Imagine this scene. A pond - it’s clear water shimmering in gentle sunlight. There’s life in the pond, vegetation can be seen below its surface. Suddenly the tranquil scene is interrupted as a package, thrown by unseen hands, lands in the water and sinks beneath its surface. For a while, ripples spread out from where the object entered the water, but eventually they die down and the pond seems as peaceful as before. But the package that now rests at the bottom of the pond contains poison and as it slowly begins to release its deadly contents the pond begins to die.
It’s always wise to be cautious when claiming ‘the Lord showed me’, but the scene I’ve just described above was an impression or picture that I felt He gave me many years ago in the early days of His restoration in my life. All these years later I still believe it was His way of shining His light on a particular event, on a particular day in my childhood, to give me understanding of how that event was a doorway for darkness and sin to enter and gain an increasingly dark foothold in my life.
My life wasn’t in particularly good shape before that day, but, like a sports tackle from behind that disables and injures, it knocked the course of my life down dark and lonely paths. No-one close to me knew what happened to me on that day. Years later, Jesus showed me that He had seen and cared and was reaching out to me to heal.
All of us have experienced different traumas and injuries on our journey through life. In a fallen world it can’t be avoided. One of the results of the experience I described above, and my own personal sin and bad choices, was deep anger and bitterness, mostly kept securely locked away until God began to expose it. In the fifteenth chapter of Exodus, the Israelites, after crossing the Red Sea, come to a lake in the wilderness called Marah. The word Marah means bitter and that’s exactly what its water was – completely undrinkable. Then, as the thirsty people grumbled against Moses, we read these words in verse twenty-five, ‘Then he (Moses) cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters and the waters became sweet’ (NASB).
I remember the first time I read that verse in Exodus. It almost shouted at me – ‘The Cross!’ and I do believe that’s what it portrays. It’s through what Jesus did on the cross that we can be forgiven, forgive others, and experience His healing flowing through our lives like the river in our verse for today from Ezekiel. Bitter hearts can be made sweet. I’ve experienced that and still am experiencing it. If that speaks to the need of your heart today, just come as you are to Jesus. His arms are open and waiting.
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