God heard the boy (Ishmael) crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “What is the matter, Hagar?”
In Chapter 12 (“A Stubborn Spirit: Exile from Him is Self-Imposed”) of Wounded by God’s People, Anne Graham Lotz tells of her meeting with William, an investigative journalist who had written an article describing his journey away from God. Once a Christian, William uncovered such hypocrisy in the organized church that he turned from God, even building a speaking and writing career around his professed agnosticism.
Anne had the opportunity to meet with William and discuss their divergent paths. Although Anne passionately described her journey to God, there was no perceptible change in his attitude. His spiritual exile was self-imposed.
Following our ministry downsizing or vocation loss, we journey into self-imposed spiritual exile when we are insistent on justifying our perspective on our vocation loss. Perhaps we begin to doubt God’s presence and power when our prayers are not answered in the way or the time we want. We attempt to conform God to our will, not our will to God’s. Our exile becomes a prison cell locking from the inside. Anne exhorts us that there is only one key to unlock that door:
“The key that unlocks the door is a simple one, but potentially a key that is so heavy and painful to lift and use that we look for any other key but that one. . . . The key that works is to cry out to God in humility and sincerity, . . . But to pick up the key we have to lay down our hardness of heart and stubbornness of spirit.”
We need to tell God what’s the matter.
Today’s question: What Bible verses have been most effective in freeing you from the prison cell of spiritual exile? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Counterfeit comfort”