I've come to the end of myself so many times, and there is a place where the path gives way and plummets. I've scratched and clawed my way, and some days it feels like I'm just dangling by the root of some twisted sapling growing along the sheer edge of a cliff. The creator of the atomic bomb, when he first saw that billowing mushroom of his work, gasped, "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." There are days I hear the echo of that phrase. There is a whisper that I bring more pain than good, it grows to a shout in my mind, a confirmation of the deepest treason of the heart, and once I arrive at that station, I step from the train into a cave of such bitter sorrow. I see the caboose man, waving his lantern to the engineer. I hear the racking of the wheels upon the tracks as the engine lurches the boxcars forward, and I stand alone. The flame begins to ebb away, and the light no longer makes the darkness flee. The oxygen is robbed and the matches are wet.
That cavern is my hell. Most days I can stand at the entrance where the daylight still casts down on my face, but always I can hear the lion within, a deep growl of condemnation, accusation from the bowels of that darkness that tells me my enemy is crouching within, just beyond where I can see, hidden in the refuge of the shadows, hungry and ready to pounce. I become my own worst enemy, and there is no benefit as yet I can see in spreading such disease in communion with another. How could it possibly help to share such a teaspoon of poison?
There is only this:
I read Paul's words, and I see that God is giving me
the antidote of such a prison.
"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
Only let us hold true to what we have attained."
My heart hears this song, and then the gates are flung open! Maybe I'll walk free for a day, maybe I'll breathe the fresh air instead of the stale? Maybe I will be light again, weightless upon this earth as my spirit bounds again to the Everest-heights as I drink in the cup of the Lord.
Maybe through this crushing crucible there will be a seasoning.
Maybe they will taste and see that the Lord is good? Can sweetness come from such sorrow?
Maybe, but only if I choose to let the chains fall.
They are around my feet and hands, but they are not padlocked to my soul. They are not even restraining me. The truth is it is I who is holding on to them. I have only to open my hands and receive.
I read a little more...
"There is therefore now no condemnation....for those who are in Christ Jesus."
"If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential order of God for you is a hard time of difficulty, go through with it....You must go through the crucible before you have any right to pronounce a verdict, because in the crucible you learn to know God better. God is working for His highest ends until His purpose and man's purpose become one." ~Chambers