Your fellowship is with the Spirit,” is His reply. Perhaps you have wondered why it is that no one calls, no one writes, no one visits, or even seems to give you a second thought. Is it because you are unloved by men?

No, it is because He guards you with a jealous love and will not share you with others. You will be His and His alone.

Beloved from On High

Can you think of a time, beloved, when you began to depend on another more than you depended on Him? You enjoyed that person or that thing more than you enjoyed Him. You gave more of your time and energy to that someone or something else than you gave to Him. Perhaps that individual or that thing became your motive for everything that you did, said, or thought?

I ask you, where is that “someone” now? Where is that “something” now? Have they not been removed from your life altogether and you find yourself all alone once more? Have they not been ordered by Heaven to stay at a distance until you give to your Lord what He alone will have and no other?

How swift was Heaven’s intervention in the day His jealousy was aroused, when He saw you loving, needing, trusting, desiring, enjoying, and reaching out for something other than Him!

From His temple He saw you giving to another what solely belonged to Him, and His jealousy was ignited in Heaven. The angels who attended Him trembled in fear when they saw Him rise from His throne. The heavens were parted as He made His way toward you and this “other,” and even demons trembled in fear when they saw the look upon His face.

He came in between you and this “other,” scattering everything that took even the tiniest fragment of your heart away from Him, and then He returned to His throne while you wept all alone and did penance for your unfaithfulness to Him.

When He saw your repentance, He rose from His throne once more, and He restored you because He delighted in you. Holding you close to His heart, speaking tenderly to you, He repeated to you the words which His servant Hosea spoke long ago when he, too, had been grieved by an unfaithful spouse: “You are to live with Me for all your days. You must not be intimate with any other, and I will always be Yours.”

Ignored and Alone?

Because you are often left alone, you think that it is because you are despised and unloved by others, not realizing that it is because you are being guarded by a Love so intense, so protective, and so jealous that even the devil and his angels think twice before throwing a glance your way.

You have stolen the Master’s heart! You have captivated Him by your love. You will be His and His alone, to be shared with no one else. He will never allow you to drink from another well. He alone will satisfy you with His love.

How often have you approached a “well,” only to find it empty and dry? A friendship? A dream? A plan? A business endeavor? A community? Family? You have seen others in Christ drinking deeply from the blessings of these wells. Why can’t you?

It is because He is calling you to drink from Another Well. “Come to Me,” He says. “Come with Me to a quiet place; where I will satisfy you with my Love and give to you what no man or thing on Earth can ever give.”

His Alone

This Love that will neither let you go nor share you with others has chosen you for a very special purpose, but in order for you to fulfill that purpose, you must be His and His alone.

You are alone because you are that flower in the wilderness, created for Christ’s pleasure, and no one else’s. Your beauty and your fragrance are for Him alone, never to be shared with others, for this is what Heaven has decreed.

There are flowers called by God to glorify Him in gardens, and there are flowers called to glorify Him alone, in the wilderness, away from the eyes of men. There are some flowers whose beauty He will share with the sons of men, that they may marvel at them and give glory to God because of them, and others whose beauty He will never allow to be enjoyed by anyone other than Him.

If you find yourself always alone, it is because He has enclosed you behind and before. If He has enclosed you behind and before, it is because you belong to this latter group, where you will remain all the days of your life until the day He reaches down His hand, gently uproots you from the Earth, presses you tenderly to His heart…

…and gathers you to your eternal home.

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About Lorraine Espenhain

Lorraine Espenhain
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Lorraine now lives in New Mexico. She is a wife, homeschooling mother, religious instructor, and freelance writer with 200+ articles on Catholic.net. She also has her own children’s column at Agua Viva, her diocesan newspaper. Meet Lorraine
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