Christ takes the lowest place, and is exalted to the highest place. He is not attached to earthly things, and therefore enjoys all things. He empties Himself, and is thereby complete.
~ from The Tao Te Ching (道德经)
But now thus says the LORD,
He Who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in My eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring My sons from afar
and My daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by My Name,
whom I created for My glory,
whom I formed and made.”
~ from the Oracle of Isaiah, chapter 43
Oh beloved, it is true.
Many of us formerly lost boys from The Colony of Mercy, have experienced one or both of these circumstances: 1) We have been warriors in the military. 2) We have been homeless addicts. And both of these realities can be disorienting. Both can exhaust us. Both can isolate us. Both can injure us, or even destroy us.
In our life-dominating sins, our addictions worked against us spiritually, in much the same way that the enemy did in the battlespace. Every bit of both enemies has but one goal. That was (and is), to separate us from everything and everyone, pin us down under fire, break our will to fight – and move in for the kill.
If we can stand to look back at it. The warfare against our souls in addiction was grim. We had taken the bait, and ended up in very bad places. Many of us have been touched by tangible evil. We’ve been stuck in the fetid pit of shame and failure. Evil has a smell to it. Evil has a feel to it. The twisting and downgrading of pure goodness is grotesque. Looking back, we realize that we nearly went down from the strike of the serpent, and he nearly swallowed us whole, as we eked out a wretched existence in the dirty alleys, and rotted dumpsters of the streets.
Some of us can remember the smell of diesel, machinery, sweat, and propellent. We remember the radio chatter. We recall the rage rising up within us as the enemy fired upon our location, or moved in so close that it was hand-to-hand. We can remember the razor sharp vision and hearing that came from contact, and the noise of our blood pumping so loud that it pounded in our heads like a hammer. And, we can remember the acidic-metallic taste in our mouths, as we became conscious of – and fought through – the fear and mortal danger. And upon recalling combat or other violent situations, we can distinctly comprehend that all of it was a terrible and dark evil, even if some of it was necessary and just.
Both of the situations above, and many others like are meant by the evil one (the devil; diabolos – to throw apart, to divide), simply to distract us from the one Reality that overcomes all of this evil.
Can we see it?
We. Are. Not. Alone!
The lie of all lies is for any human who is looking to their Creator for help, to begin to believe that maybe G_d is actually just too far away. Or, that he is too busy to bother with a wretched little addict like myself, or with just one soldier in a war involving millions.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
This fool of a writer was struggling with his flesh a couple of weeks ago. And I asked Jesus, in prayer, how did He handle the temptation I was facing. The answer came in the Spirit, reminding me, in the gospels, how utterly dependent Christ was on His Father. Verses from the gospel of John rolled through my soul.
But then, it got personal. I prayed, “Yes Jesus, you had your Heavenly Father right there with You, to help you in these times…” His answer made me weep with joy.
“Mak, He’s your Dad too.”
Suddenly I got it. None of the circumstances of this world are permanent. They are but trials and moments of training to teach me one thing. And that one thing is that my Abba, and my Savior-Brother Christ, have already made me a part of their unchanging Selves, through the power of the Holy Spirit of Love that binds Them all together.
We are not alone. In Christ, we are already Home with our forever family. Nothing can separate us from this. Oh yes! The liar; the thief will try to work us into choices and situations that FEEL like isolation. But evil is always a lie. Evil is not a real thing. Evil is a distortion of Truth that does not change.
We are precious to our Maker. He has purchased us from the cosmotic system of the fallen world with His very own blood. And this payment was not just valuable, it is a picture of how much He honors those who look to Him. Further, He has not just purchased us out of something, He has gathered us into something – a Home and a Family that will never fail or fade away.
So, do you feel the isolation rising up from the situations in your past? Good. There is a reason. And, the reason is not the lie that is dangling in front of you. The Answer is that G_d never changes. You are already Loved. You are already Home.
Tonight is your night. Look up in your spirit. Say ‘hi’ to your Dad. His smile awaits you, as He seats you at His family table.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.