I was summoned so I appeared. I stood in front of a panel of judges. Most I considered my friends, my fellow soldiers. There were those, however, who were bent on my destruction.
False accusation flew at me cutting through the air like a snake tongue searching for its next prey. I opened my mouth in defence. The General sternly warned me to remain silent. As each new lie made its way through the air I felt the ripping of a cat-o'-nine-tails as it landed on me. I was stripped bare and encased in a tomb of silence.
Later, when I was alone in the prison cell, I found my voice. I turned it on the One who promised to be with me, to never leave me. I became the accuser and He, the object of my wrath.
"You promised! You said You would never leave me!" My voice cried out in raging fury, all the pent up hurt needing an outlet. "I trusted You! How could You let this happen? All those lies! My friends, my fellow soldiers." I broke. Finally the tears took over where words and thoughts were too painful to form. The wailing lasted for the duration of the night.
Unsympathetically, the sun rose bright and fair. Sunbeams penetrated through the barred window and reached my teary face. I felt the warmth, the promise of spring, but I was not yet through with my ice cold woundedness. I turned over on the bare cot, hiding my face from the light. Bitterness took over where anger had evacuated.
"I knew You were too good to be true. I knew one day You would let me down, just like everybody else. What a fool I've been. What an utter fool!" Against my wishes I breathed. At least I could continue my rant. "I gave You my life and now what? How is this imprisonment ever going to work into Your 'master plan'?" I whined. Wishing no answer to penetrate my own wracked mind I put my meagre pillow over my head and lulled myself into another fitful sleep.
A body can only maintain limited unconsciousness without the aid of drugs. I awoke. The day had moved from morning to afternoon. The sun continued to shine faithfully. Resignation replaced ranting.
I replayed the courtroom encounter over and over in my mind. I could see that if only I was allowed to speak, all would be different. I, the innocent, would be free, while the true guilty ones, would be here. Where was the justice? I got up off the cot and flung my fist to the Heavens. I began to demand vindication using His own Word against Him.
" 'Don't worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.' Yeah, right!" I snidely remarked.
" 'Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.' Is this Your definition of prospering? Here in the dark, alone, falsely accused? 'Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desires.' I don't remembering having this on my wish list!" I sneered.
" 'Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.' What have I not committed to You? When have I not trusted You? 'He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.' Anytime now, Lord!" I scoffed.
My mocking words boomeranged off the stone walls surrounding me. They hit me like a shock wave from an atomic bomb. The destructive power of their poison punched the air out of my lungs. I collapsed, the fight out of me for the moment.
"Lord, I want to trust You. I need to believe in You. Help my unbelief." I gasped seeking life not just breath for the next onslaught of righteous indignation. As I did Life came. Life spoke.
"Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose you temper- it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity."
Tears of repentance came. I tried to be still but I wasn't quite sure He had seen all that had happened or heard all that was said. " 'The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance.'"
I thought I heard a chuckle. " Yes, 'But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.'" was the reply.
"Father, 'The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right.'"
With eternal patience, like a father teaching a little child, He answered again, "But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken."
I let Truth speak. Truth to set me free from my way of thinking, my understanding of freedom, my need for recognition, my voice of reasoning. Truth showed the Way.
"Lord, You are good and Your love lasts forever. I give up my rights, my thoughts, my ways for Your Way. Come and show me the Way."
Peace came. The promised, precious Peace that transcends my reality. I allowed it space to cover me, to envelope me, to restrict me, to entwine its very self with me. I became freer within the walls of stone than I ever experienced in the wide world.
Soon the doors of the prison opened. I was released. I have returned to my unit. Once more I do battle next to my fellow soldiers. And though some may still believe me to be a criminal it doesn't matter. I walk in the Way, I listen to the Truth and I have pledged to live the Life.
Psalm 37:1-15, New Living Translation.
Terry R A Eissfeldt
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