No Escape!

9 06 2010

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.  He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 10:17-18

Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds–his name is the LORD– and rejoice before him.  A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing.

Psalm 68:4-6

The scene is repeated in a myriad of movies and novels:  The villain rubs his hands together greedily as he looks upon his hopeless prisoner.  With dark eyes gleaming he cackles and laughs in the maniacal way that super-villains always do, “Heh, heh, yes, I have you now, and this time there is no escape!”

“No Escape!”  This is the oft repeated mantra of the real villain of villains—who, by the way, rarely comes to us as obviously as the silly bad guy in the movies.  The Enemy of our souls desires one thing:  to convince us that we are trapped and alone without any hope for rescue so that we will give up trusting in our heavenly Father and live a defeated life.  A life that advances the agenda of the kingdom of darkness more than it does God’s Kingdom.

We all have certain areas that Satan uses against us in order to convince us that we are trapped and alone.  Perhaps it is a major moral failure or colossal error in judgment, the consequences of which never seem to end.  Maybe it’s a sense of deep dissatisfaction with the career path you have chosen (or even the spouse you have chosen!).  The things our Enemy will use are plethora.  But the most common are the deep heart wounds we receive at the hands of our own family members, especially our parents.

These wounds are not limited to blatant verbal and physical abuse.  They may also come from a single unfortunate incident or from the unintentionally harsh words of a work-weary father, “Son, why are you always screwing this up—you’re hopeless!”.   And because all humans are broken and wounded creatures, truly no one escapes being hurt by those they love and trust the most.

Those wounds leave a lasting mark, and speak to our hearts lies that we come to believe and live out of.  And then we turn around and wound others out of our own woundedness.  Nice huh?!  And Satan enjoys every minute of our relational misery—a misery and frustration from which it truly seems there is no escape.

It too often feels that way for me.  I turn thirty-seven today, and I am fatherless.  My father never hurt me with his words or actions—because he never had a chance to.  He died before I was born and I never knew him.   Yet the wound he has left is large and gaping.  It is the wound of absence.  When a child longing to play ball, he was not there.  When a teen in need of a father’s firm guidance, he was not there.  Now an adult and a father myself I cannot seek his counsel or witness the joy in his eyes at the sight of his grandchildren.  It is a horrid wound, and I certainly feel like I will be trapped here for all time.  It is not true, I know—but convincing my heart of that seems impossible.

In many ways I should be thankful.  I do not have a father who hit me, or neglected me, or passed on to me his bad habits and addictions.  On the other hand, if he were still alive we might be reconciled and be able to seek the Kingdom together.  But he is not here and never has been and I feel utterly on my own without help or guidance.

That is the lie I struggle with daily—“you are on your own Rich and you’re gonna have to figure it out by yourself AND you better get it right the first time!”  And yes, more often than I even care to know about it, I believe and live out of that lie.  And yes, it is with disastrous results for me, my wife and children.

So when the Evil One gleefully rubs his hands together at the sight of my captivity, I have come to realize there are two powerful weapons at my disposal:  First, I do have a Father!  One who specializes in being a father to the fatherless.  Second, I have been rescued by my Father’s Son (yes, that makes Him my brother!) who shows me exactly what my Father is like and shows me how to live under His great love and strength.

The villain of villains becomes a little less gleeful, for as I escape his trap once again, he knows his doom has been sealed by the one who rescues me.

That’s my favorite part of the movie, by the way, when the bad guy gets taken out by the hero.  That’s the plot of all the tales we tell ourselves.  It’s also the plot of the Story of Stories found in Scripture.  It is written on our hearts and it is true.  Never doubt it.  There is escape!  There is hope!  Our Redeemer lives and He’s on His way even now. . .




One response

10 06 2010

Praise be to the Father of the fatherless! I love you.

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