The SWAMP!

 It all started way back with Adam.  He sinned and we all were in him; we all sinned and death came upon us all.

God is not the author of it; it isn’t His will.  It doesn’t always work out the way He wants.

But, He can redeem it and that means even the worst mess.

He doesn’t change it by turning it to the better way; He gives us a most miraculous way to die to the old and begin with a new life altogether.  He can take every abuse and abandonment/rejection and somehow work out of it a wonderful purpose in us that He delights in and which makes us rise to our created potential.  We’ll like it.  It isn’t possible to be too far gone.

I have a picture in my mind that has served me at times to see how to get out of the mess in this life.

I’ll tell this picture in first person because I am concerned that I’ll sound like I’m speaking negatively about the mess you are in and only you have the right to say that about yourself, not I.  I had better focus on my own journey.

 

So, here goes the picture:

I’m in the swamp.  It stinks; it is totally, disgustingly putrid.  I keep my head above “water” at times, at all times if possible, because it is worse than stagnant.  But, the bottom is uneven, slippery, with potholes and quicksand and whirlpools and I have often gone down and have inhaled the slimy stuff.  In the foggy mist over this swamp, I can’t tell which way to go to get out.  So, I have wandered aimlessly and yet at times thought I was purposeful in trying to get out, only to discover old familiar and disgusting places that once again I was revisiting.  On an old snag of a tree, killed by the swamp, there was vulture perched with a keen eye on me as a likely meal when my unavoidable demise should come.  I tried this way and that to get out but here I am again at the old snag and the vulture perched right there watching me flail and slip and go under and come up spewing.  (I hope you get the picture without my going on any more!)  Ok, now how does one get out of this mess?  There is a rope that I am told is fixed to the Rock beyond the boundary of this death-swamp.  The rope is offered to me and I pull it tight.  At times, I still slip, fall and sink and have thought I might as well give up, for nothing has really changed.  I still can’t see the way out.  I still suffer.  No good thing has come to me that says I am safe; I have no reason to hope . . . except . . . that the rope is attached to something and it holds firmly as I rely on it and pull it tight.  I may not be out of the swamp yet, but as I pull it tight and keep moving in that direction, I must be moving toward the edge, the way out.  At least I’m not going in circles.  It still stinks but I must be on the right track.  I’m still in the mess but I’m hopeful, purposeful, directed, intentional.  Well, once on the slippery bank, many a soul has been lost.  After so long a journey, the swamp is at least familiar if nothing else.  To walk on the dry ground and distance oneself from the old has proven too foreign a prospect and, once rescued from the depths of it, people leave the tether of the rope and begin to feel their way around again.  The slippery bank claims them and the vulture’s eye again brightens.

 

Nice picture huh?

 

Well actually, there is Scripture that fits this analogy and it goes on to talking about walking on solid ground more and more unto the perfect day.  It is as though the sunlight dries off all the scum and it flakes off and the cleansing rain and fresh water streams bathe us.  So the rest of the story is actually nice after all.

In short, God doesn’t remodel our brokenness and glue the fragments back together.

He makes us a new vessel altogether, a clean and holy one, worthy of His treasure which He places within.

That is the start of a new life, not a new start for an old life.

This is not a “pat” answer; it is the wisdom of God which He Himself says will appear as foolishness and weakness to people.  When we are desperate enough to realize our wisdom and power fall far short of saving ourselves, we will concede to go His way.

 

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