Guest Post: “Look with compassion on my ruins, Lord”
Look With Compassion On My Ruins, Lord
by Stephanie Nelson
The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
It has been called an engineering marvel that was designed to hold nearly 75,000 seats. Commissioned in 70 A.D. as a gift to the Roman people, the Roman Colosseum is 513 feet wide by 620 feet long, and stands 157 ft tall. It is the largest amphitheater ever built in the Roman Empire. It was impressive. Over the course of 650 years of battles, one in every five to ten games resulted in death. The Colosseum has suffered severe weather, natural disasters, neglect, and vandalism. Today, only one-third of the original structure is still standing. For over a thousand years, the Colosseum was completely abandoned. (http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/colosseum)
Like the Colosseum, I have a past.
We all do.
Have you ever gone back to your past and searched through the ruins?
What do you think you would find?
Over the past few months, God has encouraged me on this journey. I didn’t think I had the courage. I thought I would crumble under the pressure of it all. But Jesus, in His compassion and mercy, has walked this journey with me. Together, we walked hand in hand and searched through the ruins. We dug through the rubble to find the secrets hiding in my past—things that I had forgotten, denied, or was too afraid to confront.
Bloody battles. There were relationships in my past that had left me beaten and bruised, wounded and afraid. I thought I had lost, but, Jesus showed me His purpose. He reminded me that the battle is the Lord’s. He showed me that the victory is in His hands, and that I was free to partake in it (2 Chronicles 20:15).
Neglect. Vandalism. There were times in my life when I felt that God had forgotten me. I felt so far from God that I wasn’t sure He remembered me. So, I neglected Him. I let my prayer life become sporadic. During these times, the enemy wrote lies on my heart. After awhile, I began to believe them. Over time, I couldn’t remember the truth from the lies. Slowly and sweetly, Jesus began to whisper the truth in my ear. I had forgotten how sweet His truths were. I had lived under the ugliness of the enemy’s lies for too long. I had become bitter. But, God revealed himself to me as Jehovah Rapha, the Lord my healer, who makes the bitter waters sweet (Exodus 15:22-26). Each day, as I lift praises up to my God, He whispers these truths to me. I have found that when I am full of the sweet truths of God, there is no room for the robbing lies of the enemy.
Disaster. I have seen terrible loss in my life. Tragedy so overwhelming that it used to steal my breath away at the thought of it. This grief was so consuming that it held me in a state of pity and hopelessness. This was the rubble that I was most afraid to search through. The thought of reliving this wound was too hard. I resisted. I procrastinated. I made excuses. Jesus is such a gentleman. He waited patiently, until I was ready to explore these ruins. I asked questions. He answered. I cried. He comforted. In the end, I gave it to Him. He took it. (1 Peter 5:7)
Alone, I couldn’t bear to face the regrets, mistakes, loss, and shame that kept me from becoming the woman God designed me to be. But, with Jesus, I have found a confidence that I never thought possible. I have found strength that used to live only in my dreams.
The Lord has looked with compassion on my ruins. He has given me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). Today, I walk in joy and gladness. Thankfulness drips from my lips like honey. The sound of singing dances in my heart again. I am alive.
I encourage you to take a walk with Jesus. Search through the ruins of your past. Let him lead you through this journey. Let Him look with compassion on your ruins. Let him be your Jehovah Rapha. This is where true healing begins.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3396000850″>Part of Colosseum</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>