The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/29

Posted on | November 29, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 11/29

Scripture reading: Lamentations 3:1–40

Divine Displeasure: Exhibit A

A Personal Paraphrase of Lamentations 3:1–40

 

If you want to know what someone looks like who has experienced God’s anger and judgment, then let me tell you my story. Yes, you could call me “Exhibit A.” I am the man who knows firsthand what it means to experience divine displeasure. Listen as I explain how God’s been treating me:

He has led me into darkness, not light.

He has brought sickness and disease upon me—I am skin and bones.

He treats me like a city under siege surrounding me with two armies, one named “Bitterness” the other named “Tribulation.”

He has put chains on me and locked me in a walled prison so I can’t escape. And when I cry out to him for help—he pays no attention to my prayers.

He has made my path crooked and my road bumpy.

He’s been like a bear lying in wait to ambush me and when he attacks, he rips me to shreds with his claws.

He takes his bow and uses me for target practice. My body looks like a pin cushion filled with all the arrows he’s shot at me.

He has given me bitter poison to drink. He has filled my mouth with gravel.

I can’t even remember what happiness feels like. I never dreamed God would treat me like this. I thought he was supposed to give me peace, not take it from me! People laugh at me for trusting in God. “Look how he treats you,” they mock! I’m so depressed and discouraged I don’t know where to turn. All I can think about is my pain. Is this the reward I get for trusting in God?

But there is one thing I keep remembering. I can’t dislodge the thought. It saves me from despair and gives me hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and his mercies never end. Yes. That’s it. Like an infinite ocean, there are no limits to his grace. Each new day is proof that his compassion is still there. He cannot be untrue to his covenant promise of love. Others may be unfaithful but not God. He will keep his promises.

I guess you could say I need someone to preach me a sermon. And since I’m a preacher, I’ll preach to myself. “Soul, God is your inheritance! What more could you want than that? So be patient and trust him. You won’t be disappointed in the end. Yes, just calm down and wait quietly for God to act. He’ll save you. You’ll see.”

Here’s the bottom line: God won’t treat us badly forever. Oh, he may permit trouble and hardship for a season, but he will show us compassion once again. He has an infinite reservoir of love and grace. He doesn’t enjoy seeing us suffer. So, let’s examine ourselves and take a hard look in the mirror. Then, let us return to the Lord.

 

The refusal to be disillusioned is the cause of much of the suffering in human life.  —Oswald Chambers

 

point to ponder For those who are in Christ, joy comes in the morning.

prayer focus Strength and endurance, patience and hope for someone you know who is going through great difficulty.

 

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