Monday, August 20, 2007

When the safety net breaks

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Ezekiel 23, 24, 25 (NIV)

Ezekiel 24:15-16 (NIV)

15 The word of the Lord came to [Ezekiel]: 16 “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears.”

Proverbs 18:11-12 (NIV)

11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall. 12 Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.

Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV)

45 [Jesus said,] “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

Good morning!

What is your most valuable possession? Maybe you own a fine home, located on a secluded piece of property – a great place to get away and relax. Maybe your prize possession is a vintage automobile; something you have poured your life’s savings into. Its restoration and timeless beauty has brought you great personal joy. You may be a collector, a connoisseur of fine wine or food. Maybe your prize possession is a talent or gift – the love of art, cooking, sewing, creating things - tangible, visible works of love.

Many special gifts come in little packages – like diamonds or other precious stones. Maybe your prize possession is a little baby to love. We are all someone’s precious baby. Your family may very well indeed be your greatest treasure on earth.

Our nation has prided itself in providing a safe haven for its citizens. For several generations, we have enjoyed the privilege of security and freedom for our land. When the attack of September 11, 2001 occurred on American soil, the safety net we relied upon was raveled at its seam. Life took on a different meaning after the tragedy we experienced on that sad day.

God reminds us through the prophet Ezekiel that even our most valued possessions can be taken from us in the blink of an eye. We lose a loved one and the grief of that loss is overwhelming. The home that we’ve worked so hard to pay for is destroyed in a flood, fire, or marital collapse. The things we seem to place our pride in falls apart, and we wonder what happened. The security we felt confident in is somehow breached, and all of a sudden, we are left standing naked and exposed to the war around us. How could we lose something that meant so very much without even a warning? Were we warned and didn’t realize it? Is it possible that the prophet’s message has been given and we were simply too comfortable and satisfied to hear it?

Our greatest possession does not belong to us. We cannot buy it, earn it or barter for it. We don’t deserve it. The greatest possession we will ever know is the gift of grace, given through the love of God by Christ Jesus. He is the pearl of great price. The price tag is steep. Receiving Christ means repenting of our sins, the things that separate us from a perfect and holy God. It means we have to turn around and stop doing the things that may be bring us pleasure for a little while. The price comes in how we take the gift and use it. It may mean giving up a prized possession to help feed a starving soul in our city. Sometimes, we lose people we love because they just don’t understand why we would walk away from our comfortable settings and risk the unknown to introduce others to the Lord. The people we love most may reject us. And yet, there is only one pearl worth having. He is the only one that will never fade with time or change. His love cannot be snatched from us, no matter where we are or what we face.

God was preparing the people for a great loss. Beloved Jerusalem would be destroyed. The Lord asked Ezekiel to set the supreme example of faith. He instructed him to hold on and be strong, even when he faced a devastating personal loss. Have you lost something precious? If so, there is someone waiting to help you pick up the pieces and begin again. He will not leave you or forsake you, especially when life suddenly changes, and the delight of your eyes has all but disappeared.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: faith to hold onto the pearl of great price. Life can be tough. When we suffer loss, there is one who remains constant and faithful. He is worth pursuing at all costs. Do not let go of Jesus. He will free you from the sins of your past, love you through the hurts you face, and carry you home, even when the road is scary and unfamiliar. Jesus Christ is a safe haven. He will not ever let you go.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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