Lack of Office Part 2


It was hard to write the last blog.  So many faces and stories kept getting between me and the monitor.  I know that my putting your stories in a frame, putting words in a numbered sequence to your life, is bound to be traumatic.

Some will weep eloquently in the comments.  Most will silently curl up in a ball, at least inside, and wish they had never been.  I hurt the most for those who will hurt in silence.

It took me back to the old song made famous by Roberta Flack.

“Strumming my pain with his fingers

Singing my life with his words

Killing me softly with his song

Killing me softly with his song

Telling my whole life with his words

Killing me softly with his song.”

And unfortunately if the first four markers of a life lived without the benefit of an office are harsh, the next four are downright brutal.

5)     Your Fruit is Stolen

After Hagar was ordered to be fruitful without the benefit of love, courtship or marriage covenant, her fruit was to be appropriated by Sarai.

I watch this in the marketplace and in church repeatedly.  As often as you find a barren leader, you will find an officeless person commanded to bear fruit for the leader, in order to disguise the barrenness of the leader.

It is, admittedly, very challenging to be in the spot light as a pastor or worship leader or boss, with huge public pressure on you to be fruitful.  It is even harder when you are barren as a leader.

But the pain of a barren leader is nothing compared to the pain of the officeless subordinate who is forced to be fruitful only to watch the fruit be snatched away from them and appropriated by the barren one.

6)     Jealousy Strikes

After Sarai came up with a cracked plan, and Abram agreed to it, and Hagar endured it, Sarai decided it was a bad plan, and turned her anger toward Hagar, who was the victim, not the designer or perpetrator of this scheme.

Even though the barren boss has defacto control over the officeless underling, that does not stop the jealousy since the barren boss can do nothing to stop public opinion.  No matter what games and scams the barren one embraces, there is always the knife-like truth that they are barren and the person they are using is not.

This generally leads to a relentless campaign of delegitimization of the one without the office, by the barren person who holds a social position of influence.

7)     Protection is Removed

Emotional abuse was not enough for Sarai.  In her white hot shame she directed her rage at Abram and even invoked God as being on her side against her slave and her husband. (Excuse me?!  Talk about twisted logic.  She makes Adam and Eve look honest by comparison.)

Abram crumbled under the firestorm and choose to save himself by lifting all social norms off the situation, permitting Sarai to be as abusive as she wanted to be, without interference from him, even though Hagar was carrying his child.

With the passive approval of her husband secured, Sarai embarked on a campaign of cruelty toward Hagar, whose only crime was being obediently fruitful in a degrading context.

And to add the highest possible degree of pain to the whole travesty, Abram cloaked his cowardice in a moral overtone by telling Sarai to do whatever she thought best — as if Hagar were a disobedient dog chewing on slippers that simply needed to be trained.

This script is so predictable.  The jealousy driven fury of the barren leader paints the fruitful slave as a rebel.  The leader goes up the authority structure and receives permission to suspend all rules and rights so they can teach the rebellious, fruitful slave a lesson “for their own good.”

It matters not what the social system is.  Whether this occurs in church or in the marketplace, whether there are union rules or civil service protection, the rules invariably melt like snow in the summer when a barren leader needs to resolve the problem of a fruitful underling.

And the whole community stands by silently, agreeing through their passivity with the travesty of injustice that ensues, once the powers that be agree to back the barren leader in his campaign to eradicate the fruitful officeless one.

8)     God Sides with the Abuser

Eventually Hagar fled, feeling that the emotional and physical abuse was too much to handle.  She could not resolve the situation because it lay in the complex dynamics between Sarai and Abram.  She could not submit enough to make Sarai not barren.  She could not hide her fruitfulness in a way that would not inconvenience or expose Sarai.

So she fled for her own survival.

And God met her in her flight, when He had ignored her in her obedience and suffering.

He admitted to her pain — actually He called it misery.

He blessed her son in the womb.

And He sent her back to Sarai.

He gave her no strategy for dealing with it.  There was no promise that things would be better.  There was no promise that He would set limits to Sarai or that He would give grace to Hagar.  He did not give her any time limit to the misery.  He did not promise to protect Ishmael from the abuse in the womb and after birth.

He just sent her back.

She was not the first, nor the last.  Some of you reading this have endured steps one through seven of this sequence and have been able to keep existing, even though there was little you could grace with the word “living.”

But then how do you deal with God Himself sending you back into the mess at the exact point in time when you are broken and desperate for a reprieve?

Where is the sense in that?

Copyright September 2011 by Arthur Burk

From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim

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14 Responses to Lack of Office Part 2

  1. Joan says:

    I, too, have worked for a Sarai and Abram. Thanks for your revelation Arthur that I was without an office. Yes, it’s painful, very painful. The only thing that got me through the pain to healing was to continually forgive and release, forgive and release. At first forgiveness was purely an act of my will until God brought the healing. Now I can truly bless them and love them with no hard feelings, just sadness.
    Joan

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  2. Elise says:

    My thoughts immediately went to the marketplace. I currently work for Sarai. At my pro or job, my manager was Sarai. I’ve always worked for Sarai regardless of who the employer was. This last year, I saved my company from hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. But all Sarai could do was yell and demean me because I embarrassed her. When upper management food out what they had avoided, she was pleased as punch with their approval and publicly announced how upper management was so pleased. But not once did she mention that she had not invested even one ounce of energy into the project, nor did she mention that I had anything to do with it.

    But then my thoughts turned to Hagar’s son. Even though Hagar was fruitful, her fruit is only valued for a bittersweet moment, and then it is thrown out along with Hagar.

    This lack of office thing seems to be all pervasive, and not limited to any one sector of life!

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  3. Catherine says:

    Number 8 is a killer.

    Endure. Obey. Engage every fiber of your being toward transformation. Flee. Weep. Cry out. Meet God. Be sent back. Again. And again.

    Have God meet you — Show up in the night and give words to a need you could never quite define. And then wake to Him telling you that you have no platform to even receive the building blocks of a foundation for the right structure to supply your need. And so knowing your predicament you submit, differently this time, yes with desperation but also with new hope. And He builds. And you receive. And slowly heal. Until you take office.

    And are sent back. Again. And again.

    And on earth the leader is still and even more barren, and you are more fruitful, joyful, legitimate. You occupy the office (you think, at least). But you certainly don’t occupy the free will of another. And all around you, and even in you now the principles bring transformation. You have joined the ranks of those with this particular gear in the transmission. Except in this one place, it seems. To which you are…sent back.

    Bring on the next post.

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    • Doris says:

      I am so drawn to this post and for the last few days have been unable to wrap my mind around the relevance to me. But your post brought it home and I realized the reality of this truth was in my spirit and my spirit knew and understood what you were saying Arthur. So thank you Catherine for bringing the fruit forth for me.

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    • Deena Brackett Kelley says:

      It all sounds so familiar. That place of condemned if you do………condemned if you don’t. Make the 100.000 right choices makes a difference at times but it usually isn’t measurable and certainly not sustainable. The Father’s primary directive is always to chose life. But choosing life seems to bring another round of pain. After so many rounds of disappointment, loss and more pain it is very hard to think about embracing hope again. What is the point? How does the reooccuring pattern serve the King or build the Kingdom? Fulfillment? That seems as elusive as a winning lottery ticket.

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      • Olivia says:

        I do not want to vomit pain all over this blog, but I am at my wit’s end. All I can see is more of the same pain and I have had more than enough over and over again. I just don’t understand the WHY of it all. Even if I did, I doubt it will help. Eagerly awaiting insight while screaming on the inside.

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        • Arthur Burk says:

          Well Olivia, I can’t help you with the why. I gave up trying to be God’s press secretary a long time ago. But I am working on the next blog which will begin discussion how we get out of that place and move into the office.

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  4. Roslyn says:

    Maybe I have numbed myself from the pain of it to feel anything as I read, or perhaps I am coming out the other side of it and healed to the degree that I don’t remember the pain.

    What I do know is that God is Good. I can now walk in the midst of the very people and circumstance that nearly crushed out my life with new eyes and a new heart. I still see the same things but my own attitude and reaction is different now.

    I KNOW my God is there with me every minute. He sees more than I see; He is looking at my heart to find His Love for His people shining there.

    It almost feels like I am in an invso-bubble. I am inside ‘something’ looking out at everything and things that once hurt just hit the invso-shield and fall to the ground. I know that sounds funny … this is fairly new to me after a life time of being Haggar. I think, if she had only known our Yeshua in full measure, she might have had different experience in the end of it. What I know now it is not ‘me’ these attacks are coming against, it is the Christ in me that jealousy hates. I weep for them now … for they are in bondage and do not even know it. I am free from the pain of their rejection and jealousy. Sometimes I don’t quite know what to do when I am around these barren ones but I do know I can smile at them and breathe His Love over them and not receive hurts any longer. I don’t have to go home, numb myself out of feeling the pain. I can pray and release … and REJOICE in Him.

    Even, in a sense, that thing that happens when the barren one steals my ‘fruit’. In this attitude … does he? As Father sees it all and records it all, am I not growing fruit where He sees and will He not one day openly reward that which He alone now sees? I don’t live for that reward but does it not come anyway? His Word says it does.

    As I say, this is new for me. I am sure there will be a whole lot more walking this out.

    Thank you soooooooooo much for this blog. I did not even have a glimmer of an idea that it was because I am ‘out of the office’ that I have been experiencing so many negative things.

    With understanding comes the open door to let Holy Spirit do a work He longs to do.

    I know His blessings are rich upon you for the help and comfort and encouragement you bring to so many of His people.

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  5. Mary-Anne Simpson says:

    Yup! Love the book, have gifted it to some, and I now I remember that you have some teaching on recieving that annointing!
    It is awesome to think that you can make a choice to pass it on thank-you.
    As you say somethings we just hold to ourselves and hurt in silence. But somehow speaking out and breaking the silence of the shame that goes with barrenness the asking “what’s wrong with me?” is eased by speaking out. Thank-you.

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  6. Susan Reeve says:

    I think the sense is in facing the pain and dying to it. It is to be stronger than the hurt so it no longer has power. Yes it is hard to hear, but when God shone His light and revealed His truth, then He could heal me. Seeing reality was very hard for me because I hide my pain in pretending. Now I can call God the God of Understanding because He knows why and what I was doing. I can also call Him the God of Mercy and Light because He loves me enough to show me the truth and with truth comes freedom. It was only a week before your first post that I asked God why my Fred seemed to treat me more like a servant than a partner. God, in His goodness, has used you again to show me the way. And the way is narrow and tight and uncomfortable and filled with tears. It is walking with Suffering and Sorrow. But now I know why I have been used and frankly used badly by others but God did not leave me there. He gave me understanding so my heart could leave. Death is a part of living the life with Christ. Now I have more to heal and even grow. Hard yes but freedom is sweet. Please keep revealing what God has shown you.

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  7. Mary-Anne Simpson says:

    You are right, it is SO, SO, very hard to read this, the word barrenness conjures up such pain, a woman who has miscarried, too old to have children anymore, wondering what or why or who about MY relentless generational blessings, and the mantle of MY anointing ….. do they die with me, can I choose to whom to give them??
    An empty void, so many other people’s children held in my arms, kissed, blessed, but never my own, it gets harder not easier as time passes, 50 next year …..
    I’ve got lots of furry children, but isn’t that the epitome of an unfulfilled womb where people shake their heads and think how sad?
    Mother by nature, but not by fact, always longing, never fulfilled, never speak about it, too selfsufficient, too “together”, don’t want to burden others with my baggage …
    Neighbour’s 5 year old always finds 1 on 1 time at our house, but still I don’t know what is to hold a child who is mine and have them look back into my eyes the way a child looks at it’s mother, as I looked in my mom’s eyes, finding so much love there … I have it to give, just no-one to give it to ….
    I sometimes feel that I will die and disappear, leaving no legacy, no heretage, a woman but not really…. if that makes sence?
    Just SO, SO hard, no real answers, just faith and trust and knowing that the Almighty Creator of the Universe IS in control and loves me ……. and has a plan and a purpose for MY life.

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    • Arthur Burk says:

      Mary-Anne, yes, you can determine who gets your generational blessings. Remember in the book I wrote on the subject, Miss Elsie gave me the anointing to be able to finish things? She was never married so chose to share with me the treasures of her life. It does not change the desire to have your own children, though.

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      • julie says:

        This thought just now ran through my mind. Can you pass on your generational blessing to an adopted child? Can they get a double portion?

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