Until the Day Breaks and the Shadows Flee

Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh…

-Song of Songs 4:6

A spiritual challenge: when asking, seeking and knocking don’t seem to work

This last year, I found myself feeling far from the the Lord, and I began longing for His presence. When I prayed about it, God showed me that one of the reasons I was feeling so far from Him was because I had pulled away after going through a period of suffering which began in March of 2020 when Israel went into covid lockdown. At the time, my husband and I had been seriously seeking the Lord, (we had just finished participating in a 40-day global Jesus Fast), we were moving forward in our ministry, and things were good! When the lockdown hit, I thought it might be an opportunity to have some “time off” from our busy routine. God, however, had something completely different in store for me.

Pretty quickly after going into quarantine, I started suffering from a debilitating physical condition. In addition to the practical steps one should take in such a situation, I took every right spiritual step: I sought the Lord in prayer. I spent more time in the Word.  Instead of improvement, things got worse. So, I searched my heart. I repented. I prayed more. I declared the Word over my life.  But then attacks started. And they kept coming. For a long time. Eventually, over time, things started to improve, little by little. But even after things had improved significantly, I still felt somehow traumatized, like I had been in a violent shipwreck at sea and was washed up on the shore still alive…but barely. I had climbed the mountain of myrrh through the night that Song of Songs 4:6 speaks about: myrrh, an ancient biblical spice used in the sacred anointing oil and in Yeshua’s burial, often speaks of suffering and death.

The Garden of Gethsemane – An invitation to suffering

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane…He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

-Matthew 26:36-38

The scene of Yeshua alone in the Garden of Gethsemane came to me often during my difficult period. That night in the garden, Yeshua had asked the disciples who were closest to Him, Peter, John and James, to stay with Him as He wrestled with the great suffering He was about to endure. Instead of watching with Him, Yeshua’s nearest and dearest fell asleep.

When His persecution and suffering began, all His disciples (with the exception of John) would abandon Him. We often think of the great physical pain our Lord endured on the cross, but we do not often contemplate how it was coupled with the emotional pain of being abandoned by nearly all His friends and, ultimately, being cut off from the presence of the Father, as Daniel 9:26 foretold: the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing. This is the Suffering Servant whom we are called to follow and emulate.

How popular culture has shaped our faith

Shallow secular culture has unfortunately influenced many in the church and trained us to think that God’s main desire for us is to be blessed, prosperous and happy. As a result, in the minds of many, any kind of suffering in the life of a believer must be the result of sin. A very mature woman of God at Tiferet Yeshua whose teenage son was killed fighting in one of Israel’s recent wars in Gaza shared with me the pain she experienced when fellow believers made her feel that her suffering and loss must be the result of sin.

Let me be clear: there is much needless suffering we experience which is a result of our bad choices, practicing sinful behavior and not investing time in our relationship with God. However, the New Testament makes clear, over and over, that there is indeed suffering which is according to God’s will (1 Peter 4:19) and that we are invited to participate in Messiah’s sufferings (1 Peter 4:12-17).

It’s all about love

I once thought participating in Yeshua’s suffering came only through direct persecution for the gospel. That is indeed part of it, but it is also more than that. When we understand that God’s main desire for us is to grow and mature in our love for Him and for others, we discover sooner or later that suffering is part of it.

Song of Songs 5 – The mature believer’s invitation to the Garden of Gethsemane

In Judaism, the Song of Songs is considered “The Holy of Holies”. In addition to its being a literal description of the love between King Solomon and his betrothed, the Shulamite maiden, on a spiritual level it is seen as a description of the sacred love journey between God and Israel. As followers of Messiah, we see it as the description of the bride of Messiah (Jew and gentile) growing in mature love for her Bridegroom King.

Chapter five of the Song of Songs describes the suffering and persecution of the mature bride. She is described as a garden, and others are blessed and strengthened by the fruit evident in her life (5:1). At that point, she must feel good, being right where she needs to be! But she is unaware that her Bridegroom is inviting her into a new and painful phase of growth, not unlike Yeshua in the Garden of Gethsemane asking us to keep watch with Him and to fellowship with some of His sufferings.

She is asleep, but her heart is awake (5:2): when Yeshua finds the disciples asleep, He says, “the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt.26:41)

The Bridegroom, outside, alone in the night, is seeking her companionship (5:2): “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matt. 26:38)

-She is confused at this unexpected turn of events, but ultimately responds in obedience (5:3-5) – despite being scattered and confused, the disciple John and a company of women stay with Yeshua through His suffering (Jn. 19:25-26, Mrk. 15:40-41)

-She opens the door to Him, but He is not there. She seeks Him but cannot find Him (5:6): Yeshua is abandoned by the vast majority (Matt. 26:56) and suffers the ultimate separation from the Father on the cross (Matt. 27:46, Dan. 9:26)

-She is beaten and bruised by authorities over her and they strip her of her cloak (5:7): the Lord Yeshua was beaten, bruised and stripped of His clothing by the Jewish and Roman authorities (Matt. 26:67, Jn 19:1)

What is the response of the mature bride after all this ordeal? She cries out that she is lovesick for her Beloved and launches into highest praise of Him to the daughters of Jerusalem. What a powerful witness! In the next chapter, she declares “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine” from a place of personal experience knowing there is nothing that can separate her from His love. That is why her Beloved calls her “as awesome as an army with banners” in the next chapter (6:4).

That is going through the refiner’s fire – an idea that used to frighten me. The longer we walk closely with our Beloved, the more we understand His heart for us and that sometimes He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death in order to bring us to a deeper level of maturity, love and knowing Him…which is the truest joy and pleasure we can ever know.

If you feel like you have never experienced a real relationship with God, I highly recommend to you my friend Monica’s testimony!

by Tamar Afriat





0 thoughts on “Until the Day Breaks and the Shadows Flee

  • Melanie Webster says:

    I can relate to this testimony very much these days. Waiting for joy and peace and productivity in service to our Lord return to my life!

    • Tiferet Yeshua says:

      Dear Melanie, may the Lord encourage you in this time as you contend for His joy and presence as you serve Him. He is faithful! -Tamar

  • Connie Ness says:

    My 40 yr old godly son Matt was struck with psychosis at age 19.
    Got on heavy meds and continued on with life, stable, tired. Then stopped taking his meds and battled with it on his own.
    He was born premature and got a bowel disease in the premie nursery.. necrotizing entrecolitis.
    Had to get blood transfusions and in Canada at that time there was no screening for tainted blood. He got Hep C.
    At this point his gall bladder is FULL of gall stones (from an ultrasound test. He is visiting here and no possibility for an operation…
    But God.
    I am pressing in to God. Am an Intercessor and involved in leadership / missions.
    Seems every time I press in again deeper, he gets sick again. Please pray.

    • Tiferet Yeshua says:

      Dear Connie, we pray that God will strengthen you in the place of intercession for your son and that you will begin to see breakthroughs in his health in Yeshua’s name!

  • Thank you, Tamar, for helping me make sense of, and confirming the season that I am in. Lots of tears, but I know that this season is needful.

    • Tiferet Yeshua says:

      Dear Nina, these seasons are hard to get through, but if you are sowing in tears and leaning on Your Beloved, in the process you will reap something deep and meaningful in joy, and that’s a promise (Psalm 126:5)! -Tamar

  • Thank you Tamar for sharing this. Tears were in my eyes as I read your article. I can relate. Thank you for putting it all in words 🙂 And Scripture! I have heard the Lord say to me the verse from Song of Songs about the woman walking out of the wilderness leaning on the arm of her Beloved… your points connecting Songs to Gethsemane are powerful. Thank you again. Blessings and shalom. 🙏💕🙏

  • After one of her 7 miscarriages my wife also got some Job’s comforters telling her there must be sin in her life. Have they never read what the Lord said to Job? While teaching a class on First Principles I found some students resisting the idea that a believer can undergo “undeserved” suffering. I use inverted commas because we all deserve much worse than what we ever encounter. After all, our sin caused the awful suffering of our Creator and Saviour.

    • Tiferet Yeshua says:

      Dear Pieter, yes, we all run into “Job’s comforters” at some point: I think most people do not know how to react to great suffering in others, and most haven’t thought it through themselves because it’s frightening. At the end of the day, our Great Comforter is the only one who can turn our mourning into a garment of praise and give us beauty for ashes. -Tamar

  • Such wisdom is written in these words. Tamar, you have captured the heart of Yeshua with such insight into why someone suffers. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

    • Andreas Poesse says:

      Danke Tamar,
      Dein Artikel hat mir sehr geholfen das lange Leiden meiner Frau neu zu bewerten und es mit Gottes Hilfe anzunehmen. Es befreit mich auch von dem Druck, den Herrn unter Druck zu setzen, was die Heilung angeht.
      Vielen Dank für das Teilen Deiner Erkenntnis!
      Gott segne Dich und Deinen Mann!

  • So true. I recently realized the choices I made when I was younger– made for the Lord and by the Lord’s conviction,– resulted in hardships that I never anticipated. I got a little mad at God, but did repent. We will always pay a price when we seek to do God’s will.

    • Tiferet Yeshua says:

      Dear Lisa, what I have learned over the years is that our “yes” to God in adversity moves His heart deeply: those sacrifices we make in right heart ( out of love and not trying to earn points). See the King’s response to the Shulamite’s obedience in Songs 6:4-9, what praise! Yes, we can pay a price to do His will, but that means all the more to Him because it wasn’t easy. I truly believe that down the road that the joy and peace and closeness to His heart is far beyond what we have left behind for Him! I pray He continues to give your heart a personal assurance of that!-Tamar

  • Andreas Pösse says:

    Danke Tamar!
    Dieser Artikel hilft mir die lange Leidenszeit meiner Frau wieder neu aus einem anderen Blickwinkel zu sehen und das Ganze anzunehmen. Es nimmt mir den Druck, Gott unter Druck zu setzen. Gott ist ein so geheimnisvoller Gott. Ihm sei alle Ehre!
    Shalom Dir und Deinem lieben Mann!

    • Tiferet Yeshua says:

      Dear Andreas, may God continue leading you deep into the wonderful mysteries of His heart and healing you step by step in the valley of tears as you walk through the loss of your wife. Praise God that we can encourage each other by sharing our testimonies. Frieden und Segen von uns beiden -Tamar und Gil

  • Donna Diorio says:

    I love all you say, but honestly I can barely read it because the type is set back so light – and the reply box is set back even paler than that! If you want ANY older people to read this, your web designer is going to have to make the type face dark enough it can be read. It HONESTLY strains old eyes to try to read it. Thank you. I have written about this before to other RITG sites who all seem to have the same hard to read print.

    • Tiferet Yeshua says:

      Dear Donna, thank you for the feedback. We are aware of the problem (as I type this, I see exactly what you mean about the comment type being so pale). We tried setting it to the blackest type, but it is still not enough. We will have out web designer take care of it.

  • Sonam Christopher says:

    This message very well inspired. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I am also experiencing a season of emotional pain and spending it soaking in God’s love through prayer and His word. Praying for someone very dear to my heart who is under the grip of darkness. He lives in Tel Aviv actually. More clear than anything in my life I have felt God leading me to pray without ceasing for him. Filling up those bowls with earnest tearful prayers out of love. Thank you so much for this message, it was so beautiful and comforting to read.

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