Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pride. Pain. Anger. Apathy. Resistance. Rebellion. Paramount Sin. Shame. Regret. Running. (cycle through prior list) Realization. Repentance. Refreshing. Repeat

This has been the constant theme of my life lately. Yet, God in His rich mercy allows me to see sin for what it is. Darkness and evil. Any sort of disobedience toward the Lord whether it is doubting His promises or fearing or hurting another out of spite is direct opposition to Him. We tango with darkness when we disobey the King of Truth and Light.

I was thinking this morning about the plagues God sent through Egypt when Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go (Exodus 10:20-23)

21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23 They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the sons of Israel had light in their dwellings.

Struggling with fear is a normal thing. But I have found recently that when I rebel against God and I decide I will go my own way (even though I know I don't truly want to run from Him, I just want my circumstances to change and be less painful, confusing, hard, etc.) He lets me feel the darkness of stepping away from His loving protection and guidance. This rebellion always begins with my pride somehow being rubbed the wrong way. I get my feelings hurt and then I get angry, because my pride is the very thing that rises up to defend myself against any slight that may not be what I want. Anger festers and I tell myself I don't care. My heart hardens and I resist God's Word, His Holy Spirit (because after all, "He allowed my pride to be hurt and so it's all His fault and isn't He a meanie" my hardened heart agrees with the enemy of my soul). Finally, I give in to rebellion against the One I have been blaming for the bad in my life while neglecting the TRUTH of His character- That He is GOOD and His LOVING-KINDNESS endures forever (Psalm 118). It's then all my good sense is thrown out the window and I usually sin in a paramount way against the Lord. Then the cycle of shame and regret and further running ensues and I feel so trapped because sin is good for a moment but it's end is death (James 1:15)

Eventually an immense sense of fear shrouds my heart and anxiety mounts in my gut. It is a darkness I can feel. And I hate it. It scares the crap out of me and I realize that I have left the side of the only ONE who will protect me from all evil, the ONE who loves me with an everlasting love. And yet, I feel I have messed up so much and for so long that how could I possibly return? There in the state of utter despair is always where my Lord meets me and comes to my rescue if I even have a slight hint of turning toward Him. He is SO FAITHFUL. 

This is what I read just this morning while feeling the darkness surround me on all sides just last night.

For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. (Psalm 18:28)
The earth is a haven for darkness and the things that lurk and creep. Foul is the world and thick is its shadow. The dim murk of this fallen land threatens all that is living and fair. We would be swallowed and bound in slavery to that dark roiling but that we are become children of light. The Father of Light guides our paths and so our ways become clear. His Son is the Light of the world and the darkness flees from before His glory! Abide in Him, dear believer, and rejoice that you can now see! Click here for site reference
Encouraged beyond belief, I also read this: 
"They go from strength to strength." — Psalm 84:7
They go from strength to strength. There are various renderings of these words, but all of them contain the idea of progress.
Our own good translation of the authorized version is enough for us this morning. "They go from strength to strength." That is, they grow stronger and stronger. Usually, if we are walking, we go from strength to weakness; we start fresh and in good order for our journey, but by-and-by the road is rough, and the sun is hot, we sit down by the wayside, and then again painfully pursue our weary way. But the Christian pilgrim having obtained fresh supplies of grace, is as vigorous after years of toilsome travel and struggle as when he first set out. He may not be quite so elate and buoyant, nor perhaps quite so hot and hasty in his zeal as he once was, but he is much stronger in all that constitutes real power, and travels, if more slowly, far more surely. Some gray-haired veterans have been as firm in their grasp of truth, and as zealous in diffusing it, as they were in their younger days; but, alas, it must be confessed it is often otherwise, for the love of many waxes cold and iniquity abounds, but this is their own sin and not the fault of the promise which still holds good: "The youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint." Fretful spirits sit down and trouble themselves about the future. "Alas!" say they, "we go from affliction to affliction." Very true, O thou of little faith, but then thou goest from strength to strength also. Thou shalt never find a bundle of affliction which has not bound up in the midst of it sufficient grace. God will give the strength of ripe manhood with the burden allotted to full-grown shoulders. Click here for reference

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