Bread – Dark

May 12, 2017


Psalm 63

“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips, when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate upon You in the watches of the night.”  Ps. 63:5-6

If I used multi-word descriptions of Bread in the title, this would have been “watches of the night,” but I settled on “dark” because that is close.  One thing you can say about the “watches of the night” is that it is dark…and lonely.  Particularly if you are the only one awake, or are the sentinel on the outpost, or hunched over last minute study or work.

Who among us has not woken up at a terrible time at night, two or three in the morning, either too cold or too hot, too worried or too energized.  Perhaps a “bad dream” has awakened us.  Perhaps our brain has been working on a problem at work on overdrive.  Perhaps we drank a caffeinated beverage too late in the evening, or ate a bowl of ice cream which contained enough for three people.

For whatever reason, however, we are awake in the watches of the night, in the dark, alone and thinking.

What are we thinking about?  For many of us, we are probably thinking about how we can go back to sleep, maybe by reading a boring book or counting sheep.

For David, the Psalmist, though, the time of the dark, when alone in the quiet of the watches of the night, was a perfect time to meditate upon God and with God.

I say meditate “with” God on purpose.  We may actually meditate upon our blessings or, even, upon our sins, and we may think about how grateful we are for our blessings in “this life and in the age to come.”  When we are doing this, we are meditating about ourselves and about God, both of which may be good things.  But is the best thing?  What about meditating with God and letting Him lead our thoughts and our prayers and our self-examination.  Instead of saying to God, “I know how to meditate, I’ll handle it,” what if we said to God, “It is dark and I am alone.  I want You.  Lead me into Your thoughts that they may become mine.”

What would happen when we meditated with God instead of about Him?  Would God’s thoughts and meditations lead us into thinking about others instead of ourselves, into places of service rather than places of blessing, into examination of opportunities for being Christ to our neighbor?  Would God’s thoughts and meditations lead us into Scripture in a new way, exposing wisdom which we sorely need for the day and the week and the month and the year?

When we eat at the table which the Lord has prepared for us, our soul is satisfied “as” with a complete meal (“fat and rich food”).

In many older Roman and other liturgical churches, the priest at communion would stand with his back to the congregation, at the communion altar which is a sliver of stone stuck to the wall.  That always struck me as odd growing up, because why would you turn away from the congregation?  In fact, in more “modern” churches, the altar for communion is located where the celebrant can face the congregation.  One day, as an adult, someone told me why and it made all the sense in the world.  The priest, when his back is turned to the audience, preparing communion on the sliver of stone stuck to the wall, is actually standing in front of the congregation which is facing the same way, and the sliver of stone is the edge of the communion table which stretches into eternity, at which the saints sit for meal, for communion, with us.

In the dark, in the watches of the night, when we are alone we are not, for when we meditate with God, when we meditate on Him, we join the generations who have preceded and who will follow in celebration of our eternal relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The way has been prepared.  All we have to do is listen and follow instructions.    After all, we are in the dark.  Why not meditate with God?  Instead of reading a good book, why not read the “best” book?  Instead of going back to sleep, why not enter life?

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© 2017 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bread – Fear

June 22, 2016


Psalm 25

“Who is the man who fears the Lord?  Him will He instruct in the way that he should choose.  His soul shall abide in well-being…The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant.”  Ps. 25:12-14

“Fear” is an interesting word because of how we think about it.  When we think of “fear,” most often we think of the places where fear is most likely to occur and our reaction to the things which cause fear.

We know the places which make us fearful.  For some people, it is the place of loud noise or angry, yelling people.  For others, it may be a dark room or a tall place.  Our fear antenna goes up when we are walking alone on a poorly lighted street late at night, or when we see a group of mean-looking people harassing others.  We fear bullies and we may fear people with guns and knives.  Some of us are so skittish we may be afraid of our own shadow.  That is the kind of fear which causes our heart rate to go up and, often, causes a panic reaction.

Then there is the place of fear which is more psychological, where we fear being the one left out of the pickup ball game, or fear wearing the wrong clothes or having the wrong set of friends.  This is more of a social fear, but the panic can be just as overwhelming.

As I mentioned, when we think of fear and our own fear in particular, we often think of our reaction to it.  And our reaction to fear is most often to run away from the thing or the person or the situation causing it, to hide, or to not go there to begin with, to avoid the cause.

If we have the proper amount of fear, we are careful.  If we have a little too much fear, we are fretful.  If we have a lot of fear, we cower or run.  Part of becoming an adult is learning how to have a proper amount of fear and how to channel our reactions to it so that our reactions are appropriate in the circumstances.  For example, while our natural reaction to fear of an unruly crowd is to avoid them or run away, we might be trained in crowd control and so we actually confront our fears and engage the unruly crowd.  In the first instance, our fear is unmanaged; in the second, it is managed.

Why do we run away from God?  Why do we deny Him?  Why do we hide from Him?  Why, having accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, do we not fully exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit and engage our friends and neighbors with the truth of the gospel?  Some would say that it is our pride and our arrogance, believing that there is no God or, even if we admit that there may be a God, believing that we don’t need Him.  I think the closer answer might be because we have either an unhealthy fear of Him or a fear of having to confront ourselves if what He says is true.  We first fear to know God and, when we finally bypass that fear to learn about Him, we then fear Jesus.  Once we bypass our fear of Jesus and come to know Him, we then fear the Holy Spirit and His effect on our lives.  When we fear God in this unhealthy way, we wall Him off.  When we fear Jesus Christ in this unhealthy way, we wall Him off.  When we fear the Holy Spirit in this unhealthy way, we wall Him off.

But this Psalm tells us to fear God first and then good things will happen.  The reason is simply that, in order to have a proper understanding of God, we need to recognize that He is not a teddy bear, He is not a clown, He is not our best friend, He is not our equal … He is holy, He is righteous, He is wrathful, He is judge, jury, and executioner, He is all-powerful, He is full of awe-inspiring wonder, He is above all things, He is creator of all things, He is Lord of all things, He is perfect – He is not us; He is God.  Knowing that God is all these things, the only proper place to be is on the ground, face down and covered, hoping that He does not burn us up and throw us into the fires of Hell where, but for His mercy, we belong.

This fear which comes from knowing our place in the world and from knowing God is a healthy fear.  It puts us in the right place, knowing that in all things we did not go to Him; He came to us.

But from that healthy fear, that knowledge that when we are in His presence we are in the presence of God Almighty and not God-of-man’s-invention, we are now ready to listen (to hear God’s instruction “in the way that [we] should choose.”  From that healthy fear, our souls will “abide in well-being” because we know that the God who has saved our souls and who protects our souls is able to deliver our souls into eternal life.  From that healthy fear, we know that God can and will deliver on every one of His promises.

And from a position of healthy fear of the Lord, we shall have the “friendship of the Lord.”  The word “friendship” here actually means a couch, a pillow, a place for a conversation or a consultation.   And, indeed, when we have a healthy fear of the Lord, we are ready to meet Him in prayer, in meditation, in His Scripture, whenever we are ready and He chooses.  In this conversation, with a healthy fear we understand that it is not a conversation among equals, but between master and slave, God and man, Savior and saved, Teacher and disciple.  It is when we have fear of the Lord that we are ready to speak to Him boldly, not because we are equal but because He has given us permission.  It is when we have fear of the Lord that we are ready to grow up.

The phrase “Have no fear” does not mean what it says.  Fear is a good thing and it will lead us to eternal life.  Better it is said “Have no unhealthy fear … and prosper.”

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© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

Bread – Dark

April 13, 2015


Readings for Monday, April 13, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Dan. 1:1-21; 1 John 1:1-10; John 17:1-11; Psalms 1-4, 7

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Young children can really be our eyes into greater reality. My grandson stayed with us Friday night. To get to the room where he sleeps and his toys are kept, he has to pass down a hallway which is somewhat dark. He has a name for this – “Da…ark…” It is the word “dark” said with special emphasis that only a child full of wonder can make. To pass through this dark hallway, he comes and grabs my finger and says “Papa come.” Then he drags me through the hallway into the toy room, all the while saying “dark,” nodding his head in agreement, and looking back at me to make sure I am there.

In our reading today from 1 John, the apostle says “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

We know in our hearts that God is light, which is I think one of the reasons we reach out to Him in prayer when we find ourselves in a dark place. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” This darkness can be physical, but it can also be darkness of soul, of heart, of mind, and of emotion. When we ask for revelation, it is to dispel the darkness of our mind. When we ask for peace, it is to dispel the darkness of our soul. When we ask for hope, it is to dispel the darkness of our heart.

God is a God of light and not darkness. When light enters the room, darkness flees. When darkness enters the room full of light … wait a minute, it can’t do that. Light pre-empts the dark, not vice versa.

Think about this for a minute. The only way it can be dark is to turn the light out.

Now, back to the adventure down the dark hall. I could turn on the light but I choose not to do that. Why? Well, partly it is because I want my grandson to slowly learn that he can overcome darkness and the fear which comes with it. But the other reason is more personal … to my grandson, when he is holding my hand he is carrying his light with him. I can tell him the truth about the dark, I can vanquish the things which hide in dark corners, I can comfort, I can love, I can support, and I can help him persevere and overcome. This gives me great pleasure.

When we find ourselves in our own darkness, instead of telling God what we want to do, why don’t we just pray to Him “Papa come?”

We don’t even need to say, “and bring the light,” because He is light.

There is not a day which goes by that something in the paper or on television or on radio reminds us that we live in a dark world and that, as the light leaves, it is becoming darker.

Maybe the antidote to this is much simpler than we think. Maybe the antidote to darkness and fear is for us to, in boldness, say to the author of creation, “Papa come.” After all, it works for my grandson. Why wouldn’t it work for us?

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© 2015 GBF

Bread – Darkness

September 10, 2014


Readings for Wednesday, September 10, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Job 29:1, 30:1-2,16-31; Acts 14:19-28; John 11:1-16; Psalms 49,53,119:49-72

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In today’s lessons from Scripture, God gives us no joy and no respite from our troubles. Instead, there is the reality of pain, of loss, of despair, of sadness, of loss. There is little light in today’s readings, but much darkness.

Just to make the point, here are three quotes from today’s readings:

From Job, “I cry to You [God] for help, and You do not answer me…You have turned cruel to me … But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for the light, darkness came.” Job 30:20-21,26

From Acts, “But Jews came from Antioch… and…they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city…[Paul] saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:19,22

From John, “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus…Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that Lazarus was ill, He stayed two days longer in the place where he was…Now Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died…” John 11:1,5-6,14

There is much darkness in these passages. Job was considered righteous and yet he suffered loss of health, looks, wealth, and family. Paul was Jesus’ disciple to the Gentiles and was stoned to almost death. Lazarus was Jesus’ friend and yet Jesus tarried two days where He was and, in the meantime, Lazarus died.

We cry out and God does not hear us! True or false?

It is fortunate in a way we end with our reading about Lazarus, because we know what happened to him. Jesus went to him and brought him back to life. When Lazarus could not have walked out of darkness (he was dead), Jesus carried him from darkness into light. Job was, after his tribulations, restored by God into the light. Paul was, in spite of his persecutions, empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach, to teach, to write the Scripture we read today, and to persevere in bringing the light to us Gentiles. We are fortunate to end with stories where we know the outcome because it gives us hope in the dark times that rescue is right around the corner.

But what if there is no rescue right around the corner. What if we are to suffer physical illness for a long time, maybe until our death? What if we are ruined economically and are to live the rest of our life in poverty? What if we find ourselves in darkness, day after day after day?

What are we to do in such circumstances? Get angry? Pray more? Lift ourselves up by our bootstraps? Go to a self-improvement course? Stand in front of a mirror and utter words of self-affirmation and self-love?

There actually is an answer in Scripture and it is built into today’s lessons. What are we to do? We are to wait upon the Lord, knowing that He will arrive with the answer in His time. This may be faith. This may be wisdom. This may be just obedience to God’s promises in Scripture. Whatever it is, it is not easy.

When we find ourselves in darkness, there are three responses possible. One is to try to find a light switch or a door. This is self-help and ultimately arises from the idea that we trust ourselves more than we trust God. Another response is to retreat into a corner. This is fear speaking and is our natural attempt to flee darkness. The third is for us to sit in the darkness in active waiting and listening, in full expectation that God will appear and take care of things (perhaps by revealing where the light switch is).

For those who have sat in darkness in a closed room, an interesting thing happens when we wait upon the Lord. The first is that fear is replaced by hope and expectation. The second is that we are given a second set of eyes by the Holy Spirit to begin to see things as they are. When this occurs, often we discover that there is quite a bit of light in the room, if we would but see. We find ourselves ready to see in the darkness and hear in the stillness. The third is that we become receptive to God’s message for us.

Favored by God or not, saved by Jesus or not, blessed by the Father or not, empowered by the Holy Spirit or not – we will find ourselves sooner or later (and perhaps now) in some kind of darkness. When we find ourselves in darkness, what is our response – Fight, Flight, or Faith?

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© 2014 GBF

Bread – Domains

June 2, 2014


Readings for Monday, June 2, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Lev. 25:35-55; Col. 1:9-14; Matt. 13:1-16; Psalms 77,79,80

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The word “domain” has both an old meaning and a newer application, which takes the old meaning and updates it. Historically, a domain is a geographical place over which a person of temporal power (emperor, king, prince, earl, duke, etc.) ruled. It could also mean a sphere of influence, where it could be said that someone occupies the domain of internal medicine. More recently, it has come to mean an area of cyberspace over which I rule. That domain has a name, called a domain name and, if I am the administrator of that domain, then I rule it.

We have gone from domains of substance (England) to domains of expertise to domains of virtual reality. In the field of domains, we have slid from domains of “real” property to domains of “personal” property to domains of imaginary property.

In today’s reading from Colossians, Paul makes this statement – “He [the Father] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Col. 1:13

Aside from our previous discussion of domains, now we have two new ones – the domains of darkness and light. The kingdom (domain) of Jesus Christ is one of light, by implication, because it is not the domain of darkness. The domain (kingdom) of darkness is one ruled by Satan or, possibly man, by implication because it is not ruled by Jesus Christ.

Just like a physical domain, you cannot be in both at the same time, unless you like straddling the fence.

It is the Father (and not us) who delivers us from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of light. He actually “transfers” us, suggesting not only a physical placement from one to the other, but a placement of citizenship as well.

One of the things you can say about domains is that they have rules. For example, if you don’t create your domain name just the right way and it is not approved by the people who keep track of domain names, you can’t do it. If you are in the king’s forest and he says not to kill a deer but you do anyway, you become someone who has disobeyed the laws of the domain.

So what are the rules of the domain of light?

There are two questions hidden in this question. The first hidden question is, “Do I even know what the rules of the light domain are?” The second hidden question is, if I know what the rules of the kingdom of light are, do I know when I have broken them?”

These are actually much harder questions to answer than appear at first light. How many of us actually feel and believe that we are doing “all right” in that department (knowledge and obedience)? We may know that we are not living up to Christ’s standards, but we are fundamentally content with our relationships, our efforts, our attitudes, and our character.

Earlier, I made reference to the fact that the domain of darkness could be ruled by Satan or, possibly, us. There is a reason for that. God’s ways are not our ways. Our natural inclination is always for our way.

That being the case, in which domain will we always be most comfortable? The answer is the one of our making, the domain of darkness.

So, when you meditate on how well you know the laws of the kingdom of light and how well you are doing in obedience to them, if you conclude you are doing “OK,” ask yourself which kingdom you are really operating in, which domain are you located in?

Since our natural domain is the domain of darkness, our unnatural domain is the kingdom of light. So, if we are living in the domain of light, it should feel unnatural because it is unnatural. The rules don’t make sense according to our ways of thinking and our obedience to the rules we even know about are sketchy at best.

Since we cannot rely on our natural instincts, knowledge, and abilities in the kingdom of light, on whose will we rely? When the natural does not work, it is the supernatural which does. God brought us into this kingdom of light by His supernatural power, He will teach us His commands by His supernatural Word, and He will sustain us in His domain during our feeble attempts at obedience by His supernatural power.

Man rules over the domain of darkness; God rules over the domain of light?

To which king do you bow? In which domain do you think you live? In which domain do you really live?

_______________

© 2014 GBF

Bread – Darkness

February 1, 2013


Readings for Friday, February 1, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Isa. 50:1-11; Gal. 3:15-22; Mk 6:47-56; Psalms 40,51,54

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There are many places where darkness dwells and many types of darkness which dwell there. Perhaps the place is the time of the loss of innocence, a time of sexual abuse, a time of loss of a loved one, a time of loss of a job, a time of depression, a time of loss of trust, a time of loss of love, or a time of addiction. Perhaps it appears in the form of anger, hatred, abuse of ourselves or others, depression, anxiety, worry, despair, hurt, melancholy, sadness, or fear. Wherever it is and whatever form it takes, it is fair to call that “darkness” or a “dark place” or a “dark time.” Light is missing – there is no path which is obvious, no clarity in view, no sense of belonging, no door to another place. It is dark and you cannot see. You cannot see what brought you to that place, you cannot see yourself, and you cannot see a way out. Why? Because it is dark.

When you are in the dark, there are two things, however, you can do. You can either rely on God or you can rely on yourself (the world). That is what today’s lesson from Isaiah addresses.

Isaiah 50:10b begins God’s pronouncement of these alternatives. First He says “Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” Isa. 50:10b What happens when you do this? Good things. Our Psalm 40 reading today says “He [God] drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth … Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust.” Ps. 40:2-4. Some words have great images, and doesn’t the phrase “miry bog” just completely describe the place of darkness where many of us find ourselves all the time? Stuck, sinking, smelly, dark. And God brings us out into light, gives us a new song, and blesses us.

Isaiah keeps going to address the second alternative, reliance on man (the world) to bring us out of darkness into light. God says “Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from My hand: you shall lie down in torment.” Isa. 50:11 God through Isaiah says simply that you do have an alternative when you are in the dark – you can locate the light switch designed and built by man, flood the place with the light of man, and rely upon your science, your wisdom, your knowledge, your tools (your “fire”) to light up the place. And where does that ultimately take you? To hell (“you shall lie down in torment”).

When you find yourself in darkness, do you reach for man’s solutions or God’s solutions? Is your light the fake light of man or the real light of God?

But isn’t fake light real light? After all, light is light, right? Wrong. As I said earlier, there are many forms of darkness. Because the light which comes from man is its own form of darkness, it is possible to be “enlightened” and yet be sitting in the dark emotionally and spiritually. The Enlightenment was the beginning of a period where man woke up to the fact that he could create his own light and didn’t need God to create it for him. Tell me, is there more peace, love, integrity, or hope today because of that? I don’t think so. Man’s light is darkness, just in a different form.

So when you are in the dark, to whom will you turn? It makes all the difference.

___________________________

© 2013 GBF

Bread – Dark

November 7, 2012


Readings for Wednesday, November 7, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: *; Rev. 16:1-11; Luke 13:10-17; Psalms 72,119:73-96

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For the past couple of weeks, we have been reading from Revelation, where those of us in Christ see a glorious end and the rest see gloom, doom, and darkness. The readings today from Revelation continue the journey of the world into that dark place, where there is no light and no hope, only ruin, devastation, destruction and death. From Revelation, we read: “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.” Rev. 16:10-11

Even in this one sentence, the people pretend they are the victim and look outward to find someone to blame, in this case God. And yet who confirmed the beast on the throne by voluntarily taking on to themselves the mark of the beast? The people. Who refused to repent when they were receiving the just reward for their rebellion, for their selfishness, for their worldliness, for their sin? The people. Who sowed iniquity and now reap the curses which follow iniquity? The people. Who caused the dark? The people.

Yes, if we are in a dark place today we have only ourselves to blame, not God, not our neighbor, not our boss, not even our family. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. You don’t want to be in the dark? Well, step into the light, step into relationship with Jesus Christ.

In Luke today, Jesus Christ healed a woman who had been disabled by Satan for 18 years. He did it on the Sabbath, the one day when work was off limits. But Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath, He is the Lord of creation, He is the Lord of the day. He is able and willing to work seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day for His people. He is willing to do that for you.

When we are in the dark, we have two fundamental choices. One is to stay there. There we can enjoy our own company, not look at ourselves in a mirror, hide our sins, and enjoy our delusions, including the delusion that someone else is causing this darkness. The second choice is to accept God’s healing, His gift of mercy, His rod of correction, His forgiveness, His light, and His eternal relationship and blessing. We can curse God in the dark or we can give Him thanksgiving, after we have repented, in the light.

Dark or light? Your choice.

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*Today’s readings designate Ecclesiasticus, sometimes called the Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach. This is not a book contained In the canonical Old Testament, but instead belongs to that body of work called the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical Books. These books are accepted by some Christian denominations as useful, but are rejected by other denominations. I have not included this reading today because of these controversies. However, if you want to read it, the reference for today is Ecclus. 43:23-33.

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© 2012 GBF

Bread – Lost

October 1, 2010


Readings for Friday, October 1, designated by the Book of Common Prayer:

Hosea 10:1-15; Acts 21:37-22:16; Luke 6:12-26; Psalms 102, 107:1-32

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Psalm 107 in our readings today present to us four forms of being lost, what one might call situations of “lostness.”

The first are – “Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.” Psalm 107:4

These are the people who find themselves in Nowhereville. The desert provides nothing to eat or drink. People die in the desert from lack of nourishment. Most deserts are hot to the point of burning. One can find no shelter in the desert, no covering, no protection against the forces of nature. In the desert, one direction looks no better than the other. Which way to green pasture? Which way to life-giving brooks of water? Which way to comfort? In the middle of Nowhereville, in the middle of the desert, no one knows the way.

The second are – “Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High.” Psalm 107:10

Since we are all children of Adam, we all have rebelled against the words of God and, therefore, at one time or another we all find ourselves lost in the dark. In the dark we are afraid, so afraid that in this passage we are actually just sitting rather than trying to find a way out. Our fear and our hopelessness drives us to depression (“deepest gloom”), so the lostness of dark may be just in our mind. We are surrounded by light but cannot see because our minds are imprisoned to the darkness of despair. While we are sitting in darkness, depressed and full of despair, hopeless, in chains to our misery, we cannot see a way out. We cannot see the solution to our problems. We cannot figure out which way is out. We are lost, we are in chains, we are in a miserable state. In the dark, one direction looks no better than the other. Which way to light? Which way to hope? We don’t know, and we won’t know because we are sitting in the dark, lost.

The third are – “Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.” Psalm 107:17

We love to use our reason, so set our science and our thoughts on the pedestal of worship. In so doing, we ignore God’s commands because they are “old-fashioned,” “for another time, culture, and place,” or “written by ignorant people who only knew how to raise donkeys and knew nothing about the Internet.” In so doing, we rebel against God’s rules for our life, His instructions for our safety, and so find ourselves lost in the foolishness of the world’s wisdom. Once we get there, of what good is God? When we can think of all alternatives, achieve all possibilities if only we “think we can,” conquer life through intelligent use of technology, and dream up unnecessary complexities to justify our jobs and our existence, then we will one day find ourselves in a corner of our own logic, retired by obsolescence, destroyed by predictable mistakes, conquered by the next person with superior “reason.” In the sorry state of self-reliance, we are more lost than perhaps even when we are in the desert or in the dark. We may be more lost because, in our own minds and our own strengths, we do not even realize that we are lost. We are lost and don’t know it, so we are not even trying to find a way out. Like the frog boiled to death in the pot of water, one degree at a time, we become more lost as days go by, glorying in our knowledge, reason, and technology, not even realizing that we have no place to go, no real eternal hope, no real direction.

The fourth are – “Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters…in their peril their courage melted away.” Psalm 107:23, 26

The fourth situation of lostness is where one is successful and adventurous, perhaps even guided by an accurate compass, but finds oneself in the middle of the storm, in the situation of great peril. We can become so overwhelmed by the storm we are in, by the complex perils of family life, by the negative situations in our jobs, by just the quakes of life, that we become lost. We are in the storm. What direction do we go in? What is the solution? Where is the hope? How do we get our way out of this mess? In the storm we are lost, we are afraid, we are frozen into inaction, we lack direction.

Maybe today you find yourself in one of these categories of lostness. Perhaps you are in the desert of life. Perhaps you are in the storm. Perhaps you are sitting in the dark. Perhaps you are so self-reliant that you don’t even know that you are lost. In all events, the solution is the same and is given in the same Psalm.

To the one lost in the desert, God says “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.” Psalm 107:6

To the one lost in the dark, God says “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.” Psalm 107:13

To the one lost in his foolishness, God says “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.” Psalm 107:19

To the one lost in his storm, God says “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.” Psalm 107:28

So what do you do when you are lost? I’ve got a great idea! What about calling out to the Lord? And He will bring you, He will carry you, He will deliver you, and He will save you.

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