Waiting on the Hill
I have been broken. I have been beaten down. I have been crushed... bruised... persecuted. I have been in despair... so deep in despair that I could not find my way out of the muck that I am stuck in. How did I find myself there? How did I allow this to happen? How have I fallen so low? For many months, I have been struggling with my faith in the world and with people—and their lies the problem! I have let my circumstances dictate the show. I have let the cruelty of the world and the betrayal of the church, the government and people in general run my life.
How many out there in the lands feel as I do?
It is true—I call myself a Christian. I have put my faith in God and still I find myself with all these questions and pains, however, why have I not relied on God to bring be the peace I so desire to have? The main problem lies within me. I have allowed this world to bring me to a place that I do not know. With all that I have gone through I look to the story of the Prodigal Son. I have qualities of both of these brothers. What I have written above is testament of the search of the younger brother — to what my life has been. I also have been the brother who says: Father, I have been faithful to you all these years and yet my brother has received what I have so much desired to have.
Over the past few writings that I have shared with you, I have written about the Armor of God. As mighty as it is, when in the hottest part of the battle it becomes cracked and marred. My sword becomes dull and my arm weary from constant use. I fight, and fight and fight some more until the battle has taken its toll on me. And, I ask myself "why?".
The answer is simple: I have fought alone. I have not returned to the Master Blacksmith for the mending of my armor. I need my armor to be reformed, I need my sword to be re-sharpened. The tool of my warfare wears with use and the battle—as we know never stops—and I, in my pride and arrogance, want to never stop fighting also. But, the opposite is true, we need time to rest in Him Who can give us the rest we need. We need time to be healed - repaired - from the enemy's attacks and we need time to be placed in His tower of solitude. That is what I have lacked as of late. I have not found solace in God’s eternal grace. I have not found peace in these many months of war because I have not gone to God for those things.
As in conventional warfare, there are times of rest and cease fire, but in this war against the principalities and the powers—there is no rest, there is no time of peace. From the time that I have come from the womb, I have been bombarded by the evil and sinful ploys of the adversary of all our lives. And, until I draw my last breath, I will be constantly on guard against the dreaded lord of darkness—his only task is to torment his Creator. Even the strongest of fathers will be tormented by an attack on his children and God is our Father, and He is pained by every action or inaction that we make. The day Christ allowed Himself to be crucified, He took on the sins of the world—the sins from the dawn of humanity and the very last sin that will be committed when He returns. And, each and every sin is another thorn in His brow.
It is true, the battle is fierce and tremendously treacherous—but we are not alone. We need to be in that place among the swine. We need to feed with them and suffer to realize what we are missing. When we find ourselves in that place of depression and torment we often sink deeper in despair because we often think we can pull ourselves out of the hole. We often think that whatever we are going through will “just go away.” But that is a lie. We cannot pull ourselves up from where the enemy puts us. We can only be pulled up from the tombs of death by the One Who defeated death—our only part is to reach up and take His hand.
He is waiting on the hill, as the father was in the parable of the Prodigal Son. He is waiting patiently for us to return from our travels afar — searching the horizon for us and when He sees us, He will run to us and welcome us back - joyful in our return --- for once we were lost and now we are found, once we were dead but now we are alive.
We all wander from the presence of God. We all get lost in the midst of the battlefield and we wonder why we cannot find our way back home. The truth is that our sanctuary is always there and it never falls. Our place of refuge never falls to enemy attack and never gets taken over. He is always there and He is always waiting.
The battles we fight never cease to exist. The battles we fight get harder and more intense the closer we get to home because the enemy does not want us to reach there. The closer we get to Christ, the harder life becomes—it just gets easier to deal with. It does not seem like it most days, but when I look back at all I have endured and all that I have suffered I see God’s divine hand in all of my life. I see the grace that I have had. And, I see the grace that I am going to have in the future. When times are hard—we need to rely on Christ’s strength to help us stand. When circumstances hurt us we need to ask God for His understanding of the situation. When we are crushed and broken we need to ALLOW God to mend our broken hearts.
Most who have experienced God—a deep and personal understanding of Christ—know what it means to have Him in our lives. Most people who go to church and call themselves Christians are farthest from it. Some rely on money, some on political positions in the churches and governments, some on their own prowess and power—it is some of these things that they call their gods. Without Christ we can do nothing. Without His grace we are doomed. Without His blessings we will remain stagnant and unmoving. We need to move forward.
Sometimes we stand still. Sometimes we move backward. Sometimes we are forced to the right or left side—but, know and understand that Christ is there with us through it all and when the rug gets pulled out from underneath us we need to be ready to stand and fight again.
Our Father is waiting for us to make the choice. Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house we shall serve the Lord.
This is a wonderful story about Rembrandt's masterpiece "The Prodigal Son Returns" as told by a man turned Catholic priest in his personal journey to see the actual painting and the inspiration and symbolism behind it.