I don’t often write with the emotions I have at this moment. Sometimes my pen has colorful ink, but today it is black. Often our darkest night comes with pleas and bottles of tears.
There is a message in the sorrow– in the wilderness where the beast and wild animals live. There is testing, humbling, and a pruning process so potent it will scrape our sludge in the secret places of our hearts like a squeegee on a window seal.
But before we reach that moment when the window is transparent, and we have direction and vision for the road ahead, it will often seem too dark to breathe.
Our hair hangs in dread locks.
Our teeth grow fur.
We can’t find the strength to bathe.
In this place of drudgery, our soul will be so trodden down and beaten, we won’t be able to eat, or the Father will command us to measure our food and cook it over human dung.
Thick darkness, where you fall head first only to be kicked where you land, or worse stepped over like a dead bird in the road.
It’s a blackness that tastes like a cup of bitterness that we raise up to the sky and scream, “TAKE THIS CUP!”
THE SKY IS FALLING!
We wring our hands, and we bend our knees, but we hear nothing.
Like a woman waiting to be delivered from the child in her womb, we can’t get comfortable.
We can’t get free.
We can’t stop the mockers.
We can’t pay the debtors.
We yearn for someone to tarry with us for an hour.
We cry out for prayer and get an instant emoji of praying hands in every skin color known to man, but feel no relief.
We turn off social media.
We try to worship but hit brass ceilings.
We yell at our spouses with warnings, but they are distracted.
We walk outside and meet a bear—only to encounter a lion.
We look for our coat, but it’s being sold on eBay or coated in the blood of a wild animal.
We rock ourselves.
We crawl into a fetal position.
We soak our couch with tears, but again, silence.
Our hearts are blaring “help!” while we place a fractured smile on our faces for the postman and the passers-by.
We chew our nails down.
We call Lucy, Fred, Ethel, and Ricky, but they only offer temporary patching.
Along with our shrieking for help, there is an empty well that we keep trying to get Living Water out of dead cisterns.
We want to change the circumstances with our own strength.
We strike rocks, and we yell at those closest to us.
Be beat our breast with our fist
We walk in front of a mirror and forget what our reflection looks like.
We run and hide in caves and end up living with the enemy because they treat us better than the ones near.
We review our last dreams and sound like Job.
“If I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
My couch will ease my complaint,’
Then You frighten me with dreams
And terrify me by visions;
So that my soul would choose suffocation,
Death rather than my pains.
“I waste away; I will not live forever.
Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath.
“What is man that You magnify him,
And that You are concerned about him,
That You examine him every morning
And try him every moment?
“Will You never turn Your gaze away from me,
Nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?
“Have I sinned? What have I done to You,
O watcher of men?
Why have You set me as Your target,
So that I am a burden to myself?
“Why then do You not pardon my transgression
And take away my iniquity?” (Job 7:13-21NASB).
We raise our voice, and we repent in ashes.
We lay our dreams down and the hopes that anyone would love us with an unadulterated love.
We watch our belongings being taken from us.
We raise our tent flap and walk outside.
We look for answers in the stars, and question what we hear.
We continue to dance around the altar, but not get on it.
“IT’S SO HOT,” we scream!
Our red man, Esau, rises, screaming for our addictions we buried with our ancient relatives to be dug up.
We cannot be helped by anyone, not even the friends that come carrying balm.
We try and mouth, “Though He slays me, yet will I trust Him!”
We break like China, and we call “help me!” Oh, Father, come quickly for bulls have surrounded me. I count my bones!
We picture our enemies who have wolf ’like fangs. We hear their taunts with lips that drip with an artificial substance, and we weigh their punishment, but it is not ours to weigh.
We took their suffering to prayer; they hurl insults.
We prayed over their dreams, and they hated ours.
We baked them loaves of bread in ovens with honey and cream.
They gave us vinegar to drink.
We dream of scales that are weighted down with perfect balance.
We groan from a deep place and run to our Bibles, imploring, we open it like a magic eight ball to tell us what to do, where to go, how to get through our suffering.
We imagine it falling on a Psalms of David against his enemies.
“Look! The one pregnant with trouble conceives mischief
and brings forth deceit.
He digs a pit, scrapes it out,
and then falls into the hole he has made!”
But instead, we land on this passage.
“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7).
We cry more.
We search our hearts for blackness and weep.
We beg for peace, restoration, new beginnings, and for Him to help us to want to forgive our enemies.
Again we speak, “TAKE THIS CUP!”
We fling off the scarlet letter they gave us.
He has trained our hands to fight and our fingers to do battle. We ask for WARRIOR strength!
That our hair would grow as Samson’s and that our hearts would be bandaged by the hands of one with nail scars.
We crawl like an infant.
We draw strength to rise until we can stand and in standing we raise our hands to heaven and gasp. A small choking sound comes from our parted lips, and we realize there is nothing left to do.
There is nowhere left to go.
We walk back to the altar, and we lay down like Isaac, and we say Father tie the ropes tightly so that I cannot get free!
Not my will, but Yours be done, Father.
“DEATH WHERE IS YOUR STING!”
Help us throw off all the things we need to lay at Your feet.
Let all the dross be skimmed off these temples.
Save us, please!
Restore our children!
Let our cries reach Your heart.
“But Adonai reigns forever.
He established His throne for judgment.
He judges the world in righteousness
and governs the peoples justly.”
Adonai is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a high tower in times of trouble.
Those who know Your Name trust You—
for You, Adonai, never have forsaken those who seek You”
(Psalm 9:8-11 TLV).
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