Saturday, April 19, 2014

Thought for The Day - In the Face of The Void

Pre-dawn light (bird in flight) 24 x 30 Oils

Let me start off by saying I truly hate it when "strong Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc" get on a high horse and forget their moment of darkness. We all have them, and some of us, multiple times, repeatedly and unexpected. When you think you've conquered every dragon, demon, "ex-somebody" or bad habit, another shows up to play slap tag with your sensibilities.

I remember years ago, preaching a sermon about Elijah the old testament prophet, and his exposed moment of darkness. He had a God appointed meeting with 450 prophets of a idol god called Baal. He made them look silly with on simple request to God: "accept the sacrifice and light the fire." Done. Celebration by all who witnessed this show of strength and the 450 prophets were killed. Yeah, yeah, I know, in our "sensible society," such acts are unconscionable, but that was then, and this is now. Let's get to Elijah's turning point. The next day, when King Ahab, the ruling king of Israel (northern tribes) told his wife, she sent a message to Elijah: "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them."First Kings 19:3 says: "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life."There is a great deal afterward, but I want you to see the void, the darkness he faced! He had served God for we don't how many years before this, he hid in the wilderness while King Ahab lost his mind and decided to kill anyone associated with the Jewish worship customs and he stood up to him and 450 prophets when God asked him to do it. Why would he be afraid now? This was a woman; the king had all the power and he was dealt with!

My friend, it wasn't 'her' that got to him, it was "all of this!" Have you ever had an "all of this" moment? Often, when we want to know what made someone 'snap,' we look at the the last detail before they lost it, before their character changed. For many of us, that's the straw that breaks the camel's back, but it's all the other straw sitting there, weighing you down as well. It is the unanswered question "why am I so different from everyone else?" Or "why is it, every time I save $200, I have to spend $300 on repairs?" (that one says "why can't I get out of this hole?") There are hundreds of question, either directed at God or the 'air,' but we ask them incessantly, consciously or unconsciously. And those questions, the thoughts are the void that we fear crossing. It is the place where no answer seems to live.

The King of kings faced one himself. He faced a darkness that we would never believe God would. He called it "the cup." That late night as he and his disciples sat in the garden of Gethsamane, as he prayed and mentally prepared for what was to come, he took a look into that dark liquid in the cup. He faced the darkness like you and I would. He asked this question three times: "If it is possible, let this cup pass from me. But nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done." I know we know this story and it's outcome, so the significance of the moment can pass you by without your acknowledging it. He looked in that cup and wondered, should I do this? Should I go this route? Do I really want to do this? THIS. IS. HUGE!!!! He faced a darkness; God himself faced a darkness and learned a valuable lesson: obedience and humility.

The darkness comes for many of us, because we have a ways to go. Our journey is long, though we don't know how long. We may have a resume of accomplishments or a rap sheet as long as a greedy detective's arm, but we have history. And no matter how far you travel, no matter what you know, you will face darkness, or the void from time to time. I offer no solutions today, but I will say this: hang in there. If necessary, if required - you will know by what your soul tells you - go into that void, but know you will come out of it.

God's blessing on you today.