Friday, October 5, 2007

Out of the belly of hell cried I. . .

Reading today at lunch, very moved. . . memories flooding into my vision. . .

Jonah 2:1-10
Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spoke unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

Out of the belly of hell cried I. . . and thou heardest my voice. . .

How terribly achingly grateful I am for a living, loving God.

Out of the belly of hell cried I. . . and thou heardest my voice. . .

I never want to go back to my old life, but I must never forget the pain of it either.

Out of the belly of hell cried I. . . and thou heardest my voice. . .

I see too many who have lived for God for most of their life, for decades. . . wax cold and fall away. I was there too long. . . too many years to ever return.

Out of the belly of hell cried I. . . and thou heardest my voice. . .

The pitfall is to forget the pain. Healing is good, I am no longer what I was. . . not at all! But I fear that if I forget my history then I am destined to repeat it. . . I must remember. . .never ignore the scars. They are real. I cannot afford plastic surgery. The wounds, the lessons learned too expensive, for me too costly for makeup. The ugliness that made them is real, never to be covered up or disguised. They are my remembrance. The peril is to become so accustomed to the wonderful life I lead under the wings of God, that I heal so completely and forget. . . the pain, the junk, the trash, the fear, I cannot allow that former reality of life of being totally lost, to fade. . . the terror of being so completely alone. . .every point of the compass the same. . . night and day alike. . . no a.m., no p.m., a maze of gray. . . a rebirth. . . a new life into another world. . .now a mazing of grace. . .

Out of the belly of hell cried I. . . and thou heardest my voice. . .

No more! Never will I leave the path. This is no gentle mulch covered trail in a friendly woods with innocent explorations on every side. . . This is a high way, carved from the desolate and perilous wilderness. I cling to the way, no detours , no shortcuts. . . no compromise. . .I was at the bottom of the sea once, . . .never again. . .no one to blame. No one threw me overboard. I went willingly through the jaws of the fish, smiling. . .thinking myself so superior to fools who loved the Santa Clause born in a manger. . . to fools who worshipped the Easter Bunny hanging on a cross. . . never ever again. . .

Out of the belly of hell cried I. . . and thou heardest my voice. . .

I weep. . .I love you my God. I search for some hint of grudge, some shadow of reservation from you. There is none. The fatted calf is mine for the asking. . . The embrace is so very powerful and warm and deep. The welcome long and moist and genuine. . . pure love. . . Thank you for taking me back. Thank you for rescuing me. . .

For Out of the belly of hell cried I. . . and thou heardest my voice. . .

Thank you my God. . .

Dave

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