Thursday, July 28, 2011

Under Seige...

Have you ever felt you were under siege by something or someone? It could be a disease, a financial situation, a situation at work or a disability. According to Web Dictionary, siege is defined as:
  1. A military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside
    1. Verdun had withstood a siege of ten weeks
    2. Siege warfare
  2. A similar operation by a police or other force to compel the surrender of an armed person
  3. A prolonged period of misfortune
    • I've been having a siege of headaches
Well, I've been going through what has felt like a financial siege with no end in sight. I have felt desperate at times, although not as desperate as some individuals have been in history.

Yesterday and this morning my Bible readings have been from 2 Kings 6 and 7. These were some rough times for Israel. Their kings were wicked and had led them astray, which caused God to allow surrounding nations to attack them in an effort to draw them back to God. This was also during Prophet Elisha's time.

At the end of Chapter 6, in verse 24, the story begins by saying, "Afterward Benhadad king of Syria gathered his whole army and went up and besieged Samaria (the Capital of Israel), 25 And a great famine came to Samaria. They besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth of a kab of dove's dung [a wild vegetable] for five shekels of silver." (Amplified Translation).

The story continues with the telling of two women who were so desperate that they made an agreement to give up their sons to each other to be boiled and eaten. One of the women calls out to the King of Israel for help because they had boiled and eaten her son the day before and the other woman had now hidden her son and wouldn't give him up to be boiled and eaten. The king rent his clothes and called for the beheadment of the Prophet Elisha, blaming him for the siege and famine, since he was a prophet of God.

The story seem unbelievable to me and sickening and it is sickening. What these two women, and maybe others were doing to just survive, is beyond my comprehension, thankfully. Well the story continues...

God reveals to the Prophet Elisha that the king has sent his messenger before him to behead Elisha. We pick this up in verse 32, "Now Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him [to behead Elisha]. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, See how this son of [Jezebel] a murderer is sending to remove my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold it fast against him. Is not the sound of his master's feet [just] behind him? 33 And while Elisha was talking with them, lo, the messenger came to him [and then the king came also]. And [the relenting king] said, This evil is from the Lord! Why should I longer wait [expecting Him to withdraw His punishment? What, Elisha, can be done now]?" (Amplified Translation).

Elisha then went on to give the king a message from God. Chapter 7, verse 1, "Then Elisha said, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord, Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will sell for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria!" (Amplified Translation).

The story goes on to tell how this happened the next day, how God brought about the ending of the siege on Samaria.

There were two significant lessons in this for me today, which I took note of even in my emotional and spiritual misery.
  1.  How sad that those two women didn't wait two more days! The one woman never gave up her son, but the one who had given her son to be boiled and eaten had to live with the knowledge that not only did she commit a horrible crime/sin, but if she had only waited 2 or 3 more days, her son would still be alive. The Bible doesn't say what happened to the woman who gave up her son, but I would have felt like killing myself in horror at what I had done, if I was that woman. I would have felt just as bad, if not worse as the other woman who had helped to eat the son.

    The Lesson: Desperation at the situations in life, whether brought on by our own doing or the doings of others, is not worth committing a crime/sin (although I have to admit that I've been extremely difficult to live with this week and have been hateful and irritable with my brothers, a sin in its own right.).
  2. God can change things around in a day (a week, an hour, whatever time period). The siege can end at any time. One day two women were agreeing to boil and eat their sons because of the siege/famine in Samaria, but the next day, they all had all the food they wanted.

    The Lesson: The siege may be the hardest thing you will ever go through, endure. Given time and at the right time, God will end the siege and turn things around. My part is to hang in there and endure to the end of the siege, even if it kills me literally.
I am praying and hoping the siege will end soon and I believe it will. I believe that God was telling me that the siege will be over very soon, just as the Bible reading talked about the ending of the siege. In talking with one of my sisters tonight, I realized that this area of "provision" is where I had rebelled at the age to 16. I had said, "If this is the way God is, I don't want any part with Him." I plead with God to forgive me for being so foolish; I had no idea what I was saying and have no desire to rebel like that again.

It's interesting (and more painful than my Dad's dying, I'm sorry to say) that I'm now being tested in the exact same way and manner as I had been then. Although it is horribly painful to me emotionally, I no longer want to turn away in anger and rebellion. I just want to get through it and not verbally and emotionally "destroy" my brothers in the process. I would rather not become homeless and thankfully, due to my sister and brother-in-law offering to help with the balance I need to pay rent, my rent will get paid in August. As far as the remaining financial issues I am experiencing, as in possible loss of car, phone, electric, gas, water, etc., I hope that God will provide the means to pay these through work or whatever, but I know that no matter what happens, I have and will continue to choose God. Just as Job said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15, NKJV).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Enduring the tough times...

It has been a while since I've posted on the site here. Mostly because life has been too hard and depressing to handle actually writing about it. I'm depressed again today, but for some reason am feeling a need to write about it anyways.

It's been difficult to emotionally deal with the negative situations in my life, particularly since there doesn't seem to be much I can do about them (I am doing all that I can to change the situation, but so far nothing has changed yet). The most difficult part of my situation is the lack of income, lack of money to pay even the basics like rent, electric, gas, phone, car payment, auto insurance, etc. I don't know what I'm going to do. The reality is that if God doesn't intervene this next week, I may lose everything and be on the street, homeless and without a car. Not a pleasant thought.

Another situation I'm facing is having to deal with emotions that have come up after about 45 years! Didn't think I was going to have to deal with this again, but here it is. When I was a kid, around 5 years of age, our family lived in Illinois. We had some really rough times in Illinois and I have very few good memories from that time. One of the rough times we went through triggered a serious anger issue in me towards God and my parents. Pure hatred in fact. I can recognize now that I didn't feel taken care of because we had nothing left to eat in the house, except potatoes and turnips, which my stomach couldn't tolerate. Even though I was a young kid, I realize now that I felt neglected and uncared for, unprotected by my parents and by God and I became very angry. I don't really remember getting angry at that time, but I must have, because after growing up more, I would feel deep-seated anger and bitterness towards God and my parents every time I felt poor. I hated God and my parents for making my life miserable and not taking care of me as I felt they should have!

On top of my anger towards God and my parents, I also felt deep-seated anger towards my brothers for the abuse I experienced from them and for their total disregard for cleanliness and good manners. I hated them for it, for making me feel like I was growing up in a pigsty with a bunch of wallowing pigs!

This anger has permeated my whole life and has been so destructive to me as an individual, both emotionally and spiritually. I've struggled to love others, particularly men, and I've always trusted money more than God, another destructive result of the anger.

And now, wouldn't you know, God has me back in an almost exact same type of situation, except this time the lack of money is my own stupidity for listening to DU and not forcing them to fire me and I have plenty of food so far, since I've been able to get food stamps at least through the end of July. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same because two of the brothers, Tom and JD, who I felt such anger towards are living with me. The third one, Martin, passed away in 2009. Although JD has been fairly well trained in cleanliness around food by my friend Chris and me during the past year of all of us living together, my other brother still has a long ways to go. This afternoon, I went to get the tub of butter out of the fridge and the lid and sides of the butter tub were covered with various food pieces and auto grease. It was soooooo gross and it brought up all of the old feelings of anger and bitterness towards my brothers for acting like we live in a barnyard.

Well, I don't want to hold onto the anger this time. I want to let it go and not let it permeate my whole life. I am asking God to help me to forgive my parents, Him, and my brothers and help me to let it go emotionally and spiritually. Yes, I can also request that my brother wash his hands in the future before touching any food items and keep reminding him as long as I have to until he finally gets the message, but just having to face the yuckiness and stupidity of this situation today, when everything is such a struggle to face anyways has almost been too much!

But Lord, here I am. I'm still going to trust that You love me and care for me and that You will help me turn things around when the time is right. Thank You for Your grace and mercy and Your faithfulness. Amen.