Sunday, March 10, 2013

Part 4: Lost, Alone, Isolated

It never ceases to amaze me how, in my life, God uses devotionals to speak exactly to my heart in the exact way I needed it for that day.

Yet again, this is another devotional from Amy Carmichael's, "I come Quietly to Meet you".

"In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice... He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet... He made darkness his covering, His canopy around him...out of the brightness of His presence clouds advances...He shot His arrows and scattered my enemies, great bolts of lightning and routed them." Psalm 18:6, 9 11-12,14

"There was one who was unafraid of any evil that might rise against her, unafraid of even the hint of bad news.  Her heart stood fast, believing the Lord, trusting in the tender mercy of God for ever and ever.

How often He had arisen as light in the darkness! How often she had called upon Him from the very center of trouble, knowing that He heard her the instant each storm broke upon her, knowing that He would come at once and deliver her.  He had been so full of love, and she had sung and proclaimed His goodness, saying, 'Who is like the Lord our God- who has His dwelling so high, yet humbles himself to take part in the things that are far below him in heaven and on earth?'  But now...

She found herself standing alone, isolated, looking into a great gray mist.

Fold after fold, the hills lay before her, but always in impenetrable mists.  She could see no path. Only a little track in the valley below.  She felt quiet alone.  For a while she stood. Listening.  Feeling inward isolation and uncertainty harder to bear than any other acute physical pain had ever been.

Softly, voices began to speak within her.  Now stealing her courage, now filling her with courage again: 

"My heart and flesh shall fail..."

"But God is the strength of my heart, and the good portion that is allotted to me forever!"

"My closed friends avoid me, or else they have no idea what is happening in the depths of my soul.  And even my own family does not understand..."

"Nevertheless, I am with you moment by moment, because you have reached out for my strong hand."

"My tears have flowed day and night, while unbelievers look at me and think, where is your God now?"

"You shall answer for me, 'The Lord is God!'"

"Why are you so cast down, O my soul- and why are you so unsettled within me?"

"Hope in Me, your God! For you shall yet praise Him, who gives the very blush of health to your face."

"No path I am forced to walk is hidden from God..."

"I know the ways that you must walk.  All your ways are before me.  As for Me, my way is perfect and I make your way perfect.  The people never thirsted even when I led them through the desert.  Will you faint, though I lead you through the mist-clouded hills?"

When her inner struggle ceased, she looked again at the mist- and saw that a great light was growing in its very heart.  At once, she knew she was not alone, had never been alone.  God was her refuge and strength, present with her, ready to help in tie of trouble (Psalm 46:1)

Suddenly, He was all about her path. He would make good on His promises of lovingkindness toward her, and He comforted her.  He would not let any of her hopes be disappointed.  Nor could she fear any longer, for those gloomy paths that lay ahead, through the folds of the hills, they were open ways to Him.  So it was enough for her to see only the next few steps.  He would go before her and make His own footsteps a way for her to walk in.  She was filled again with assurance : The One whom she followed could see through the mist all the way to the end of the path.

And as she walked the misted way, she was given a song to sing: "You my lord, never fail those who seek you!"

As she walked and sang, others who she did not see because the mist lay heavy all about her, heard her singing.  And though she did not know it, she gave many comfort and helped them follow in the path of His footsteps too- all the way to the end."