” Look, O Lord,
For I am in distress; my stomach churns;
my heart is wrung within me,
because I have been very rebellious.
In the street the sword bereaves; i
n the house it is like death”
Falling down in life must be followed by falling to our knees.
In this day and age, it is a rare thing for people to be willing to take responsibility when things go wrong in life. This isn’t to say that things DON’T happen that are outside of our control, but we like to think that everything is outside of our control. We are just helpless victims of circumstance, we were born this way, we can’t help it. And what this kind of attitude creates is equal parts apathetic, attention seeking, and aggressive. We don’t care about our own end in our walk in life with God. When things go wrong, it’s always because of some other source other than ourselves. We sound like Jerusalem in the beginnings of this book. “Look at me, look at me, and see what the Lord has done to me, I have nothing!” is the cry of the desolate city for the first two chapters. We seek pity and comfort from those around us-that surely, these things aren’t MY fault, that life is just cruel and hard and it’s just best to live for myself and do what makes ME happy. Then, when we have those few people who are willing to call us out on some things we need to change, we become very aggressive, defending our “goodness” and that the other person is just hateful, or wrong, or both.
Where are the heart cries? The late nights, the yelling and pleading and earnestly seeking some answer as to what’s going on? Because even with all of her lamenting, Jerusalem says one recurring theme that is correct; “I have been very rebellious (v. 20)”and again, “The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against His word; (v. 18)”.
Even though she still is seeking comfort, Jerusalem gets it. She brought this fall upon herself, and now she cries out to God to hear her in the midst of a horrible time in life. That is a place we need to get back to. That, when we fall down, and our choices lead to some pretty heavy consequences, that we don’t try to rationalize it or ignore it or blame others. We cry out. We tell God, truly, how we feel. And we admit our need for Him. We admit that we are messed up, torn apart, desolate, ravaged by the choices we have made, and cry out.
Again, this isn’t to say that every time we mess up, God is striking us down. Or that every bad situation is tied to something we did or thought or said. But when we sin, sometimes we do experience consequence to that sin. Instead of running from it, we need to own up to it and continually be leaning into our Lord.
God, bring me to a place where my heart cries out for you. Break me down if need be, but help me to see my eternal need for You and You alone. Help me not to put blame elsewhere for the consequences of my sinful actions, but to see and admit that I have rebelled against You. Teach me, keep me, and help me to learn how to pray.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.