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Looking for a Refuge

Looking for a Refuge  (Rev. 12)

A desert is usually a place of loneliness and hardship, a wilderness.  Rarely is there water, rarely a sign of life.  In early Christianity, the so-called desert fathers lived as monks in the desert for many years, sometimes for the rest of their life.  They had to fight a lonely battle with themselves.  The enemy—no robbers and looters, for there was nothing to rob or loot—was the army of demons they were confronted with.

Although in our time we don’t normally live in such lonely places, our cities often have the nature of deserts: a dead world, built up of stone.  In these modern deserts everyone is thrown back onto himself—in our time more than ever.  “Everyone for himself…” is the part of the old saying that we hear around us in every possible version.  Strangely enough the second part of the saying is usually lacking: “…and God for us all.”

There is no other way—we all have to find our own individual path through the desert.  But loneliness is not only inevitable; it is also necessary in order to form a strong, autonomous I.  Our desert is the world in which we live.  The dragon in our desert is the inhumanity with which we are confronted day in day out.  Is there a place of refuge, or do we only have to stand up until we fall?  Can we, like the woman in the desert, develop wings to flee to a safe place?

Our wings are made by the strength of our prayer.  Recently, a well known physician expressed this idea in everyday language with the words: “The most powerful medicine against depression is prayer: it lifts up the soul.”  Indeed, every true prayer, every real meditation, gives wings to the soul, so that we can find a spot where we can take shelter—a spot that was prepared for us by God.

This does not mean that it frees us from the opposing power, on the contrary.  But every true prayer brings us to a place where the Spirit assists us, helping us to remain upright in our lifelong struggle—lonely, but not alone.

 

–Rev. Bastiaan Baan, October 18, 2020

2 replies
  1. Avatar
    Johanna Geers says:

    This is not so nice! This is not an easy message! But it is true….However sometimes a depression can be so deep that it is not possible to pray or to meditate. Not in the way as usual!! And that is okay! For that moment…

    Loneliness …..not being alone……As long as we only feel the loneliness…..it’s devastating. It is an inward death! Nothing but thàt! You feel betrayed….by the people you love! And more…..Until…….after weeks, after years, sometimes after a long life, the moment càn come that you know in your heart!!…I am ……not alone… I am!! Thàt moment is a Mystery. In thàt moment the loneliness is gone!! Any hostile feeling disappears. Love appears!! The beginning of a new life …in the old age!!!

    It happened to me. Thanks to God…..and to some people in my life! They left me alone in my loneliness! I felt betrayed. Now I know that this was the only way to find myself….the “I am”!

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  2. Avatar
    George Michael Payne says:

    I suspect that depression can come from wanting and praying for things that we ought not to, then becoming depressed because either we cannot get what we want, or we get it and it was not all we expected it to be. Here is a prayer I wrote for that occasion, spoken from the voice of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is easy to be grateful when everything is going your way, and much more difficult when it is not — but, if you are, then anything else you receive thereafter is a bonus instead of from a perspective that you are still in the negative. Without gratitude, your message to God is that it is not providing well enough for you and carries an inference that it needs to get on the ball and provide more. It seems an unlikely response on the part of God to do so thus resulting in even more depression. God gives to those who have, and this prayer shifts you from a ‘have-not,’ to a ‘have.’ The only difference is gratitude.

    * * *

    THE “ETERNALLY YOURS” GRATITUDE PRAYER

    “Thank You Jesus,
    For forging me between thy hammer and thy anvil,
    for the loss, the trials, the challenges and the obstacles,
    for all of those which were, those which are, and those which shall come to be,
    for teaching me that your plan for me is greater than my earthly wants,
    for knowing my needs, of both my body and my eternal soul,
    and for putting the care of my soul first, and my mortal life thereafter,

    Thank You Jesus,
    for feeding my soul with thy word, and my mouth with daily bread,
    for teaching me which order of these is right, and which is wrong,
    for showing me what is important, and what is not,
    for teaching me that righteousness does not flow from my own wants,
    for reminding me that all of my needs are provided for by you,
    as I become yours, and as you become mine,

    Thank You Jesus,
    for helping me find my way, that I may not be lost,
    for taking my hand and heart to lead me, as other roads only lead to eventual regret and pain,
    for not surrendering me over to the false-light-God,
    who serves me by granting my ‘want prayers,’ thus relinquishing my relationship with Christ.
    for helping me from making the same mistakes again, and to take responsibility instead of blame,
    for teaching me that it is I who serve you as my master, and not you who are here to serve me,

    Thank You Jesus,
    for forgiving me, as I let go of my grudges against all others who I blame for my pain,
    for putting myself first ahead of others, knowing that righteous receiving occurs only as I give,
    for the judging of others, and for not accepting the role you have given to me as mine alone,
    for not understanding that the roles you have given to others, is beyond my duty to command,
    for defiling myself with my words, through lies, deception, false witness, and cursing God,
    thus in so doing, my mouth in turn blocks my ears from hearing your truth,

    Thank you Jesus,
    for forgiving my lack of trust in your love, as I believed my decisions were better than yours,
    for being perfect and having no sin nor having committed any wrongs,
    but falling short in doing right to others as Christ has given me to do,
    I turned away from helping the sick, the destitute, the poor, the imprisoned, and the needy,
    and in so doing I have turned away from loving Christ,
    for the anger I have felt for you Christ, when you have not answered my prayers,
    for condemning you for a crime I myself am guilty of,
    by of not yielding to the prayers for help that others have asked of me,
    for seeking restitution after I was wronged, for two wrongs do not make a right,
    for failing to give more to a thief when I was stolen from,
    thus forsaking one of Christ’s spiritual gifts to me as I chose a material reward instead,
    and for the betrayal of my fellow human beings, you, your eternal father, and of myself,

    Thank You Jesus,
    for allowing me to receive my needs in kind, as I give unto the needs of others,
    for opening my eyes and ears to your wisdom, that I may know wise words to speak as well,
    for smoothing the road ahead of me, such that challenges may be overcome,
    for shouldering my burdens with me, so that I toil not alone,
    for opening the door that leads into a righteous life, in right relation with others and with you,
    for the milk and honey waiting for me there in the promised land, my spirit I commend unto thee,

    Thank You Jesus,
    for saving my soul, an eternal life is valued by me,
    for healing my soul, that I may heal others in kind,
    for mending my heart, it was not where it ought to be,
    for filling my life with love, where once was no more than a bottomless hole,
    and for returning the love I am giving to you, by truly adhering to the Sermon on The Mount.

    Thank you Jesus,
    for teaching me how to pray, to be, and to love,
    I pray these things not as a request,
    but out of my eternal gratitude instead,
    from and through, my pain, my life, and my soul,
    eternally yours,
    Thank you Jesus, for giving me everything I need.

    By George Michael Payne, Minister of Healing October 25, 2020

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