Job 3:20-23 NIV “Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?”
Have you ever heard a sermon preached about Job’s suicide wishes? I have not either. It isn’t politically correct. We preach on the great transformation at the end of his life and ignore the fact that a man who sought after God with holy hands and intense commitment could end up with his life imploding and death becoming his deepest desire.
So today, let’s explore it.
Last week’s light prayer was about God taking me to places that were defiled so I could cleanse them. IF I would let Him mess with me.
I agree in principle, asked you to pray and walked into the trap/opportunity utterly unsuspectingly.
I wrote a newsletter this week asking for volunteers for a strike force for the blessing projects we are looking at in the fall regarding suicide. The response was overwhelming – larger than the response to any other query I have ever put out there. I now know the following things about our SLG tribe.
-The daily battle against the desire to commit suicide is far more widespread in our tribe than I knew.
-It affects a large number of leaders and healers whose followers have no idea they have to fight this personal battle while they are trying to be life giving to others.
-There are a remarkable number of people in our tribe who have fought the battle successfully and have been free from the desire or temptation for many years.
-There is a deep desire to talk about the topic in a safe context, but a context that does not strip you of your dignity for having suicidal desires is hard to come by. I have read some very transparent e-mails this week, loaded with savage pain.
-Almost no one in SLG has a single clue what fulfillment means! We need to do some remedial work there since this is the earned authority needed to come against a large part of the spirit of suicide.
There you have it. An abrupt shift. A tangential project in SLG is suddenly front and center, enormous, complex and dripping with anguish. Not something that was in our business plan. But . . . I gave God permission to be random by my standards, and asked you to pray that He would lead me into places where His glory would sanctify defilement and here we are.
Boy howdy, here we are!!! Defilement abounds.
The other side of the equation from last week I already shared in the Scorecard. Namely, God has been very busy flushing out the pockets of fear in my life. Well, exposing them anyway. I wouldn’t say any of them are flushed clean yet!
MY plan (not to be confused with HIS plan) was to go to a number of places around the world where suicide is prevalent and to record blessings there, drawing from the treasure in the land that God placed there first.
I have received a large number of reports of places where there is a lot of suicide, but most of them are far too vague – half a state, for example. So I politely wrote back and asked people to do a little more digging and see if they could narrow it down to a single spot so I could keep this project right-sized.
In the midst of answering that pile of e-mails I came across one from a vet talking about the suicide issue among vets. I am certainly aware of the enormity of the problem but had not moved toward it at all.
As I was preparing my e-mail with an explanation that I need a place, not a people group, God interrupted with a pointed question. “What are you afraid of HERE?”
I beat a hasty retreat to the couch and explored the question. The punch line was, “Being overwhelmed.” And I realize it is a fear-battle I fight all the time. Pick your pain. There are more hurting people out there than there are life givers. Always. So if any life giver sticks his head above the crowd, he gets mobbed.
Asked me how I know.
We certainly have vets with suicide issues. And not enough life givers. A mismatch so massive even our secular press is having to acknowledge it.
So yes, God, I am very much of the opinion that if I tried to wrap my arms around this pile of pain, it could overwhelm our staff.
God was fairly unimpressed with my logic. His succinct response, “Not mine.”
I wrote the vet back and accepted the offer to teach me about the problem of suicide among the veterans. I am awaiting a response.
I pondered the close parallels between me and Job in the subject line of this blog. He was rejecting the gift of life TO HIM because he was in so much pain, he would have rather not ever been born.
I was rejecting the gift of life THROUGH ME because . . . well, I am not sure why. It just doesn’t seem right that enough life could flow through me to solve this big a problem.
Who knows where this road will take me? I sure don’t. I have simply acknowledged the fact that there is a monstrous desert out there, among civilians and vets. And I have acknowledged the fact that God seems to want to release some light and cleansing in this desert through me.
So how to pray this week? Job prayed the “why” prayer which is, I think, one of the most useless prayers out there. It is simply sitting in judgment on God, implying that He isn’t running the universe very well.
The “how” prayer is also pretty low impact. “Follow me” is the most common answer.
I am taken back to the encounter between God and the Israelites at Mt. Sinai. God spoke to the people directly. They felt overwhelmed. They asked Him to back off and speak only to Moses and let Moses deliver a softer, gentler version of the will of the Lord to them.
As I look at this project, recording blessings on land with a musician seems doable. A stretch, but I could grow into it. Dealing with the amount of pain that is in the SLG tribe on the issue of suicide seems utterly overwhelming. I could not even answer the e-mails individually this week. There were too many. I will send out a group response tomorrow. I hate that.
Dealing with the veterans’ suicide issue? Utterly, completely, totally beyond any realm of possibility. For me.
Oh, I have no doubt that God can. He has the goods. Simple. But it feels like we are trying to get 440 volts, three phase and 300 amps to flow through my #18 wire! A mismatch of extreme proportions.
So there are only two choices. I can do like the Hebrews did and ask God to back off since it would overwhelm me. Or I can do like Moses did and walk up the mountain, into the thick darkness and experience a transformation of his spirit, soul and body unlike any other human has ever had.
Oh, by the way – it involved Moses becoming a light bearer in a remarkable way.
Let’s go there. I choose not to reject the light God is offering. He has LIGHT, and He apparently wants to address my fear of being overwhelmed by darkness.
This week, ask God to pour His light into my fear and equip me for whatever it is HE has in mind for the defiled desert of suicide – including the vets.
Copyright June 2014 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub