20 Nov 2013

Bereft. The feeling of losing something precious permanently.

Most hearts eventually have to reckon with this overpowering sensation.
This week someone got drunk. Another drags on more cigarettes than she intended to. Another walks, life around but not within her.

It's a dark night where the sun doesn't seem to rise. Negative emotions overrun while positive ones seem to have gone into hiding. Tears make their way to the surface without the least effort. There is little fire left in desires as everything feels blah.

It could be an unexpected, bad shattering news or a slow dawning sense that things are not as they seem; until a point of clarity reveals the truth of the situation.  Either way, nothing will be the same again.

It's hard to know what to say - to self, and others.  After all, it is like being forcibly sucked into a blackhole.

Young shepherd David lived and acted based on his faith in, and fervor for God. He served the King, he defeated the enemy. Despite his noble choices and right moves and the well-known praise and accolades he was receiving; the truth of the situation began to emerge: he had aroused the jealousy of King Saul. The tension turned into threat to his life, and as with all situations, things compound. When we reach Psalm 52, David was reeling from the devastating news that eighty-give priests were killed on account of him. The Psalm is a poetic way to teach truth; in this case, David asserts that through the reversals and losses, he will refuse to play the cynic. Instead, he senses God's hand on him and wrote ~

I, like a flourishing olive tree 
in the house of God,
put my trust in God's faithful love,
for ever and ever

There is much that didn't make sense. God's king has an inverted sense of what is right. David is targetted for treason. Others are implicated and killed. Everything is a mess; God it seems, has left the building. It would be easy to feel sorry, to rile, to strike back, to curl up into a ball and cry softly to death.

Goliath's sword that priest Ahimelech gave to David {1 Sam 21}  
Meanwhile, history tells us that some four hundred ragamuffins - "in distress, in debt, had a grievance" looked to David as their leader. {1 Samuel 22} Most leaders today will run a mile wide from such candidates for discipleship or leadership. But by chapter 23, the number had swollen to six hundred. A leader on the run for his life; battling darkness of guilt for causing the death of others, the pain of false accusation, the demands of broken people. He says he is a flourishing tree!

There is a core to our being that can be unshaken - for it is held, defined and kept by One who alone gives, sustains and protects life:

God did not deliver him into Saul's power {1 Sam 23v14}

Things will happen to us.
But God decides what to deliver us to. With the Cross, there is only one option for God: God will safeguard us for himself. He will deliver us up to Grace, restoration, healing, peace, truth, and power.

We may feel like we are in a blackhole, spinning helplessly. We don't know what to say or how to respond. But like David, we can resist the blackhole's power to snuff us out because Life is in us and nothing can extinguish that.
Indeed, we can afford to lose anything and everything because we will never lose what is essential: our loved selves. We are all olive trees that flourish because in the worst of days and nights, there is still God's faithful love and His goodness toward us. 

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