Hephizibah

photo by Josefin Brosche Hagsgard

photo by Josefin Brosche Hagsgard

The sweetest, most honey-dripping, beautiful, cherished and warm moment happened when I caught myself in the middle of Lake Table Rock alone, floating upright. My ears were deafened by water but my eyes were drinking in the sunshine.

I could hear my breath whispering in between heartbeats, every heartbeat saying “Jesus is watching out for you. He wants you here.”

When I was in middle school, I used to wonder if I was actually in a coma and all of my life was a complete figment of my imagination. I used to wonder if Jesus just gave me this imaginary life in order to keep my vegetable brain happy while it slowly wasted away into nothingness. Lately, that thought has crept back into my mind as I began to study redemption and being made new in Christ. I have been told so many times that the Lord forgives me seven-fold. He forgives and forgives and forgives. And forgives.

But He does so, so much more than forgiveness.

Isaiah 62: 1-12 talks about the city of Zion’s new name:

“Regarding Zion, I can’t keep my mouth shut,

 regarding Jerusalem, I can’t hold my tongue,

 Until her righteousness blazes down like the sun

 and her salvation flames up like a torch.

 Foreign countries will see your righteousness,

 and world leaders your glory.

 You’ll get a brand-new name

 straight from the mouth of God.

 You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand,

 a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.

 No more will anyone call you Rejected,

 and your country will no more be called Ruined.

 You’ll be called Hephzibah,

 and your land Beulah,

 Because God delights in you

 and your land will be like a wedding celebration.

 For as a young man marries his virgin bride,

 so your builder marries you,

 And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride,

 so your God is happy with you.

 I’ve posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem.

 Day and night they keep at it, praying, calling out,

 reminding God to remember.

 They are to give him no peace until he does what he said,

 until he makes Jerusalem famous as the City of Praise.

 God has taken a solemn oath,

 an oath he means to keep:

‘Never again will I open your grain-filled barns

 to your enemies to loot and eat.

 Never again will foreigners drink the wine

 that you worked so hard to produce.

 No. The farmers who grow the food will eat the food

 and praise God for it.

 And those who make the wine will drink the wine

 in my holy courtyards.’

Walk out of the gates. Get going!

 Get the road ready for the people.

 Build the highway. Get at it!

 Clear the debris,

 hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples!

 Yes! God has broadcast to all the world:

“Tell daughter Zion, ‘Look! Your Savior comes,

 Ready to do what he said he’d do,

 prepared to complete what he promised.’”

Zion will be called new names: Holy People, God-Redeemed,

 Sought-Out, City-Not-Forsaken.”

As I was floating in the lake and could hear the rasp of my breath, I couldn’t help but think about the intimacy in which God made us. He breathed us into life by the overflow of the intimacy of the Trinity. He couldn’t help himself when He made us. He takes incredible delight in the creation and care of us because we are His children.

photo by Sam Schooler

photo by Sam Schooler

While floating and looking at the haze of the golden sky as it hit my skin, I yelled at my friend Betsy who was a few yards away from me.

“Do you think Jesus sometimes does things just so we can receive joy?”

She laughed and said “Oh I think about that all the time. I absolutely think so.”

At that point, waves began to rock me up and down and I became lightheaded from the joy that was overflowing my body. I looked at the wrinkles in my hands and the dents in my palms and thought, “Jesus not only forgives and redeems me, but he delights in me.”

I ran my fingers through my hair. Jesus doesn’t allow a hair to fall from my head unless it is His will. He delights in me. I look around and see the rolling hills. Oh, how fortunate are we to be floating in Jesus’ fingerprints. Oh how fortunate are we to be delighted by a God who sees the beauty of the earth and it is merely dimmed when He sees us.

I think back to Isaiah and cannot help but put myself in the shoes of Zion. So I decided to replace my name with Zion and Jerusalem, and then everything made sense.

“Regarding Kellie, I can’t keep my mouth shut,

 regarding Kellie, I can’t hold my tongue,

 Until her righteousness blazes down like the sun

 and her salvation flames up like a torch.

 Foreign countries will see your righteousness,

 and world leaders your glory.

You’ll get a brand-new name

 straight from the mouth of God.

 You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand,

 a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God.

 No more will anyone call you Rejected,

 and you will no more be called Ruined.

 You’ll be called Hephzibah,

 and your land Beulah.

Because God delights in you

 and your land will be like a wedding celebration.

 For as a young man marries his virgin bride,

 so your builder marries you,

 And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride,

 so your God is happy with you.

I’ve posted watchmen on your walls, Kellie.

 Day and night they keep at it, praying, calling out,

 reminding God to remember.

 They are to give him no peace until he does what he said,

 until he makes Jerusalem famous as the City of Praise.

 God has taken a solemn oath,

 an oath he means to keep:

“Never again will I open your grain-filled barns

 to your enemies to loot and eat.

 Never again will foreigners drink the wine

 that you worked so hard to produce.

 No. The farmers who grow the food will eat the food

 and praise God for it.

 And those who make the wine will drink the wine

 in my holy courtyards.”

Walk out of the gates. Get going!

 Get the road ready for the people.

 Build the highway. Get at it!

 Clear the debris,

 hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples!

 Yes! God has broadcast to all the world:

“Tell daughter Kellie, ‘Look! Your Savior comes,

 Ready to do what he said he’d do,

 prepared to complete what he promised.’”

Kellie will be called new names: Holy People, God-Redeemed,

 Sought-Out, Not-Forsaken.”

Put your name in there. Read it out loud with your name. It is the truth, because it is written. God created us with the delight of His heart. We are the overflow of His delight, we are His. And it is because we are His that we are not our own. This life is not our own. Our bodies are not our own, but they are the Lord’s delight. We are His holy temple.

When I think about people in comas, I think about where their identity goes. Everything they are and what they have done and what they have accumulated and who they know and who they love is all erased from their mind. They are left with a mind of flesh and a body of bones.

Their identity of the world is no longer.

But then I think about Jesus and the new name He gives us. I think about finding identity in that name.

Finding identity in how the Lord sees us.

I think about the fragility of the world and the fragility of humans and the morality of temporary words of the world and temporary hurt of the world versus the eternal delight and pursuit of Jesus, and every view of myself on this earth begins to not matter. It begins to melt away. I begin to realize that not only has the Lord so graciously forgiven me, but He has taken the time to give me a new, eternal name that can never be reversed no matter the sin I commit tomorrow or the person I curse or the sadness I experience or the sickness that overcomes me.

The Lord calls us Hephizibah. Forever and ever until time cannot be measured.

Hephizibah.

“My Delight.”

-Kellie Baxter // @kellie_baxter

Delight MinistriesComment