Love Through Desolation

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The sobs came from a deep place of knowing
No matter how much I want out…

I can’t get out. 

I can’t take the steps that lead to death. 

I am to walk this road no matter the consequence,
For this gift of life is just that…a gift from God…to pursue Him.

I am to run to Him.

“The illusion that life in a fallen world is really not too bad must be shattered.  When even the best parts of life are exposed as pathetic counterfeits of how things should be, the reality drives us to a level of distress that threatens to utterly undo us.  But it’s when we’re on the brink of personal collapse that we’re best able to shift the direction of our soul from self-protection to trusting love.  The more deeply we enter into the reality that life without God is sheer desolation, the more fully we can turn toward Him.”

I am to turn to God
In my distress
And He will deliver me. 

Turn from self…
Turn from digging my own cistern…
Turn to the One who has the living water…

Repentance.

“There is no place for sugar coating in the life of a serious Christian.  Life is unspeakably sad.  But we’re more than conquerors over every cause of sadness.  Repentance means to accept the truth that life without God is no life at all and to therefore pursue God with all the passion of someone who has been rescued from unimaginable horror.  When hints of sadness creep into our soul, we must not flee into happy or distracting thoughts.  Pondering the sadness until it becomes overwhelming can lead us to deep change in direction of our being from self-preservation to grateful worship.”

Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.
Wash your hands, you sinners;
Purify your hearts, you hypocrites. 
Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done.
Let there be sorrow and deep grief.
Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.

“The richest love grows in the soil of an unbearable disappointment with life.  When we realize life can’t give us what we want, we can better give up our foolish demand that it do so and get on with the noble task of loving as we should.  We will no longer need to demand protection from further disappointment.  The deepest change will occur in the life of a bold realist who clings to God with a passion only his realistic appraisal of life can generate.”

Oh Lord,
May love grow richly in me
That I may extend it fully to these
You’ve entrusted to me. 
I cling to You…not this life…but to You.
You are the Source of Eternal Life.
You are the Life-giving Spirit. 
You are the One who is able to do
Exceedingly, abundantly beyond
All I could ever ask or think. 
I come to You. 
I am Your vessel to use
As You choose.
Thank you, Father, for bringing me
To the Shepherd of my soul,
Jesus Christ, Your Son
And my Lord,
Amen.

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15 responses »

  1. “There is no place for sugar coating in the life of a serious Christian.”

    FINALLY – someone who agrees with me! 😉

    “The deepest change will occur in the life of a bold realist who clings to God with a passion only his REALISTIC APPRAISAL of life can generate.”

    Singing to my Heart!

    “But it’s when we’re on the brink of personal collapse that we’re best able to shift the direction of our soul from self-protection to trusting love. The more deeply we enter into the reality that life without God is sheer desolation, the more fully we can turn toward Him.”

    The ‘deeper’ we fall down, the Higher we (as long as we stay in Him) will be raised up.

    Some who ‘wander’ from Him may find it very hard to get back ‘up’ from the depths – He has to be the source of personal Salvation, not our own, or other’s, ability.

    You have certainly found some words of Wisdom here Sis.

    May they bless and become part of your soul.

    <B

  2. I agree, Love. Larry Crabb, Inside Out…again.

    I have found the truths he’s written to be foundational. It’s not possible for deep change without deep repentance. Clinging to Him, asking for His love to flow, no matter the offense…

    “They will know we are Christians by our love.”

    Thanks, Love. 😉

  3. Is suffering and despair an essential part of becoming a Christ Follower?

    I can understand why some become so disappointed with the world they live in they look for something beyond it. Finding their God has saved many lives, souls.

    We all experience suffering at some point in our lives. My period was the first 18 years of my life, the only period I believe God existed. Not because of faith, but because that is what everybody told me.

    Since then I have developed a great joy and love of life. I have had some, short, periods of depression, but most of the last 48 years have been a thrilling ride.

    The important thing is that we have both found what we need. Neither one of us is motivated to change.

  4. You know, Ed, I’m glad you asked…

    “Is suffering and despair an essential part of becoming a Christ Follower?”

    No. Not of “becoming” a Christ Follower. It’s not anything like Buddhism where the answer to life’s suffering is a “moving up” to enlightenment. That’s not the goal.

    But it is about an honest evaluation of our fallen selves and the fallen world in which we live. The suffering that comes from being separated from God due to sin. The groaning in this earthly tent that will not be filled until we see Him face to face.

    Yes, we have His Spirit within, His seal of our inheritance to come. His life-giving Spirit brings joy. But our final hope is not in this life. And that can cause some very deep distress.

    Crabb’s point is that of the prophet Jeremiah:

    My people have committed a double wrong: they have rejected Me, the fountain of life-giving water, and they have dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns which cannot even hold water. ~Jer. 2:13

    The wrong I’m feeling: I have dug my own cistern to hold water…to bring me “happiness” here on earth. And it’s cracked. Actually, all human effort is cracked. The pain of this world won’t be over ’til it’s over.

    You have met me at a point in my life when the pain is, at times, unbearable. Emotional and physical pain. But this is where I am. Now. It waxes and wanes, but it never completely subsides. And I’m not sure it will, until heaven.

    That is our great hope. Resurrection bodies in a perfect, sinless place in complete fellowship with the Lover of our souls. But for now, we are damaged people. For me, abundant life is living in His Spirit through the good and bad times. Running to Him…growing deeper in Him…no matter the circumstance.

    An honest evaluation of life will either lead us to insanity or suicide (Crabb). Many people choose to build their own cisterns to enjoy whatever they can, while they can. Christ followers choose to go to Him to get washed by Him and filled up with Him. And when we realize we’ve tried to “make our own way” by not following His path, we run to Him in deep repentance and He restores us through His grace. Then He brings comfort for the pain. And a hope for a better tomorrow.

    So yeah…it would seem reading my blog these days that I’m all about suffering…but that is where I am in this season of life. I’m learning…painfully growing…trusting…

    Life is hard, but God is good.

  5. Sorry to hear about the emotional, and physical pain, you are going through. Your are right that faith is what gives us hope for the future, which we all do need.

    I still don’t believe when Cobb writes “An honest evaluation of life will either lead us to insanity or suicide” (Crabb). At eighteen I chose suicide. After that failed, I learned that accepting pain, and learning to live with it, was the best answer, not giving up. Of course I was in emotional pain, not physical pain. I guess according to what Cobb writes I must be insane. 🙂

    You are also right that we need something to focus on, other then current circumstances of our life. In your case it’s God. You have found what you need.

    I thank you for writing honestly about your life. None of us can predict what tomorrow will bring. It’s faith that gives us the ability to accept that.

  6. Thanks, Ed. Your encouragement is helpful.

    I was too much of a chicken to choose suicide, but I did pray to die…lots. I am thankful to know the Lord. He has brought me through some very difficult days, months, years… 😕

    I’m not sure how you do it. I certainly don’t think you’re insane. The cistern you’ve dug must be working well for you. You do seem to enjoy life. 🙂

    Me too. Just working through some “stuff” right now. Hopefully I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve chosen to take Corrie ten Boom’s advice:

    “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

  7. Sis – i am so very thankful that you have this blog (and perhaps some other ‘outlets’ also?) as an outlet for some of that pain you endure. That you do not feel like you have to hold it all within you until it fills your ‘world’.

    And thankful you are strong enough to share your thoughts with us ‘out here’.

    i’m not too sure what to make of Mr Crabb’s ‘insanity or suicide’ comment – i’d need to read it in context first to comment.

    i do believe however that if we can learn to alter our perspective from the singular ‘me’ we hold as being the most important thing in our lives, to a wider view that includes a deep personal connection to the ‘Infinite’ then our ‘personal’ problems are able to be better borne by us, to be better understood and seen as not quite the ‘end’ that we too often tend to see them as.

    We can learn to see ourselves as an important part of a much greater ‘whole’ that also includes all those other ‘me’s we share this planet with.

    and in some cases we can feel comfort from the understanding that it is not up to any one of us to answer ALL the questions and things in this life that cause us so much pain – that there is One who is able to hold the Answers for us until we are ready and able to see them for ourselves – and who Heals us and makes us Whole.

    If we choose to let Him.

    If we can Trust in Him that much – and trust in ‘us’ less.

    i’m sure you are making good progress in that Sis, and that like most of us, there are still things to be learned, unlearned and experienced before we ‘make it’.

    <B

  8. P.S. – sugar-coating is best for Donuts! 🙂

    For humans it ‘feeds’ the ego, making it fatter, bigger.

    Generally, i believe, what we really need is to become leaner, not fatter in our ego’s.

    To gnaw on a stripped down Truth, than easily swallow a sugary sweet compliment.

    Of course most people these days tend to prefer a doughnut to a bone.

    Probably why i don’t attract the ‘crowds’ i guess? 🙂

    <B

  9. Thank you, Love. This blog has been helpful in working through my “stuff”…and hopefully, in turn, will help others who may be going through the same.

    That quote from Crabb about insanity/suicide is taken out of context. Meaning…with the whole paragraph, page,…chapter to further explain…I think y’all would know what he means. It made sense to me for I have truly been on the brink of both at different points in my life. My only salvation from either place (insanity/suicide) has been the Lord. The cisterns I tried to dig were definitely not able to hold water. I am the woman at the well asking for Him to fill me with His living water.

    You said:
    and in some cases we can feel comfort from the understanding that it is not up to any one of us to answer ALL the questions and things in this life that cause us so much pain – that there is One who is able to hold the Answers for us until we are ready and able to see them for ourselves – and who Heals us and makes us Whole.

    I say:
    AMEN!!!

    Thank you, again, for being a faithful friend through this hard time. I’m not really a fan of doughnuts or crowds. 😉

    ♥ ♥ ♥

  10. Just stopping by to say thinking of you and you’re in my prayers. The discussion in the comments here has been really meaningful to me as I think I sometimes ask the same questions Ed does and the way you explained was really good… Blessings to you Michelle.

  11. Thank you, Rain. I so appreciate your prayers. I believe prayer is the reason my head is still above water. I’m glad the discussion helped you, that blesses me.

    Love you!

  12. Confession time:

    there are times i REALLY enjoy a jam (jelly) doughnut!

    😀

    i hope for forgiveness!

    i work for slimming down my ego. 😉

    love ya Sis.

    if it is ANY ‘comfort’ i suspect migraines are evidence of the body’s stress – that stress may well be the body ‘resisting’ or adjusting to a new set of circumstances as the Spirit causes us to change from what we were to what we are to become.

    Think of them as a sign of adjustment and progress perhaps?

    This too will pass. 🙂

    <B

  13. Really? Jelly doughnuts?!? Not me (but I forgive you). I must confess to buttermilk/old-fashioned…with steaming hot coffee…perfect for dunkin’!

    My body reacts to most any stress with migraines. Sometimes I can get under loads of pillows with no noise or light and sleep ’em off. But I have learned, as you say…this too will pass.

    Thanks, Love! 😉

  14. Love you, my sis. Your foundation of truth in the Word has always delighted me, and I think that ability to still see HIM in the midst of your pain is a strength that few truly know. I wish I could make the pain go away, but I know that His purposes and methods are far above mine, and I wouldn’t take the scalpel out of His hands for anything. He is the wise and faithful surgeon, healer, lover of our hearts. Wishing for you to be wrapped in water that washes weariness and worries away. Wash over her. Amen.

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