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Thursday, November 6, 2014

A love that allows us to suffer






It was time to get up.


Sometimes you  just need to give in and stop trying to sleep.

Coffee. Coffee would do it.


Turn on the lights. Take out the dogs. Make the coffee. Sit with the coffee. A normal start to my day.


The newspaper hadn’t come yet, which was a good thing. I usually like to get the bad over with first... read it...and then wash it with the Good News of the Word. Cover it with Truth. And Justice. And Hope.


Eyes still bleary, I did one of those, open-the-Bible-and see-what-happens things.


Hmmm....Lamentations. Not feeling it but let’s see what happens.



Whoa. Not a quiet morning read!


Death. Destruction. Suffering. To the max.


And pain. The kind that turns your life upside down and inside out. Writhing, on-the-floor- puffy-eyed pain.


Kind of like what I read in the newspaper...day after day after day...


It wasn’t until the last chapter of the book that I found it. The key to all this carnage.


“Woe! Woe! Would that we had never sinned!
Because of all this we are heartsick; we can’t see through the tears.”


Ahhh…


Sin.


I should have seen it coming.


Four chapters of wanton, selfish, self-centered living.


Four chapters of turning their backs on God. Turning against God.


Delighting themselves in the world, the flesh, the Devil.


Until God said, “Enough!”


“I love you too much to let you continue in sin.”


So He brought in the armies of destruction. Layed waste to their families, their homes, their country.


All in the name of Love.



I wanted to weep.



Weep for all those caught in sin...at this time...in this place.


Who are losing their lives. Their families. Their countries.


Because of choices. Bad choices.  Choices to turn from what is good, and right, and just.


To follow the deception that says something else, other than God, knows what’s good for us. What can make us happy. Fulfilled. Truly alive.


I’ve been there. We all have.


We think one glance at pornography will not ensnare us.


One drink-and-drive will never kill someone.


One stolen candy will not harden us to bigger and shinier thefts.


One smoke. One longing glance. One bad choice.


Until we are writhing on the floor in agony. Watching our world crumble around us.


Just like the Israelites in Lamentations.


At the end of the book I found another key. One of hope.


“Bring us back to you, God-- we’re ready to come back.
Give us a fresh start.”

Yes!



Our God is not only the God of the Angel Armies.


He is the God of the second chance. And the third…

He knows our hearts. Our wills. Our frames.


And that sometimes the best way to set us free from the sins that so easily entangle us is to allow loss. And suffering. And pain.


Only then will we lift our heads up and remember…


His great Love. Mercy. Kindness. Forgiveness.


And that those will be much more appealing than the sin we have embraced.


Yes, there will be consequences.


They will remind us why we never want to go back.


And give us a reason to pray, and praise, and worship a God who loves us enough. 

Loves us enough to allow us to suffer.





Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!”
    Angels listen as I sing my thanks.
I kneel in worship facing your holy temple
    and say it again: “Thank you!”
Thank you for your love,
    thank you for your faithfulness;
Most holy is your name,
    most holy is your Word.
The moment I called out, you stepped in;
    you made my life large with strength.