OCTOBER 24, 1996
Westlake Village, CA
Edited, September 24, 2008
"For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.." (Job. 3:25).
Chapter Five, Verse Five
So many of our friends have given us emotional support during these tough times we're going through. One of them, Jeri Fox, has been faithful to write us her mystical insights into what I've written, each time I send her my journal entries. She has clearly seen our struggles for what they really are: wrestling with God. When Jacob literally wrestled with the angel of the Lord until the break of day, the text says he prevailed, but he limped away from the meeting because the angel touched the hollow of his thigh and put it out of joint (Gen. 32:24-32). That pretty much covers the book of Job in a nutshell, metaphorically speaking. You dare to wrestle with God, and you will limp away from the encounter. But, I have to tell the truth here, I didn't start it. He did. Here I was minding my own business, which I thought had to do with selling real estate, and then He showed up in the middle of it. He touched me in the hollow of my thigh and I've been "out of joint," not to mention "out of commission" ever since. Lenny has pointed out to me that we have not had a commission check since July 18. No matter how you budget.....
What in the world, the universe, the heavenlies, is this all about? I had a mad crying fit day on Tuesday of this week, and told God, "No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more enduring patiently the chastening of the Lord. What is this about already?" My eyes were so swollen from crying the next day that I looked like I'd been to five funerals. When I cry, it isn't just polite sniveling, or silent, ladylike weeping. It is belly-grabbing, gut-wrenching, chest-convulsing sobs with keening wails, groans, and moans. I try to do it when I'm alone because it's so awful. Put it this way, when I "let go," there's so much emotional trauma being unleashed that even the cat comes to try to comfort me. We all know that cats are takers, not givers, but when I get like this, she comes over and tries to comfort me as best she can, poor dear. Comfort from cats is a mixed bag, because in trying to reach out and touch me, she as often as not, puts her little claws into my thigh, but I guess "it's the thought that counts" I should "consider the source;" and, "beggars can't be choosers," to name a few old trite axioms.
This is the fifth chapter of my book. Are there publishers beating a path to my door? I just looked out, and not a one could be seen. Maybe they need a map to find this mountain top retreat where we live. I told Lenny that there might be two moth-eaten mystics lurking somewhere on the planet who might be interested in this tome, but I doubt anyone else would buy it. (Alas, mystics are usually poor as church mice and might not have the price of the book. Besides, I'm so codependent that I'd probably send them a free copy, just for the honor of being read.) The trouble is that I'm just too profane for religious folks, which is one reason I question God's election of me from time to time, and at the same time, I'm way too spiritual for people in the world, who don't want to hear that God is the one who is mucking about in their lives (Phil. 2:13). They want Him to mind his own business and stay out of theirs. And, they want to get to the bottom line: success. So, there you have it. What good is this book, except to keep me off the street and out of bars? Am I feeling sorry for myself today? Well, perhaps just a tad.
There's only so many times a day that I can call the title company to see if they have found what I need to close escrow on that infamous "piece of dirt," which has been in every chapter of this book. I suppose, if the saga ends successfully, the subtitle of this book will be "Dirt I Have Dug Up." If it ends the way I'm beginning to fear it will, i.e., that nothing can be found which establishes an easement and therefore the Seller will have to sue Will for easement over the property, then I'll find something very high to leap off of and the book is over anyway. In the meantime, I write as a way to appear productive, a way to dissipate the stress, and a way to find myself and to discover the divine in the midst of the gloom.
I want to quote from Jeri's most recent letter here because it captures in a nutshell what part of my personal struggle has been. She writes, "Before the Holy Spirit, Jan earned thousands and thousands of dollars. At that time, your left brain was head honcho and you fit into the corporate world with its financial wizard concerns and dealings. All the energy of your being was focused undividedly left-brain. That Jan has been swallowed up with the love and the awakening of her twin sister who is the equally powerful feminine right brain (where resides the dormant poetic, artist self, piano and songs in the night, and baking bread, which is a symbol of the koinonia or community of love, 'And when they ate the bread, their eyes were opened.'" See Luke 24:30-31).
Jeri and her husband, Harry were my first counselors and so they know a lot about my psychological makeup. I thought about what Jeri wrote and decided she was probably right in some aspects. That is to say, part of my discomfort during all these business fiascoes comes from the fact that my left brain (the logical, analytical part), previously so successful in problem solving, appears to have failed miserably. Even though I have concluded that God is at the bottom of it all in order to show me that He is in charge, rather than me, nevertheless, that does not help much. Failure is still failure, no matter who's to blame. Moreover, I see that in accessing the mystical, the intuitive, and the spiritual, I somehow disengaged my left brain, suppressed its function, and shoved it down and out of sight. That is "trouble on the hoof" with a capitol "T!" That side of me roared out with a vengeance, two days ago, as my fears for Lenny's safety surfaced. I've been rereading the book Embracing Each Other, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized the emotional and psychological impact brought about by disowning my left brain. This is an integral part of my make up with its logical and analytical interpretation of the world, and as they point out so powerfully in the book, trying to disown a primary self is crazy making. That has certainly been the net effect in my life.
Though men are usually considered to be the left brain part of the equation, having identified with the twin strongholds of logic and rationality, and women are more usually identified with the intuitive, the mystical and the emotional (right brain functions); nevertheless, I'm a left brain surrounded by right brains in my birth family. (When Jeri said that I was at home in corporate America, she was observing that I had previously over identified with my masculine self and only just now have encountered my feminine self. She also has observed that it was safe for my feminine self to emerge in relationship to Lenny who is kind and nurturing. Also very true.) An example of one difference between right and left brains is the way personal fears, which we all have, manifest themselves. It seems to me that right brains are often afraid of "ghosties, ghoulies, and things that go bump in the night." Left brains tend to be afraid of more rational things (to me, anyway): bald tires that may blow out on the freeway, not enough money to pay all the bills, a roof which leaks like a sieve with the rainy season approaching, etc.
So, what I realized is that all the powerful things I used to do with my left brain, like get to the bottom line; find a solution that works, steam my way through the battlements, as it were, and just get it handled; all those things have been unhooked, unplugged, turned off and tuned out by God or by my own attempts to encounter the divine. The net effect is that I've been left with the so called feminine traits of mysticism, emotionalism, intuition, and nurturing, which no offense, just don't get the job done in the business world. Creativity (vitality) without structure is just a conflagration, probably as destructive as it is dynamic. As Harry Fox has observed, to get the engine to work, you have to confine the combustion within a chamber designed to hold it, harness it, and direct its energy in appropriate ways.
Anyway, back to my rage, on Tuesday, when Lenny roared over the brook and up the mountain side to rescue his brother, getting his truck stuck in the ditch, I went nuts. I went even more nuts when he called me on the cell phone to tell me he would have to take the tractor back over there to get the truck unstuck. In fact, I went ballistic! (Did you know poor folks had cell phones? Each month when we find the money to pay the bill is a miracle.) Lenny's tractor is a 1965 model, all beat up and suffering from terminal old age. It leaks oil from every orifice, oil which we can scarcely afford to buy, I might add, but it does have a front end loader and a back hoe. He was planning to use one of those mysterious gizmos to get the truck out of the ditch.
How did he get into this situation? Here's my opinion: Lenny's brother has no boundaries, and so whenever he has a problem, it becomes Lenny's imperative to fix it. Maybe it's a "guy thing." Or maybe it's a big brother giving orders to younger brother type thing. Who knows? I just knew that it had happened one too many times. So, I had railed on Lenny, in vain, obviously, prior to his going over the "piece of dirt" (can you stand yet another piece of dirt story), which his brother is trying to get ready to sell. Therefore, when Lenny told me the truck was in the ditch, I lost it. I cried and ranted and raved at God and said, "OK! No more, Mr. Nice Guy from me. No more patience under fire. This has got to stop! I cannot take any more!"
I drove over and picked Lenny up from where he had walked down to the road and drove him home. He was so tired after struggling to get the truck out of the ditch for two hours, that he could scarcely speak. He was covered with dirt and grime and was barely able to move. I brought him home and stood out there watching him fire up the tractor, put more oil in all the various and sundry holes where it goes (my left brain draws the line at knowing ANYTHING about ANYTHING mechanical), and all I could see was my father lying in a hospital bed, dying. He was just 3 years older than Lenny at the time when he decided that a cattle feeder had to be moved down in the bottom cow pasture, and he did it himself without help, using brute strength. He accomplished the task, all right, but in the process, he blew out some vital part of his heart, which caused a heart attack, and he died three weeks or so later.
I knew right then and there, watching Lenny fool with that tractor, that God was going to take him away from me, along with everything else He has taken away in my life. (A good example of a left brain fear, don't you see.) The tears streamed down my face as I watched him slowly drive off down the driveway (the tractor goes at the blinding speed of about 2-3 miles per hour). I had to pull myself together to continue trying to reach the only person at the title company who has taken any interest in my cause. I was calling about every half hour. I knew God was tweaking me big time, and I felt like a worthless piece of excrement at the moment. I came into the house, splashed water on my face, dried my eyes, and sat down at the computer where I was inputting yet another real estate form (the left brain doesn't give up easily, you see, and this is one way I can distance myself from my turbulent feelings).
I was working in the office probably about 30 minutes, when I heard a car in the driveway. I went out there and imagine my surprise when Lenny's brother drove up in his car, followed by the Mexican day laborer whom Lenny had hired earlier in the day to work on his brother's land, and who was now driving Lenny's truck! I said, "How did you get the truck out of the ditch?" Even as I asked it, I knew the answer. God had sent an angel, or maybe, I thought, just maybe, this Mexican WAS an angel. He smiled and told me how he took a shovel (Where did that come from? Lenny said there wasn't one in the truck!), and he dug and he dug, and he put in rocks, and more rocks, and then he pried the wheel up with a lever bar, and then he gunned it, and "It came right out!" I could have hugged him. I really could have, but figuring it wouldn't be appropriate, and not having any money to hand him, I thanked him profusely and gave him a coke to drink. Lenny lumbered up our drive way on the tractor a few minutes later.
Lenny said he had gotten up the road as far as his brother's drive way (one mile away, up hill), when he saw his brother coming down his driveway in his car, and he saw a vehicle which he said looked awfully like our truck pass him on the way to our house. He said he also knew right then that an angel had been at work. Lenny is very resourceful, clever, and knows about levers, and displacing weight, etc., and he wore himself totally out trying to get the truck out of the ditch, doing all the things the Mexican had done, for two hours! He said at the point when he knew it was hopeless, and that there was no way that truck could be moved by one man alone, he said, "God, YOU HAVE TO MOVE THE TRUCK!" But, as he admits, he didn't have faith that his prayer would be answered, because he came on home, faced the wrath and emotional trauma of his distraught wife, got the tractor, and headed back. We were both too wrung out to talk much after it was all over with. He took a shower, drank his monthly beer with his dinner, and we went to bed early.
That night, I went back down into my bunker and BAM! Right away, I encountered this powerful, masculine voice which lambasted and berated me up one side and down the other for not listening to him. I asked timidly, "Is your name Patrick?" "No," he snapped, "but you can call me that if you want to." At any rate, this turned out to be the voice of the disowned left brain. It's kind of fuzzy now, but basically, even Jesus didn't get very far with him, so enraged was he, and so I took him down into the catacombs (my subconscious), to behold the Ark of the Covenant and experience the Shekinah glory of God. It always soothes me to go down there and I thought it might do the same for him. Whenever I'm down there, I always check out the place to see that the birds of prey are still gone and it is still nice and clean. It always is. As we looked at the Ark of the Covenant, however, we saw a river flowing past us. There were trees on either side of it, and I could see a great light far off in the distance. God asked me if I'd like to get on a raft and take a trip down the River of Life, for we were there in the garden of God and the river was flowing toward the throne room. (I realize this is a backward flow from scriptural accounts, but who knows about visions? It's what I saw.)
My control issues are so great that I cannot bear to be on a raft with no visible means of control. This one had no rudder and no oars; so, I politely declined His invitation. He asked me then, if I would come aboard if He put an angel on the raft with us. Of course, that made all the difference. So Patrick (or whatever his name really is) and I set out on the raft with the angel, and we flowed along peacefully. I took a leaf off a nearby tree whose branch was hanging over the river and took a bite of it. It tasted pleasantly like cinnamon, and I knew that this was the very tree of life whose leaves are "for the healing of the nations" (Rev. 22:2). I hoped that whatever ailments I currently have from joint pain to elevated blood pressure would be healed. I drifted off to sleep then and slept until late the next morning.
When I awoke, Lenny and I talked about the episode of the previous day. I gave him my visualization of what had happened, including the disowning of my left brain. I also shared with him that I believe he landed in the ditch (literally and figuratively) because he was trying to rescue his brother from stress. His brother is a person who has arranged his life so that he never has stress of any kind. He is superficial and ingenuous as a result, as only a "hot house" existence like his can produce, but so what? Is it our job to fix him? And, since Lenny assures me everyday that God is stressing us so that we can grow, I asked him what makes him think that his brother is too old to grow as well? Point well taken. The second thing that I shared with Lenny is that I am no longer planning to be patient about this financial situation we're in. I don't like it. I don't see any benefit in it for me, and I want some light on the subject from God. I don't see any spiritual good whatsoever inherent in poverty. I think that's a mind set as phony as the doctrine espoused by some charismatic groups who proclaim that God will prosper everyone if they just proclaim it, confess it, and praise Him for it. Horse feathers!
And just let me set the record straight right now, that I have no plans to go on the road, a la the TV show, "Promised Land," and preach the Gospel to a lost and dying world. I'm not being rebellious, just practical. The world already has a saying that goes, "Life's a bitch and then you die." So, they will look at what we're going through here, and ask, "What's different about this?" Who would want to repeat our experience? There's no chance I'll unduly influence anyone else to follow this path we're on, because you couldn't sell this on the street if you had a gun in your hand. What? Give your life to God and lose your house to the bank? Give your all to your job and have everything you touch fail? Say what? That's craziness, and most folks, especially Christians, would proclaim me mad and promptly put me into the care of the Mad Hatter himself, and I wouldn't blame them one bit!
Last night, I went into my bunker again and when I didn't encounter any voices, selves, or other entities trying to set me straight, I went once again to the catacombs where the River of Life was still flowing. I got onto the raft again, this time with Jesus, and went to the throne of God, where He let me sit on His lap. I had a nice chat with my heavenly Father. By the way, let me say here that I believe talking with God and hearing from Him in person is a normal part of the Christian life, a part which the church types don't endorse enthusiastically, because think about it, if they did, it would leave them "out of the loop," as we say in the business world. Wouldn't you think Pope John Paul would be happy to put his miter in moth balls, especially now that ski season is here? Probably not. It's a control deal I guess. Anyway, I figure it this way: If God is not powerful enough to monitor these little chat sessions, and kill off or erase what's just my imagination, then His power is slipping and perhaps I'd better rethink the whole thing. I'm radical, I know, but He loves me. Anyway, our chat went something like this:
Jan: "So, God, I don't like this at all. What will I gain if the bank forecloses on me? What good purpose is it serving that I can't do my real estate job worth squat?"
God: "You know, Jan, it sort of sounds like you'd like me to move over here and let you sit on the throne. Do I have that about right?
Jan: "Well, actually, I Ah, well that is to say, Oh well, why lie to you? Yes, I'd like to try, but first let me ask you a question or two."
God: "Certainly, go ahead."
Jan: "Did you really choose me from before the foundation of the world. I mean, there's no mistake about that?"
God: "No mistake. I really did."
Jan: "And you really want me to rule and reign with you some day?"
Jan: "Well, couldn't you just give me a practice run right now?"
There was no answer to this. (Rats! Dad still won't give me the keys to his car.)
Jan: "Look, I understand that Jesus only did what He saw you doing, and said what He heard you saying, but how can I possibly do that? Who are you? I really don't know you that well, you know, and I can't seem to figure out what you want me to do or say. Don't you see that's a problem?"
God: "Now, you're getting it."
So that's what this is all about. It was the end of the conversation. I drifted off to sleep and slept until 9:30 this morning. What a sneaky way to shut me up! I feel pretty good today, all things considered. Lenny believes God is in the process of integrating my left and right brain function, which would indeed be a very powerful event.
Well, that's all very wonderful, but the other shoe just dropped. I just talked to the title company regarding the record search which has been going on for weeks, and which has had my chain pulled the whole time. They found nothing whatsoever regarding an ingress and egress easement to the land. I have asked the Seller to call Will to see if he can find out what he wants. At this point, I am over. I've "shot my wad," as they said in the days when muskets were the weapon of choice, and I've got no cards left to play. "So, God, now's your chance to shine. My truck is in the ditch, and I've got no tractor to pull it out with."
October 25, 1996
I feel really good today, against all odds and in spite of everything. Last night, before I went to sleep, I prayed, "God, please perform the marriage ceremony between my left and right brains" (the masculine and the feminine). I had the following dream: Two of our couple friends with whom we were in the codependency recovery group, were living in houses next door to each other (in fact, they both live in the San Fernando Valley, but in different towns). We were all planning to attend a big party of some kind in the evening. I went down to see them earlier in the day and Kate (I've changed all their names) was driving us around in her car through neighborhoods with big, gorgeous homes. I commented on how lovely they looked and asked her where we were. She said, "I'm not sure." I left her and went back home for something and said I would be back to pick them up for the party. When I returned, I found out that her husband, John, and Sally's husband, Mark, had been arrested by the police, but they had escaped and now were "on the lam."
Sally and Kate went on to the party and I went into Kate's house using the key she had given me. I found John, her husband, hiding in the bedroom. "Go away," he said. "I don't want the police to know I'm in here." So, I went next door to see Mark. He said, "I'm not going to let the police keep me from the party. Come on. I'll drive." He had a big old Lincoln Continental with a huge trunk which was open. There were bags, boxes, hat boxes, shoe boxes, garment bags, and a make up case, sitting all around, which he said we had to bring to the girls who had already left for the party. "Hurry up, Mark," I said. "Get this stuff into the trunk before the police get here." We got into the car and drove through some more neighborhoods with big, beautiful houses. When I asked him where we were, he said, "I don't know."
We got to the party and there were tables and chairs arranged around in this very large auditorium like room. Obviously, it was a dinner party. There was an enormous grand piano in the front of the room and a beautiful Indian woman was playing the piano. (She was from India, not an American Indian.) She had long, curly, dark hair and black eyes. By her side on the piano bench, sat a 4 or 5 year old little girl. Stacked all around the piano and on top of it were more bags, sacks, and "stuff" everywhere. I marveled at how beautifully she played. At one point, she said to the child, "You play for awhile, honey, because I have to do something." She began fixing her hair and rummaging around in the bags and sacks, and the little kid played equally as well as the woman did. I marveled at how wondrous it all was. Then, I looked across the room and saw Sally and Kate up on the stage heading toward the back. "Wait for me," I called, and crossed the room, only to find there was no way to get up on the stage. Not wanting to be left behind, I crawled up on it. I was wearing a white blouse and white trousers, and I was horrified to find that someone had spilled orange Jell-O on the stage and I got it all over my white pants.
That's the dream. Now for the interpretation. I learned to interpret dreams intrapsychically, which means that every person and object in the dream is a part of me that is trying to tell me something about myself. I think the purpose of the dream was to show me what's involved in God marrying or joining my feminine and masculine parts. John and Mark represent the stereotypical male: emotionally unavailable and identified more with action than feelings. Kate represents the nurturing female; Sally, the intuitive; the Indian woman, the mystical; and the child, the creative aspect of me. I called Jeri and Harry this morning and Jeri said, "Oh, the party is the wedding feast." That's good! She also suggested that the fact that neither Kate nor Mark knew where we were when they were driving me around, indicates that we are now in uncharted territory. The boundaries are unclear and we don't have any road maps as we drive along here with God.
That's true. It's obvious for me that owning my feminine side carries a lot of baggage with it. I'm uncomfortable with that and that's why I couldn't wait to stuff it all into Mark's trunk. The masculine side was on the lam from the law, as has been true lately because I disowned my left brain in search of the mystical aspects of what is happening to us. And the Jell-O on my white pants? I think that represents social embarrassment and shame. In other words, my failures are visible to the naked eye. As most psychologists will agree, dreams are powerful indicators of what the subconscious mind is trying to tell us. This one was pretty straight forward and I woke up feeling empowered.
I also woke up thinking that I have had no real female role model in my life. Because my dad was so wounded and emotionally absent from us all, Mother had to carry the roles of both Father and Mother for me. I'm not faulting her, because there was a void and someone had to fill it, but the lines were very blurred for me. That's probably common with a lot of families. Today, men are furious with women and beat, bruise, and murder them at an astounding rate every day. Woman are confused, frustrated, and angry that they have been denied empowerment for so long, and now that they have a chance at it, they find that the price tag is extremely high. Moreover, it brings with it enormous pain, and guilt. No one told us how much being empowered would cost us.
I just got a sweet phone call. My sister and my nephew are on their way back from a CompUSA sale and they bought me 16 megabytes of ram memory (two 8 meg chips) for my computer. How sweet it is. For the uninformed, that means I will have more Random Access Memory to run programs with. (I won't get those nasty notes on the screen telling me I'm out of memory.) It is so nice of them to do that. My nephew especially was wanting me to have it and sort of spearheaded the effort to get the right kind of chips for my Power Mac, even calling Apple to determine how much I need, etc. I appreciate the gift for two reasons: right now, our motto is, "If we can't eat it, we can't afford it." Secondly, it is a little affirmation that God doesn't hate me for spending so much time at my computer. They really do seem so unspiritual until you realize that God is the ultimate computer. I mean, did you ever think how He arranges to get everyone whose number is up on a particular day, on the same plane at the same time so they can all go down together? Scary, and amazing, isn't it? But I digress.
Lenny has shared with me something he's been getting over the "mystic hot line." He is seeing that just as Adam was created first, so we, the elect are chosen first as the many membered body of Christ, under His headship. We will become the bridegroom. We will know as we are known (I Cor. 13:12). When God took Eve out of Adam's side, that was a shadow of things to come. When Christ was on the cross and His side was pierced, that was the fulfillment of the symbol in Genesis 2:21. For Christ says of himself that he is the beginning and the end, the first (Adam) and the last (Christ). Paul says that "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam (Christ) was made a quickening spirit" (I Cor. 15:45). I believe that when the sons of God are manifested (Romans 8:19), that we will be like Adam was in the beginning, both male and female. Lenny saw that the rest of the world will be taken out from our side, even as Eve was taken out of Adam's side, and they will become the bride of Christ. The end result will be that the entirety of God's "new creation" (II Cor. 5:17), will come forth out of Christ.
I can affirm that God is clearly taking efforts to bring about in me the marriage of my bride and groom, male and female parts. I realize there are other interpretations of who the bride of Christ is, and I'm not in a position to exclude them, but I like this one because I believe that when Christ, who is the head, is joined to his many membered body (the elect, the remnant), it will be for the purpose of bringing the rest of the human race to salvation. This glorious event will usher in the marriage feast of the Lamb. I would imagine that all believers now expectantly await the time when, "the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' And let him that hears say, 'Come.' And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." We can all say, with the Apostle John, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).
Since I began this chapter thinking about Job, I'd like to conclude with one last thought here from the book of Job regarding his so called comforters. (May God deliver us all from friends like these, who in their determination to "fix him," well nigh broke him so he would never run again.) The text says that these "apostles of works....ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes" (Job. 32:1). They were sure that everything which had happened to him, every disaster that God had brought upon him was due to some secret sin. They urged him to repent and to confess his sin. Job steadfastly refused to take their advice or his wife's either. She advised him to "curse God and die" (Job. 2:9). I'll admit that in my youth and naiveté, I also thought that Job was pretty self righteous, but I've had to repent of that. After all, God himself said about him to Satan, "Hast thou, considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" (Job. 1:8).
Now, let's face it, if God says that he's perfect, he's perfect. End of debate. My thanks to Jeri Fox, for reminding me that God commended Job because he refused to be sidetracked with false guilt or religious dogma. He knew with whom he was dealing. After he got the "blessing" of boils from the sole of his foot unto the crown of his head, and after his wife had given him the word to curse God and die, he says "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips" (2:10). In spite of his agony, his total loss of all he held dear, he blessed God, saying, "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty; For he makes sore, and binds up; he wounds, and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee" (5:17-20. How many more do we still have to endure I wonder?) These are powerful words from one sitting on the ash heap of life, scraping his boils with potsherds. Yet he says, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him; but I will maintain mine own ways before him. He also shall be my salvation; for an hypocrite shall not come before him" (13:15-16).
So, even though I couldn't sell this to anyone but those two mystics hiding somewhere on the planet, I'll take my stand with Job. It's not sin. It's God. It's not Satan in control. It's God. Everything, everything, and again, I say everything! comes to us from the hand of God! That's why James could say, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations, knowing this that the trying of your faith works patience, but let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing" (James 1:2-4). Anyone who has known me for five minutes or less knows that I scream as loudly as anyone else when I'm squeezed. Patience? No way. Rejoice in trouble? You're kidding, right? Yet, at some deep level, I do rejoice that God is at work in us and I do know that the end will be glorious, even if the middle is tedious and painful at times. Still, I say, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus, Come quickly."
The song attached here came to me this week. I think it's very sweet and very compelling that all these songs regarding God's tender love for Israel, the redeemed, have come to me lately, particularly in light of what's happening over there in physical Israel right now. But for the appearance of the sons of God, no peace will ever be achieved in that tragic, war torn land. Praise God, for He is the Shepherd of Judah. And in that, we can all rest and rejoice!
Editor's Note: The music to this song is on the website, though it takes a while to load. At least you can hear the melody. J. A.
Oh Judah, Where Is Your Shepherd?
Oh Judah, Oh Judah, Oh, where is your shepherd? Oh Judah, Oh Judah, Oh, where has he gone? Are you all alone now, looking for God now, still looking for God now to lead you back home?
Fear not, little flock. Your shepherd is here now. Christ is the Shepherd who'll end all your strife. He'll lead you to pasture beside the still waters, beside the still waters, the River of Life.
The Lord is the Shepherd to watch over Judah, To comfort and save you to bring you back home. For Christ is the one, the Shepherd of Judah; The Savior of Judah has come for His own.
By Jan Austin Antonsson, October, 1996
17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)
Forward to Faxes From the Fiery Furnace
Faxes From The Fiery Furnace, Chapter One
Shame From Shiloh, Chapter Two
E-Mail from Armageddon, Chapter Three
Baggage From Babylon, Chapter Four
Joy From Jerusalem, Chapter Six
Memo From Moses, Chapter Seven
Dancing with the Devil, Chapter Eight
News From Neosho, Chapter Nine
The Glory Road
We would enjoy hearing from you!
This writing was uploaded to the web 8/24/05,
by Jan Antonsson, webmeister,
and last updated 12/04/08.