Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to [offer] all the wealth of one's house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Songs 8:6-7
Forerunners. A word overflowing with meaning and emotion and memory. My heart was stirred and filled with the idea when I first heard it. Preparing a people for the coming of the Lord in the spirit of Elijah…what a mission! How could I not say “yes”? Then twenty-five years went by. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s wondered at times if God didn’t pull a little joke on me. I’m sixty years old, for crying out loud! I had come to the conclusion that the call had passed me by. Yet in all these years I never once heard that God had rescinded my draft notice.
Lately He has been reminding me of my long-ago commitment. I’ve had a strong sense that God is calling up the troops—putting us on active duty as it were. I have to confess that my first response was disappointment. If only this had happened twenty years ago, I thought, I could have participated! Then He showed me that I have been one of many 'sleeper cells,' scattered all over the world; waiting for the day He would activate us. Waiting for the role custom-made for us. We are experienced...seasoned by the long battle campaign that is life. We've gone through life’s grinder and come out the other side still walking with God. Our scars are badges of honor, marking us as veterans in the end-times army.
His call is insistently militant, but it is the counter-cultural, revolutionary militancy of brokenness and humility; of patience and waiting; of loving Him and loving others in a sacrificial way; of being faithful to the end in a world grown selfish, shallow and fickle. It is the call of the Lover to the Beloved; the militancy of the love-sick. This call does not depend upon youth and vigor—only willingness. And I began to feel the excitement of the call, once again.
Remember what it was like? When He asked for forerunners and your heart burned with longing for Him? When your 'yes' was given...without real understanding... just the 'yes' of a love-sick heart. When all you longed for was to be in His presence; to give yourself more fully; to love and worship Him with all your being, confident that you were unconditionally loved. When you would have done anything you thought He wanted, just to be near Him.
It's time to arise and strengthen ourselves in the Lord. Time to remind one another that we aren’t finished yet. Time to encourage and exhort one another. A time to lift our eyes to Jesus; look above and beyond our struggles and see, really see, His beauty, His all-sufficiency. A time to remember first love and make Jesus our everything; to drink deeply of the life-giving nourishment found in Him in order that we may receive strength to finish our race. He's calling us to come away and be with Him. Answer the call, forerunner. The call to the fellowship of the burning heart. It is time to reenlist.
No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs,
but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
II Timothy 2:4