Abandoned to be Reclaimed: The Darkness, The Dream, & The Destiny

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

 

Lay Down And Sleep: Faith All Grown Up Is Trust

If one were to walk into the Hagood home at approximately 9:45P, they would walk into a repeating and familiar Hagood conversation.  Many a night, my wife has said to me, “you just lay down and sleep!”  She speaks it as if this is a bad thing, as if I had done something dastardly to her.  In the deep recesses of my mind I’m thinking, “Go to sleep woman!”  What I actually say is, “Aww baby, you can’t sleep??!”  Ha!  Don’t tell her what I’ve been thinking all these years.  You will blow my cover.  Anyway, the real issue is, she can’t just lay down and sleep.  It just doesn’t work that way for her.  At least not in such simple terms.  My wife, she has to make sure that everything is done.  She then has to sit up and watch television with her legs crossed.  She also works on her continual and multiple research projects.  She often finds herself up until early morning hours while her husband simply, lays down, and sleeps.

Psalms 3 finds David surrounded.  If you don’t know the Psalm, this would be a great time to stop and read it.  Go ahead, I’ll wait (picture me whistling and waiting).  OK, you’re back.  Alright, so in Psalm 3, he has been driven from the palace.  He is in a situation that would steal the hearts of men.  His enemies (led by his own son), taunt him with shouts that his God would not deliver him!  David’s reaction to the taunting, to the dire circumstances, and to the hopeless odds, well, sleep.  David, lays down and sleeps.  It’s an amazing movie screen warranting scene and David, the great Hebrew hero responds to his overwhelming circumstance, well, with sleep.  The obvious quandary is how, how was he able to just lay down and sleep?  Here it comes, you ready, David knew God’s character.  He trusted God.  Adam LiVecchi stated, “Faith all grown up is trust.”  That’s it!  David slept because he was aware of God’s protection, because he knew God’s power and because he trusted God.

David experienced the character of God through His certain protection.  This is why he refers to God as a “shield.”  David uses this descriptor of God again and again.  The Lord is my shield!  The character of God as a protector not only meant imminent safety from his enemies.  It also meant restoration of his dignity.  Remember he’s, basically, well, in this moment, a dethroned king/deadbeat dad/wimp wannabe warrior/has been.  David’s view of God’s character allowed him to maintain his composure in the midst of a very current chaotic mess.  In this moment David says, “God is the lifter of my head” David trusts!  God not only kept the enemies out as he lay asleep, God was actively restoring the dignity of his sleeping servant.

Ultimately, David was intimately aware of God’s power.  Though his enemies were powerful, God is omnipotent, his enemies were outmatched.  Though he was surrounded, God is omnipresent, his enemies were outflanked.  Though his enemies were confident, God is omniscient, his enemies were outwitted.  David knew the power of God.  So, in the midst of what appears like unenviable odds he states, “For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.”  He speaks it with the security of one possessing a squad that includes Mike Tyson, Bruce Lee, Thor and Big Mama (hey, nobody can whoop grandma).  He speaks with the confidence of one who has seen this in the past.  He speaks as one who knows the boundless power of God!  Well, cause he has.  So David, lays down and sleeps.

Here’s what Psalms 3 reveals to us.  1) One can seemingly have it all (rich, smart, famous and powerful) and still have intense troubles.  2) One can be the most loving of parents, and still can have the worse family situations.  3) One can be popular and powerful and still have troubles that steal their joy.  4) One can repent, be gravely sorry, and yet still have to go through the discipline of the Father.  And 5), Even in all of this, God will strike all of your enemies on the cheek; and He will break the teeth of the wicked.  We can all lay down and sleep.

I wish I could say I lay down and sleep at night because I’m more spiritual than my wife.  Ha!  That would be a lie, for she is definitely our spiritual rock.  Yet, the Hagood home’s perpetual bedtime conversation does depict a picture of trusting God regardless of odds and human paradigms.  It’s an image of the message in Psalms 3.  Beloved, we have less to do than we think.  We have nothing to stay awake and keep guard of.  We have no last minute arrangements to make.   Very little of anything is based on our power.  We simply can lay down and sleep, because we know the protection and the power of God.  Again, “Faith all grown up is trust.”  This is why, even when surrounded, in the midst of what appeared like a white flag moment to David’s enemies, God turned the tables.  David did wave the white flag.  He just didn’t wave it towards his enemies, he waved it towards God.  In surrender, sweet surrender, David gained victory.  So yes, we need to wave our white flags.  We need to throw our hands up.   Because, “you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head”  Trust God my friends, lay down, and sleep.  And oh yeah, be a bridge!

3 Things You Already Know About Trust But Need To Hear Again

Even with God, TRUST is a two way street

 

  1. Do what God says (He’s reliable).
    1. Participate in His integrity
    2. Be okay with His results
  2. Be honest with God (He’s already honest with you).
    1. Do the work it takes to avoid lying to yourself.
    2. Make honest assessments of your “why” and your “how.”
  3. Be open with God (He already knows anyway).
    1. If you are scared, jealous, envious, selfish, or whatever, say so
    2. Take the time to confess every detail

 

The post “Lay Down And Sleep” appeared first on rudyhagood.com