Thursday 27th of November 2014
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their
distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke
away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and
cuts through bars of iron.
Addictions and compulsions are a kind of bondage. Painful memories are also
like chains that bind us. We try harder and harder to change. But sometimes
the harder we try, the tighter the chains become. Recovery begins when we
recognize that our bondage is too great for us. We are not powerful enough to break these chains. Either we will find a power greater than ourselves
to help us, or we will stay in bondage.
Many people find the idea of powerlessness to be very troubling. We want
to be competent and self-reliant. And, many of us have had people attempt
to ‘rescue’ us in ways that have increased our shame and self-contempt.
So, why should we welcome the God-who-rescues? Won’t he also shame us?
First, notice in this text that God’s intervention is in response to a request.
We do not serve a codependent God. God is not entangled in our compulsions.
God will not rescue in ways that are shame-full. God knows that we need to
be ready to be helped and that we need to cry out for help.
Notice also in this text that it is the God-of-unfailing-love who is our
higher power. Because so many of us are convinced that God is vindictive,
punitive and abusive, it can be terrifying in our powerlessness to focus
on the power of God. We are sure that all of that power will be used against
us. But the God-of-unfailing-love is not a vindictive, punitive or abusive
God. God is a God-of-tough-love. That’s the only kind of love that can be
‘unfailing.’ But God is not ‘against’ us. God is ‘for’ us.
Recovery is being set free by God’s powerful love.
I was powerless, Lord.
I expected you to increase my shame and self-contempt.
But you are a God of unfailing love.
I expected you to use your power against me.
But when I called, you came.
You crashed the gates.
You cut the bars.
You broke the chains.
You are leading me out of this darkness and deepest gloom
into the light of day.
Copyright 2014 Dale and Juanita Ryan
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