on the Danube at night

In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. Psalm 77:2

“Regret describes a slight disappointment over loss.” “Sadness is a taste of the truth that the world is not all right, creation is not what it was meant to be.” “Depression is a continual state of mind; effort appears futile because it seems that nothing can really help or provide meaning.” “Despair is the utter absence of any sense of hope, accompanied by a sense of powerlessness.” Quotes are from “The Cry of the Soul,” Allender and Longman.

When a soul refuses to be comforted what is happening? The place of “dis-ease” appears to be safer? “Powerlessness” has displaced “power” as the more “real” value priority, through testing over time? Despair is insulating a person from the disappointment of postponed desire realization, past and present? The fantasy of non-existence is preferred as a dream-world shield from the “agony” of becoming who we really are? Tenderly, we discuss this topic.

In the world of “defense mechanisms” we are dealing with things done unconsciously. The value of understanding them is the same as recognizing areas of already crucified “Flesh,” which are targeted by God’s predetermined plan to rid us of them forever. They are, after all, rooted in the old nature’s “self.” Oh no! I can’t use my ego to deny reality or suppress pain? No, what is dead is dead, but don’t count on an instantaneous elimination of this problem in our experience.

Yes, reality will bring pain, which distress is expressed and felt emotionally. “Contempt is a defense against shame. Shame is a flight from intimacy, anger suppresses others right to choose,” say the experts. All of these kinds of felt mechanisms have something in common. They all arrogantly try to control situations and people; even if those situations and people are sent by God.

In the world of God’s work, begun in us and continued till the day of Christ, situations and people are sent by God to us for His purpose and ours. God is conforming us to the image of Christ; we are being delivered from our cursed flesh that plagues us. Frankly, God is strengthening us in the image of Christ by weakening our big, strong, refusing to die, and self-preserving defenses. Eventually we can cooperate with His plan and when these “tricks of ego” die, so does the big-dog. Then, a man of God emerges; someone of God’s building. It’s a process of dying to live.

Folks, we have learned to stuff the pain, but unfortunately the “baby” of God’s comfort goes out with that bathwater. Yes our walls of defense are built so magnificently that even God’s compassion, identification and pity cannot penetrate them.

Eventually, what suffers by this avoidance is our pivotal struggle with God. In this Jacob-like grapple, we insist on the receipt of God’s blessing instead of the usual rejection of it by peevish withdrawal. We must know if our God is truly the God that He claims to be. We need to settle it once and for all.

See, our repression, denial, intellectualization, rationalization, displacement etc. are the same methods used by Jacob in his flight from Brother Esau. It was the death threat that sent the ego-wise Jacob a scurrying. His self-serving efforts bought him a submission to unwanted authority, oppression, false existence, and a lot of wives and babies. It was time to face his brother, death threat and all.

But then he met a man, an angel, with whom he wrestled till the breaking of day. Prevailing over him, Jacob would not let him go until the man blessed him. Jacob was done with tricks and scheming; ready to face reality, he sought the God-part of truth also. Frankly, Jacob wanted out of his self-made hell of running from death, but also sought a guarantee of protection; but this time from God alone. His reward was a new identity, power with God and man.

In summary, to trust Him we must. Hurt feelings and pain notwithstanding, fears and doubts disregarding, knee-jerk reactions quelled; He waits to be gracious to us. This is the bonus. God can quiet the rambunctious emotions, the need to be in command, the fears of discomfort. Of course, He has always been there. Our resort to default mode has placed Him in hands-tied.

He loves us with an everlasting love. He will never leave nor forsake us. Jesus’ death was for us, and turned us death and resurrection-wise forever. When we can’t receive comfort because we are a tangled ball of emotions, He waits and stands at the door. He knocks. Let Him in today. He loves you. Love ya

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