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Archive for April 1st, 2019

The waters flood my soul.

Posted by appolus on April 1, 2019

So many of us experience the depths of darkness in our lives. It is not really a popular subject in Christianity, especially western Christianity with its upbeat positive feel good message. “Come to Jesus and everything will be fine.” “Jesus will solve all of your problems.” It has to be an ever ascending message of light and positivity or we will chase people away. Yet the reality for most of us is something quite different. You just need to live this life and get a little older and your trial will come. One minute the road ahead is clear and suddenly the weather comes down from no-where like the grey misty clouds on a bleak Scottish moor and your visibility is just mere feet ahead. It has been called many things. One of its favorite titles is “The dark night of the soul,” made famous by a sixteenth century Spanish poet known as St John of the Cross. Now the reason I don’t really care for that title is that it gives the wrong impression that this dark experience lasts for a night, at least the title does. Now, if that was indeed the case, and it lasted only a night, then I can safely say it would not be the darkness I am speaking of. This experience, at the very least will last for a season, it may even last years. And over the span of your life in Christ it may occur many times. Some of our most dynamic Biblical writers and heroes of the faith, men of great strength and courage have walked through this darkness time and time again and wrote about it and it has encouraged countless millions over the millennia.

To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, A Psalm of David. Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.(Psa 69:1-2) Could there be a more descriptive verse of what it means to be in anguish? I believe David is speaking of a time when he was a stranger from Israel, Saul was out to kill him, he ran with renegades and even the Philistines did not want him for they did not trust him. He returns to the town where he is staying and discovers it had been ransacked and has been put to the torch and all the wives, women and the children and their wealth had been taken. In that event we see even those renegade men turn on David and David is totally alone. He has no one left to turn to and the Scriptures tell us that he cried until there was no more tears left to cry. Have you been there brothers and sisters? Have the deep waters of tragedy and grief and turmoil poured into your soul so that you feel like you are drowning from within? Floods of darkness consuming you not only from the inside but outwardly as well. When these two darknesses meet, then you will know you have arrived at the dark place of the soul. How you move on from here will determine your fate. If this was a positive upbeat message then I would take the edge of it and tell you that everything is going to be okay. I will not tell you that. That is between you and the Lord and the decisions that you make.

Paul knew this place as well as anyone. He writes in 2 Cor 4 that he was troubled on every side. That he was perplexed. Persecuted and in a constant state of death. He writes in Philippians 4 that he was abased and hungry and suffered need. In 2 Cor 7 we see that he had no rest at all, surrounding by outward violence and inside he was full of fears. We do not hear this being preached very much. If we do, we rush on to the solution. Yet the truth is this place of fire and testing, this place of darkness and flood is oftentimes the refining fire of God Himself and we shall not pass from that place until God Himself has completed the work He wants to do in us. It is in these places that we learn the deepest lessons and experience the most radical encounters with God Himself even although for most of the time there it will seem that He has vanished. Men go down into the bowels of the earth seeking treasure. Down into the deep darkness where time and pressures have created something that is worth finding. Under the duress of approximately 725,000 pounds per square inch, and at temperatures of 2000 – 2200 degrees Fahrenheit, a diamond will begin to form.

God uses pressures and circumstances and situations to shape His children. I would love to say to you brothers and sisters that once you commit your life to Jesus then all of your problems will be taken in hand and solved. I would like to say that to you but it would not be true. When we commit our lives to Jesus we begin a process that will be tumultuous. It is a radical journey and it is not for the faint of heart and the Lord Himself will shape us by many forces. Our singular purpose is to submit to those forces and our sanctification process will lead us down that path of surrender. In the end there shall be ultimate victory, and along the way many smaller victories but all of it happens as we engage and overcome the darkness by the power of God and His Word and His Spirit. I do want to leave you with this. Paul learned many things through the process. Even although he was surrounded at times he was not overtaken. Neither was he destroyed by distress or despair even although they had come flooding in on him threatened to overcome him. Neither shall you be overcome. Even although he was persecuted he was not forsaken. You will never be forsaken. Even although his soul was cast down to the ground he was not destroyed. You will not be destroyed. You will stand, you will overcome, you will be victorious in Jesus. David got up after such great loss, having cried until there was no tears left to cry and he encouraged himself in the Lord. He pursued what he had lost and he gained it all back. Time and again Paul walked through this valley, the valley of the shadow of death and came out the other side. You will too brothers and sisters. You may have many troubles in this world but you belong to the next and it awaits the end of your journey. Journey on my brothers and sisters, this path that you are on has been trodden before by men like David and Paul and now you. The same God that saw them through will see you through. Believe and trust in Him and we will worship Him here in the midst of it all and on the other side at journey’s end.

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