Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old
Look I am about to do something new;
Even now it is coming. Do you not see it?
Indeed I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:17 -19 (HCSB)
Scripture From Hugs, Daily inspirations
To be free, to reign in life is His purpose for each, together; whatever that means, wherever.
For so many the past hangs like a sour note over the song of their lives. The now, the future and relationships that could be and are, are warped by pain and incredible losses.
How does a person break the shackles that bind in darkness deep within, alienating from God and our fellows?
How does a person walk away from that darkness within?
How does a person open up those locked doors of hidden secrets deep within the caverns of the inner person?
Now these are the eternal questions that demand an answer; none are exempt, except of course if you are young and inexperienced; the young have all the answers and insights, so they think.
Life has not been easy for me these last twenty five years. Great Job-ian losses of family, home, property subdivision, friends, reputation, finances, work and ministry. Broken within, loneliness tore my soul apart, hope went out the window. With it my natural jolly demeanour. Survival through each and every day became the slugging reality stepping through the mud and mire of an existence without much love and affection in a loveless marriage that broke my heart. Head down, simply I did what I had to as a single parent for my children, for their welfare. There was no joy, no peace but a void of nothingness, a deadness that consumed my soul; that made me less a man; the dark one tore the good from within, trampled it under the weight of his oppression.
God did not seem to be there.
Truly the people of God were not there; their Job comforter approach certainly was. Theological rightness proclaimed over me more times than I could count provided cold comfort. Where was God? It seemed not in His people…. But where was that warm embrace from those who called their name Christian? Why didn’t His people care and share? God where are you? Fortunate I knew in the mess and brokenness He existed. I am fortunate I have two good friends more than most. That is not the complaint. My weeping has been for His dysfunctional Body that neither understands their importance to each other nor desires to walk life His way; in other words hypocrisy. The proclamation is one thing but allegiance is given to organisations, to man, to ambition, to self promotion to another authority in our lives than Him. It is business as usual doing what has always been done. The business precludes the astounding possibility of Jesus love happening; being there for one another as the Scriptures say in love, prayer, bearing burdens etc. The draw-bridge of society’s values of privacy, self-gratification, entitlement, self comfort, greed and un-involvement isolates from the pain of reality of those in our sphere of influence. Simply we refuse to engage, to love one another as He loves.
We become good at ‘supposedly’ praying for one another to ensure there is no need to enter into the others pain; that is too costly, too time consuming in a society that is time poor and over stressed with over-activities; the dark one’s agenda to make God’s people irrelevant and ineffective. Jesus’s love costs and He assured us all will be rewarded according to the cup of water, the visiting in prison and compassion that is His heart.
Whom do you serve?
Now back to the Scripture. He spoke those words of Isaiah to me, re-igniting hope. With it came a peace from time to time massaging my bruise, broken soul. The spirit ignited a lost dream, a lost hope gently wafting my suspicion and uncertainty. In the midst of disillusionment, disconnectedness, distraction, distraught and dire circumstances God comes; gradually He restores the years the locust has eaten, the wilderness has consumed. You find you are on the arm of the Beloved as you are being led out of the wilderness. God Himself is here.
In the wilderness I learnt a lot of important lessons; that who I was, was not who I was in the eyes of God. He saw me differently. What was, was not necessarily what God wanted nor planned by Him. Character was, is important to Father, more important than my comfort, my prosperity and my dreams. Character formed in the furnace of affliction produces a quality distinctly different from a life without the intense heat of the purifying suffering. There are many important ‘revelations’ received in the wilderness on the way to the Throne room. Abraham, Moses, David and countless others endured the ‘wilderness’ journey, as did Jesus. As have I.
Satan’s agenda with Job, as it is with us is to destroy trust in the Father, the Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth; to reduce us to ineffectiveness through isolating the human heart from intimate friendship with the Father. Most who call themselves Christians are dwelling in the wilderness viewing the cloud, reaping the benefits of the cloud of His Presence believing that is all there is to their faith and spirituality; they are content with a relationship of distance when more is available. Moses, the friend of God enjoyed what few have, many crave for,
Father’s agenda is to bring us close; a place where enjoyment of companionship regardless what this world, the flesh and the devil throws at us is our normal daily experience. In that place Father produces in us character, a trust in the midst of suffering and pain, a hope beyond what is happening. There He takes us beyond mere doctrinal correctness, an obsession with being right to a place where rightness thrives within us, the place of love. Yes regardless, we are right in Christ before His eyes because of the work of Jesus of Nazareth on the Cross, his Resurrection and ascension being seated by the Father.
Unfortunately much in this temporal dimension tears from the human heart the good Christ has for us, in us and from among us.
Besmirching the character of God Satan taints the saints with “God doesn’t care” or “God Is unable” thus thrusting the human soul into the arena of independence from God, the original sin. Life becomes replacing relationship with ‘what we can do’ to fill the God void within. Many Christian clergy are guilty of this dynamic; aspirations of love replaced by determined exertion to prove significance and competence in the world of work Once severed from God in the heart the declaration of the human spirit is “if God can’t I will”; enter the Old Covenant of self effort, the wilderness stands before such; a hard but a wonderful place to be. God will use the wilderness to bring back those loved into an ever-closer intimate relationship with Him; as He did with Job. Job was not left to his resources even though he and his friends believed it was so; God ever mindful watched over him.
I love those words of Job, “I know You can do everything……. I knew so much about You but now I know You. I have seen You” Job 42:2 & 5 (my rendition after years of meditation and research).
The past need not rob us of a future with God.
He makes all things new.
There are big problems for Western society Christians in their experience of God. He does not intend the loneliness and the alienation from Him and from one another to be the norm. Twenty first century Western culture has severe impediments to every day health and well being producing disease, severe medical conditions, broken families and dysfunctional relationships.
The disappointments of the past invade our souls creating illusions keeping many from dialogue with Father. If we will boldly stare at the past contemplating His truth with a preparedness to hear honestly the past, lifting our eyes to Heaven, respite, hope and a trickle of fearful trust may just enter the soul. As the Holy Spirit’s revelation surfaces in our awareness, a dialogue between the Divine and a human begins. His Divine revelation seeps into the soul from the spirit; there the human is confronted with a choice, change through acknowledging His revealed wisdom as He sees us and what happened or to maintain our inner rage, no matter how quiet. If in humility the knees are bow, the hands are open saying “Be it unto me according to Your will” then the choice is to “Hear His voice now” then His pervading Presence accomplishes what we cannot. Then I have found His ‘shalom’ (uninterrupted peace that produces wholeness) brings a tranquility within my spirit, within my being as I have turned to Him and submitted to His insights and directions. On the pathway there are many signposts, junctions of decisions to other places or to return to the known, the true and the tried, the way back to Egypt . The Children of Israel in the wilderness had ten such decisions. Yet they persisted in not ‘trusting’ but lusting after what they wanted; at times a way back to Egypt.
For me, I want out of this long wilderness journey into His promises, His closeness.
I am coming out of the wilderness on the arm of my Beloved declaring
I proclaim the name of the Lord:
I ascribe greatness to my God
He is the Rock
His work is perfect
For all His ways are justice
A god of truth and without injustices
Righteous and upright is He
Deut 32: 3 &4
To change, there is the need to look at our past with new eyes. He has never left us, will never leave us. He is there for us. We cannot change what has happened but there is the chance to become free from the tentacles of memories that cause such pain. Yes things did not work out the way I wanted. God is still God, in heaven, in me and in this world.
Brother Job suffered incredible lost. As he journeyed through his suffering, grief and pain deep called to deep; tearing the comfort, the familiar, the expected from him. In so doing Job questioned his existence, life itself but more importantly God. He found God was not afraid of any question he had to ask. Indeed God had some very penetrating questions for Job to answer. While Job attempted to make sense of what happened, God’s concern was otherwise, the man He held in high esteem . God encountered Job, this righteous man who God said “there was none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and shuns evil”. His way out was humility and forgiveness; humility because he listened and prostrated himself before his Maker in abject deference. Forgiveness as he saw his errors of expectation and assumptions of how God was dealing with him.
Prostrate yourself before the Maker of all the Earth in holy worship proclaiming He is a God of faithfulness we accept what was without rancor, resentment or bitterness, knowing today is His day with me, and the future regardless of what it holds will be with and in God.
“I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers.” -Isaiah 65:24