Tag Archives: captivity

Finding Solid Footing While Walking Through Drudgery

b6cbea037ef16a1a40438e51920de4bf

Ever pondered how Joseph found favor in his captivity? (I have.) In fact, I have wondered many days, “How did he do it? How did he face the daily drudgery of Habakkuk’s Vineyard?” He seems to have found a secret to surviving and thriving, and I wanted to find it, too.

Captivity is tough.

Let’s face it, there are days you look around at things, people, and circumstances, and you feel the hopelessness begin to fold in around you.

Jeremiah said, “My soul still remembers and sinks within me.”

Remembers what?

“The wormwood and the gall…” (verse 19)

Just writing this my heart heaves another heavy sigh.

Yes, captivity is tough. And if I focus on the wormwood and the gall of my life, I’m going to sink into the quicksand of hopelessness.

So how did he do it?

I really need the secret because I want to be more than a survivor in my captivity—I want to be a thriver.

Is there such a word?

Well, there is now, and you get my point. I want to know how to thrive in a place where everything has died, dreams, possibilities, promises.

How am I supposed to thrive in a place like this?

Joseph did.

Cough it up Joseph. What’s the secret? Where are the keys to unlock the chains on my hope?

Talk to me.

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

My soul still remembers and sinks within me. Lamentations 3:20Lamentations 3:20
English: World English Bible - WEB

20 My soul still remembers them, and is bowed down within me.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, You gave us Your word so that when we are in trouble we have a place to run to for immediate help. The people in the bible were real people. People with problems just like mine! Open my eyes LORD. Help me to see how real people (even long ago) found real solutions for their own captivity. I don’t just need the comfort LORD, I need the revelation that only Your Spirit can bring me. When You open my eyes, open my mind as well. I need some hope!

Designer Dungeons

027aa9fa73140da2048987f35b3e8b8cJeremiah is a great friend of mine. We have spent many days together talking about God and our dungeon experiences.

He comforts me. He sent me notes of encouragement from so many centuries before, yet his frustrations, are as current as yesterday’s battles.

Yes, he is a great friend of mine.

While he pours out his frustrations in Lamentations chapter three, I listen, and I nod “yes” in all the appropriate places.

A good friend does that.

His dungeon is quite different from mine. His—designed for him—mine designed for me.  And the God who sees and hears, and knows everything, knows just what we need to get us from anger and frustration, to hope and trust. Jeremiah’s is tailor-made for him. Mine is tailor-made for me.

Your dungeon? Yes, it is tailor-made for you and of God’s knowing and choosing.

I know, you think yours is the worst. Jeremiah thought his was. I think mine is. But no, each one, each captivity is designed specifically for the one it encloses; designed to bring us to the end of ourselves and face-to-face with God.

It is love that closes us in.

Oh, I know. I didn’t think so at first. Jeremiah didn’t either, but after the caterpillar begins to adjust:

⦁ to the tight space
⦁ to the dark place

After he has:

⦁ made his case
⦁ and surrendered his race

He searches:

⦁ for God’s face
⦁ and finds God’s grace

And he discovers his custom cocoon? His designer dungeon? Though snug in spots, fits him like a glove.

And remember little caterpillar. Though tight and dark your cocoon may be—it is the place where wings are formed!

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy.                Lamentations 3:7Lamentations 3:7
English: World English Bible - WEB

7 He has walled me about, that I can’t go forth; he has made my chain heavy.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, when life seems to close in around us; when the darkness of despair threatens to suffocate all that desires Your will above all else, then Father, then come to our aid! Remind us in the very tight places, that You love us with an everlasting love, and nothing can shake that. Remind us that this is the very place Your wisdom has chosen for us; our cocoon to transform us; to form wings of destiny for Your plan and purpose.
Oh Abba… help us, when we forget.

The Iron

re-bar

It is easy in captivity to focus on the “iron bars” that fence me in or the “iron chains” that bind me—my adverse adversaries.

They are there each day to mock my heart’s longing for freedom.
Adverse circumstances.
Adversities.
Adversaries.
We all have them.
Some to a much greater degree; some to a lesser.

But I believe our adversities are tailor-made for us by a God who sees us, who hears us, who knows us, intimately.

I am His creation after all. My life is naked and bare before Him. Certainly my adversity cannot escape His notice?

So why has this famine come and parked itself at my door?
Why is it that I still live in Habakkuk’s Vineyard after so many years?
Is my sin worse than someone else’s?
Why me?

Ever wondered?
(Of course you have.)
Me, too.

God told me this was coming… did He tell you?
He gave me two scriptures to act as my support through some of the first very dark days.

Isaiah 43:2Isaiah 43:2
English: World English Bible - WEB

2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle on you.

WP-Bible plugin
, When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.

1 Peter 5:101 Peter 5:10
English: World English Bible - WEB

10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

WP-Bible plugin
, But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.
To me they said, “The fire and flood are coming, but one day, I will make an end. And you will be stronger than you have ever been before.

You know what? I am.
That is “the iron” I focus on now. Not my adversity.

Oh, it’s still there, but you know what it has brought?
Iron to my faith.
(Mine used to wobble a bit)
Adversity has taught me nothing can separate me from the love of God. There is iron in my backbone. (I once had so many fears.)
Nothing like facing your worst fear to conquer it!

Yes, the iron is there.

I am much stronger now, inside.
No one is more amazed than I am… and I am thankful… very thankful.

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.          Isaiah 40:29Isaiah 40:29
English: World English Bible - WEB

29 He gives power to the faint; and to him who has no might he increases strength.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, there was a time I didn’t believe I would ever see any good in all the bad that has happened, but today I see, a little. Enough for my heart to whisper a tiny, “thank you.” It may be with eyes that are flooded with tears… but it’s a start.

Doin’ The Dailies While Waiting For Deliverance

SuperBanner_Creation_2016-04-16_074504

Is there anything harder than waiting for deliverance? My answer is “No!” I struggle so to do my “dailies” in captivity. To get up each day and face another day of restriction and handicap, and yet do what must be done anyway, and do it with a good attitude!

This tests my allegiance to Jesus like nothing else I know.

When all my heart longs for freedom, and choices, and ability to face my narrow sphere (yet one more day) and do it with grace and gentleness, and the compassion of Christ?

I don’t know about you, but there are days that my flesh screams in me; days I want to rebel. These are the days I see what a failure I am—what a rebel!

Habakkuk says, “I will stand my watch…”

Yes. My watch. The one God has given me. Narrow certainly. Unpleasant probably. But the freedom of how I shall do my watch? That is mine. God gives it to me each day and I choose to lay down my life, or take it back.

Simple when you think about it.

I can yeild to this plan I don’t like, and can’t understand, or I can rebel, and churn, and resist.

So there is freedom in captivity. Freedom to yield. Freedom to choose. No captivity can take those choices from me! I can stand my watch. I can accept God’s grace. I can do my dailies knowing the choices are mine and mine alone.

Yes, LORD, I will stand my watch.

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.  Habakkuk 2:1Habakkuk 2:1
English: World English Bible - WEB

2 1 I will stand at my watch, and set myself on the ramparts, and will look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father please, help me today to accept where I am; to say “Yes!” to where Your sovereign hand has placed me. Help me to do everything I must do this day with peace in my heart, courage in my steps, and above all, Your love touching each act of obedience to Your will. LORD, you see how I struggle to hope and believe… help me today to face (one more time) what must be done. I confess my failures to You. Correct me for my good, and I will trust that You will step into my weakness with Your almighty strength and power. I watch for You alone.

Dearest Captive, He Sees You.

4-Woman-Writing-at-a-Table-naturalistic-Thomas-Pollock-Anshutz_edited

I begin to write these notes to you, with some reluctance, and not a little trepidation. You see, I am like you—a captive.

I write this, or should I say, I begin to write this in Habakkuk’s Vineyard. A difficult place. A barren place. A place “with no fruit on the vines.”

Tough stuff living in Habakkuk’s Vineyard.

Not for weaklings.

(But then you already know that.)

I just want to say one thing to you today: He sees you.

God knows where you are.

It may be a literal cell. The world may have actually labeled you “a prisoner,” but I have discovered that “prisons” come in all shapes and sizes.

Captivity is not necessarily limited to a one narrow room.

If you are caught in the vise of a diseased or broken body? You know what captivity is.

If you are buried under mountains of debt?

(You know.)

If your life has been sidelined by the caregiving of another who has no hope of recovery, you rise everyday to face the dawn of another day—captive.

Lifeless job? Loveless marriage? Our prison’s may be wide and varied. Yet, I have discovered that though our circumstances may differ? Our needs do not.

And I need to know today: He sees me.

God’s eyes are upon me.

One of my greatest needs, for though the world may forget me? God has promised me He will not.

“…He calls them all by name,”

(He calls you by name)

“…by the greatness of His might, and the strength of His power; not one is missing.”

(You’re not missing either—not to God)

He sees you. He sees me. Though the world, (even The Church) may have forgotten us? God does not! He knows all about it; our captivity.

He sees us.

(our tears)

He hears us.

(our sighs)

We are not “missing” in His accounting!

Take heart sweet captive. The Omnipotent Hand that led you into captivity?

(…you aren’t there by chance.)

He will “keep you” today.

“…by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power.”

(He sees you.)

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.  Isaiah 40:26Isaiah 40:26
English: World English Bible - WEB

26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these, who brings out their army by number; he calls them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power, not one is lacking.

WP-Bible plugin
NKJV

A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Father, please seal this promise to my heart today. I am so prone to: feeling forgotten. Remind me over and over again, that even if the world forgets me, You never will. Teach me today… just how much you love me.