Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Soaring Spirit

Isaiah 45:2-3
"I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will  break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron.  I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I , the LORD, Who call  you by your name, Am the God of Israel."

This spoke to my heart today - for what is chronic illness if not gates of bronze and bars of iron?

This passage was originally addressed to Cyrus, hundreds of years before he was born, and resulted in his giving permission to his Israelite captives to return to Israel and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.

But the words stood up and waved to me today - the bronze gates and iron bars may be present but the Spirit of the Living God is certainly able to remove them - physically, yes, but more importantly, the shackles of the spirit.  Our bodies may be held fast by the parameters of our illnesses - but our spirits need not be, if our faces are lifted to the the One Who calls us by name.

I'm not chirping here in the corner, as if any of this were easy.  Those who have been ill for some time know it is not.  But captive bodies need not be enslaved in their spirits, even though  chronic illness is filled with darkness.

Some days it seems to shroud the sun in the sky, and some days warrant lying in a darkened room, shut away from the busy lives that go on right outside the door; but in the secret places of the heart there are hidden riches - the treasures of darkness.

Superficial relationships with the God of Israel don't cut it when CI takes over your life.  And the secret places are secret because there is no way, no words yet invented that can explain the difference to those who have never tasted CI.  Many times our illnesses dictate plans and activities - its influence reaches every second of every day.

But inside of that dark imprisonment, there are riches no one else can find - riches that lift the spirit from its cage and send it soaring to the Father's presence. I have found this to be true especially during hard days, when the will must be wrestled into submission, when prayer and praise are done through faith alone - no warm fuzzies here - this is a battle, make no mistake about it.

And then - then His peace comes - not always, but often, when the bruised heart is at rest, when the songs in the night Job speaks of fall gently on the soul, when He calls you by name and reveals Himself as Adonai, as the Great I Am, as the God so personal He whispers your name and sings over you.

The next time the darkness tries to swallow you whole, listen - and wait for His riches to come to you, remembering it takes time for the eyes to get accustomed to the darkness. Pour out before Him the pain, the brokenness, the unfairness you feel - He knows it already anyway, and it cleanses the soul to speak with deeply felt honesty.  Bring before Him the self-pity, the sullenness, the hopelessness that sometimes rules the weakened spirit - then wait before Him, trusting Him to touch those places blistered by solitude and touched by the sour taste that being dependent carries in its back pocket.

I pray you will be overwhelmed by treasures, and find the bronze gates and iron bars crumble to dust before you.

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