Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wanderer Two

Psalms 107:10-16, “Some sat in darkness and in gloom, prisoners in misery and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor; they fell down, with no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress; he brought them out of darkness and gloom, and broke their bonds asunder. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. For he shatters the doors of bronze, and cuts in two the bars of iron.”

Here we have another wanderer, the one who sits in the darkness.  I see an emotional component to this.  There are actually two people who fit this; one is intentional and one is unintentional.  Let’s begin with intentional. 

There are people who choose to be miserable.  Aren’t they a dandy?  They love to sit around and wallow in their gloom.  It is like enjoying a nice dip in a big Jacuzzi tub filled with tar.  You walk into their homes and they want to know if you want to get in their tub of tar, and you look at them like, “Why would I ever want to, a: get in that tub with you, and b: wallow in tar?”  These are the longest visits, phone calls, meetings of your life.  Ask people that you really trust if you fit this description.  I sent out a questionnaire to some of my friends one time.  I wanted to know if I accurately viewed myself.  They questions came from these eight points, from the book, Lit, by Dave Edwards,

1)      I do the right things.

2)      I deal with my mistakes instead of hiding from them.

3)      I deal honestly and truthfully with everyone and in everything.

4)      I am careful to use my words to build life in myself and others.

5)      I defend the righteous when they are unrighteously accused.

6)      I do what I say I will do.

7)      I use my resources to build up the kingdom of God.

8)      I do not use others to accomplish my own agenda.

You have to really want to know, right?

So this brand of wanderer sits in darkness and gloom, prisoners, literally shackled to their misery.  They choose this.  Imagine all of the things in life that you choose, and then imagine choosing this.  Some people do, and their misery, their tar-filled-Jacuzzi-tub runneth over.  The thing is, this Jacuzzi tub filled with tar feels just like a wonderful warm bath to them.  It is equivalent.  There is something that happens in this darkness that allows some people to substitute reality with this dark fiction that they own and feed.  This is their rebellion from the words of God, from the counsel of the Most High.  God tells us, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” So, if this is you, get out of the tub!

Next we have the flip side of this, those who are in darkness and gloom not from their own choosing.  These people understand this verse, Job 7:3, “so I am allotted months of emptiness, and nights of misery are apportioned to me.”  The Jacuzzi darkened people are a disgrace to these wanderers, a complete sham.  These unintentional wanderers desperately desire to draw close to the Father, and yet, they are shackled to irons of misery and darkness.  The loneliness crushes their souls.  They are the unwilling participants in this type of trouble, but they are deeply troubled and wait for the Lord to bring them out of this darkness.  I have known so many women with various psychological disorders or challenges, or simply those who go through a tough time.  It is their burden, in the midst of this to keep the words of God close to their hearts and remain fixated on the counsel of the Most High.  It is a challenge of which I cannot conceive.  These are the carefully chosen few who can endure, and have the capability to draw into the Father under the most extreme of conditions; conditions in which most of us would fail.

Whether intentional or unintentional, their hearts are bowed down with hard labor, because all labor is hard when it is under this weight.  Getting dressed, walking outside of your bedroom, prayer…they all seem like an untrained athlete in the middle of an Ironman competition.  It is labored and they fall down…often.  They cry out…often.  They are alone, even when in a room full of people and no one can help them.  The difference that I see between the intentional and unintentional wanderer is this crying out.  The intentional wanderer is not so concerned with being rescued.  The unintentional wanderer desperately desires the Lord to save them from their distress. 

I love how God’s steadfast love is described for this person.  He brings them out of darkness and gloom.  It is like someone walking you from a dark room into the middle of summer in Phoenix.  From darkness to light, it can be blinding.  Wait, this is the best part…He shatters doors of bronze and cuts bars of iron to free these wanderers.  What an amazing God!  He desires freedom for His people and He is willing to act like Super Superman to do it.  Nothing is spared when it is time for the Lord to free His people.

Lord, thank you for your relentless, steadfast love that desires freedom for your people.  Continue to gather up your people from the ends of the earth.  Give us vision to see our broken bonds as a reflection of your glory.


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