"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him" (1 Corinthians 1:17)

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Safe Place to Hide

Scripture to reflect upon for Thirsty Thursday: Psalm 46:1-3 (The Message)
God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains.

Yesterday on my drive back home from cleaning my mother’s house, I began to reflect upon all the things that seem to be crashing around us. For a moment I thought, “If only I could just lose myself in a night of drinking and dancing…just let loose and escape all this madness.”

It’s always been easier in my past life to just forget about my problems by numbing the pain and drinking it away. Sometimes, these were just mere “date nights” with Jared, where we would get a 12 pack of beer, play videos games, and listen to music. We lived for those nights, especially in the winter when times were truly tough. It was our escape from reality. A fussy baby, a work related injury, arguments with family members, Jared and I both out of work with no job in sight, Christmas or Valentine’s around the corner and no feasible way to celebrate. Silly as it sounds, that ten bucks we didn’t even have for beer was worth every penny to spend for us. We had no other outlet. We couldn’t afford to go out to dinner, or see a movie, or take Tavin to the museums. So we’d break the bank and just cut loose on Friday night with beer, games, snacks and music.

I would be lying to you if I said I don’t miss those nights. The reason I’m real with you here is because you need to be real. We can’t hide in our “religious” rituals. We can’t hide in denial. We can’t hide in sunshine sermons anymore, although those are wonderful you usually wake up the next day realizing that nothing has truly changed. My devotions are not about doom and gloom, they are to help you see that whatever you are going through, it’s highly likely that someone else is going through them, too. Me and you. We’re in this together. Everything I say here isn’t just for you, but also for me. They are reminders from God to me and you.

Jared and I don’t drink anymore, and the videos games aren’t nearly as fun without the alcohol, nor is the music. So we don’t do date night anymore. I’m not into movies, so renting movies isn’t much of an option, either.

This anxiety is growing deeper and deeper and I want to escape. I want to run and hide. I go to God and this is what He tells me: Psalm 46. He is a safe place to hide. He knows what I’m going through and wants me to run to Him, not alcohol, not music, not video games. When I read the next line, “we stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,” I held my breath and began to weep, because it’s exactly where I’m standing right now. I’m looking down, ready to collapse, but God says I don’t need to fear that cliff of doom, because nothing will make me fall.

God will restore your strength when you hide in Him. And it will come from the oddest places. Mine came last night while watching a program called, “They Sold Their Soul for Rock N Roll,” showing how Satan uses music to lure people into sin. It took me on a ride I wasn’t expecting, with rippling effects of music to promiscuity, all the way to abortion. Since I lived my life wildly in the rock n roll world, and had experiences everything they were talking about, I realized I had stopped breathing and tears streamed heavily down my face. I felt God wrap His arms around me, weeping too, as He told me, “That’s what I saved you from.” From that moment on I felt my spirit strengthen, and my disgust for the devil was awakened again. I realized he had been trying to lure me back, because it’s oh-so easy to just fall into sin again, especially when times are tough.

The first time I fell away from God it started with a mere statement of, “It won’t hurt if I…[go to the bar with friends and not drink, kiss this guy I hardly know, drink a glass of wine, date an atheist alcoholic in hopes of converting him, having pre-marital sex, moving in with my atheist boyfriend]. That’s how it all started. Next thing I knew I wasn’t going to church anymore, I was drinking all the time, and I was in a horrific abusive relationship.

You let that tiny sin in and it feasts on you. You begin to justify it and excuse it. The worse part about it is you honestly still believe you’re serving God through it all. You cry out and beg, “Why, God, why am I being so mistreated!?” Sin creeps in when we say, “One time won’t hurt,” or “Does the bible really say this is wrong?”

Instead of running from sin, it tempts us into believing it can save us with a brief, temporary escape and relief. Before you know it, your escape has taken you away from God for ten years and you feel no relief at all.

NOTE TO SELF: The devil is trying to lure us away from God when we are vulnerable and weak. He will use your past and somehow make it look glamorous and easy. God, though, says, “Hide in Me. Nothing can shake you or make you fall here with Me.”

Run—don’t walk—to God today! Hide in Him, and seek Him. Jump into His open arms and hide for as long as needed. God will release you when you’re ready.

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