He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food. Job 36:16 (NIV)
The Jaws of Distress – The Distress Series – Part 2
Recently I sat in the bowels of India, watching a woman who was deeply distressed. Her house, which consisted of a few pieces of wood and a misused water canister, were being thrown on the back of a rubbish truck, as the government was clearing away the pavement dwellers from their streets. I hid my camera away, ashamed of the spectacle that was gathering and I sat in the gutter with her as she sobbed.
“My house, my house, I have lived on this spot for the last fifty years. My house, my house, it is all I have.“
The discomfort of not being able to solve her distress was the most awkward experience of my last season. I wanted to sit with her as well and sob, I wanted to get sackcloth and ashes and despair with her. However, I know that this response would have embarrassed our hosts. I wished I had the courage to just sit with her and hold her in the midst of her distress.
See, our world is aching. Our world is hungry. Our world is shouting, and our world throbs with despair, but we think the answer is money, technology or another house. I am learning however that the table laden with choice food like “Peace, Patience, Long-suffering, and Joy” await us when we sit and feel, we accept and listen, we reach out and have no answers.
Your petitioning and protesting, your social media yelling and politicking don't do anything for me, when you refuse to sit within the jaws of distress with me. You see, it feels very uncomfortable when you first start to see with eyes from another's point of view. It feels very uncomfortable when you listen to actually hear rather than respond. It is very deeply uncomfortable when you realize the gospel you have been preaching sounds much more like the Pharisees than Jesus.
The spacious place awakens within you when you realize that there is so much more grey in our gospel than black and white. The breadth of compassion and care comes in floods when you realize that those who were once blind can now see. The heart that enlarges to allow another to think very different to you, yet you accept them as a brother anyway.
This is the call of the hidden way.
This is the heart of those who seek his path.
To sit in the filth of the discomfort of pain knowing that the only person who can fill the void that exists is Jesus.
And He often sets the table before us in the midst of our enemies.
His specialty often arises in very humble places.
Do you feel distressed?
Are you seeking resolution?
He is calling you into a spacious place, one full of rich and choice food but often it looks very different to the picture that has been so well promoted. The space that is found in deep communion with the One who has felt everything we feel.
“Out of my deep anguish and pain I prayed, and God, you helped me as a Father. You came to my rescue and broke open the way into a beautiful and broad place.” Ps 118:5 (TPT).
Written by Amanda Viviers.
Amanda is an author, speaker, and creative coach. Her latest book “Dear Single Self” is available at amandaviviers.com