I haven’t written a blog in a long time. Well, it’s because I’m having a bit of a “Jonah” moment. In order to understand what I mean, please read the next sentence as it is punctuated. A “Jonah” moment is when you know God’s will for your life and rather than obey God’s will you would rather swim in the stomach acid of a whale or fish or whatever kind of beast could swallow a man whole and spit him out like acid reflux or something like that you know what I’m saying?! Please perceive that run on sentence as me running away from the issue. Yeah, now you get it, a “Jonah” moment! I didn’t want to write this blog. I don’t want to write this blog. I don’t want to deal with this reality but God won’t let me write anything else until I finish writing this doggone blog! Here it is, you ready, I have abandonment issues. There, I said it!
I think the most famous Bible story on abandonment is Joseph and His brothers. This dude was basically the baby of the bunch and filled with hope. I mean, of course he was! He was gifted by God with dreams and visions. Life was good. He was favored by his father. Life was good. So much so, he was given a coat that was the envy of all his brothers. Again, life was good. Then, without warning, his brothers threw him in a ditch and left him to die. Well, they thought better of it and just sold him into slavery. Wow, here’s our first nugget, some people will feel good about themselves at your expense. Why, because their heart turned away from murdering you, to just enslaving you. You should be grateful. Right? Matter of fact, the brothers went on with life as if nothing had happened, like they hadn’t just thrown their brother into a ditch! Genesis 37:25 reads, “As they sat down to eat their meal.” They sat to eat like it was a normal meal. They weren’t troubled and distraught so that they couldn’t eat. No on the contrary, they were more like, “can I get my Double Double animal style please? OK, thank you!”
I’m sorry, I digress. At some point, some of the worse words that many of us will speak, will be, “Where did everybody go?” Joseph had to be asking this question. Wouldn’t you? We have all been in the ditch, the ditch of abandonment. You’ve been there, It’s that place where you realize, “together,” didn’t include you. Hey, you can substitute whatever word fits better, (crew, partnership, friendship, family) but it remains the same. When that word, no longer includes you, you are at a crossroads of faith and thrust into reality. Pablo Neruda says, “Absence is a house so vast that inside you will pass through its walls and hang pictures on the air.” Hmph, nibble on that for a second.
The thing about abandonment is that it knows no faults. It doesn’t care if its your fault, their fault, or nobody’s fault. It leaves you in the darkness needing a hand to pull you to the light regardless of faults. Tayari Jones said, “Abandonment doesn’t have the sharp but dissipating sting of a slap. It’s like a punch to the gut, bruising your skin and driving the precious air from your body.” Then, Gregory L. Winfield wrote, “Our natural parents make mistakes. But how do we reconcile our feelings of abandonment when tragedy occurs at the hands of a God who does not make mistakes?” All who have experienced the darkness know these feelings and are acquainted with these questions but what can you do?
First, let’s look to the Psalms. Psalms 34:18 reminds us, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” At all times, and especially in these times, the only rail you have to grab is this one, TRUST in the LORD. He is near and He saves. When you finally escape the ditch, it won’t be your fam or your peoples, but the hand of the Lord that pulls you out. It’s like Psalms 27:10 reveals, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in. You are not at the mercy of fate my friend, you are in the hands of a loving and living God!
Finally, as A.W. Tozer wrote, “It is doubtful, that God will ever use us greatly until we have been hurt deeply.” So, the next time you’re walking around dreaming with your coat of many colors envisioning the world as it should be, as it could be, remember this. Your destiny will often be found at the end of a journey of dashed dreams, stolen coats, deep ditches, and restricted living. That’s a joyous thought huh? Well actually, it is, once you realize that these things are necessary for the fruition of the promise of the original dream! Don’t give in, don’t give up, and don’t shun the darkness of the ditch. Alistair Begg says, “In shunning the trials we miss the blessings, and we don’t have the tender eyes that comes from nights of tears.” Never forget the end of Joseph’s story. Never forget Genesis 50:24. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” The dream will be dug out from the ditch. God reclaims that which has been discarded! Yes, you were abandoned, but not for the reasons you think. You were abandoned to perfect a dream, that becomes a vision, that matures into destiny, that saves many lives. You were abandoned to be reclaimed!
OH, and oh yeah, Be A Bridge!
This blog originally appeared at rudyhagood.com