Have you ever had your home go up in flames? If you have, then you know what it was like.
A house fire.
Home is our safe place. It’s our sanctuary. It’s where we enjoy the company of the ones we love the most. Its where we keep our sacred things. Our mementos, our “objects of power.” The things that give us emotional strength. Its where we take care of our bodies needs. We nourish them, we clean them, we rest them there. We also invest the greatest amount of our time and resources into obtaining a home, furnishing it, making it comfortable.
To be without a home is to feel destitute, lost, powerless, exposed… naked.
And now you’re watching it go up in smoke. The complete and total transmutation of every tangible piece of evidence that you have of who and what you believe yourself to be… becoming little microscopic particles that are so light they float away in the air.
But the fire itself, is raging. The speed at which it dispatches the task of freeing you from everything you think you have and think you are, is awesome—like watching the finger of God explode it all with a roar like that of a thousand lions, and a heat that would tear your very spirit out of your flesh if you stand too close or try to save any piece of what you have had.
And there I stand, out on the hillside surrounding my home, watching it go up in flames—partially wishing I could rush into them, let them remove everything about me that isn’t true or doesn’t work. Wondering what would be left of me.
At least the ones I love the most have escaped the fire’s searing heat. They are safe from its destructive power… aren’t they?
Suddenly the sky darkening isn’t just from the billowing smoke that temporarily blots out the sun. Clouds are rolling in… fast. Deep black and charcoal grey clouds. Oh thank heavens!!! It’s the rain!
For a moment, you feel relieved that perhaps not everything in your life is going to be completely destroyed. Somehow, God has heard your inner plea to save at least something that you consider precious. Not all is lost.
Relief washes over you as quickly as the first few spatters of rain wash away smoke dust from your upturned face, drawing streaks and lines over the surface of your skin. Each cool drop brings a temporary relief from the heat building in your skin from standing too close to the fire.
The roar of the thousand lions starts to change, taking on an almost mechanical sound. It builds to a higher and higher pitch until it almost sounds like its screaming. You open your eyes to see the air around you tinged a yellowish green… but its not from the fire.
Oh no… deep dread begins to fill you and you can feel every hair on your body prickle and stand on end with the thought… the realization… of what this is.
This is not just a house fire, darkening the sun and whipping the wind around you.
You slowly turn around to face the source of the new mechanical screaming sound that is merging with the deep roar of the fire behind you only to look over the horizon into the swirling chaos of a five-mile wide tornado. Its tearing apart everything in its path, and its moving directly towards you.
Suddenly flaming boards from the house and sections of wall start flying in all directions.
The fire alone you might have survived… but this?
There is no use denying it… there is no way you’re going to survive this tornado. Nothing about it makes sense. It’s useless to fight it. You are absolutely nothing compared to its awesome fury.
Just the realization that thee darkening clouds, the wind, and the rain wasn’t the assistance from God you had once thought it was… the evidence of His approval… His love for you.
This was the opposite of love. This was vengeance and wrath. For a moment I stood there, looking at the tornado, wondering what I had done to displease God so terribly that He would feel the need to destroy me and everything about me with such ferocity. My mind flashed back running through every moment of my life, searching for anything and everything I had ever done, said, or thought that combined, might give me some understanding of why this was happening, but I could not come up with a thing. I was at a loss.
I had spent my entire life trying to do God’s will. I didn’t have sex before marriage. I went to church every Sunday. I did my best to love my neighbor. I tried to do everything my parents wanted. I just couldn’t think of any reason why God would want to destroy me… but face to face with my own destruction, I had no other choice but to believe that such a thing had in fact occurred.
It’s like having run out of this blazing inferno, thinking you’ve gotten out with you the most important things… yourself and your loved ones only to realize you’ve run out of the only place that might have protected you as you sit in the path of a five-mile wide tornado thundering down upon you.
Like an Act of God. He doesn’t just want you gone… He’s going to make sure it’s painful.
That’s what my life has felt like for the last 15 years.
Absolutely helpless to stop the ongoing destruction of everything and everyone I loved… and there was NOTHING I could do to stop it. Every effort was not only futile, but appeared to make the situation worse. Nothing helped. No one could stop what was happening.
How did my life come to this?