Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Content Refugee in a Willing Exile

The words of Psalm 137 are deplorably salient.
But the reality for the exiles sitting on the banks of the rivers in Babylon was ever more sorrowful than we can imagine.  Unless you’ve been exiled.  And there are plenty of veritable exiles.  By virtue of being forced into a life-tending and heart-rending situation, we experience exile.  We’re taken captive to a place, a situation, a time we’d never ever choose for ourselves.  Such a place, situation, and time is commonly called grief.
Grief is a time of exile.  What we never asked for, and never would — the loss, which is, in reality, a plethora of tangible and intangible losses — we find is such an irrepressible and irreversible lament.  We sit at the banks of that foreign place and weep.
What seems ever too real,
a sorrow all too sorrowful,
also seems all too surreal;
too unreal to feel,
yet feeling such reality is ever too hard.
Then, after a while,
what was ever too surreal,
feelings wrestled with in reality,
becomes a reality real enough to feel;
a new, acceptable reality emerges,
and hope returns.
Being exiled is designed to teach us to depend on nothing, to covet nothing, and to fear nothing, so that in fearing nothing, coveting nothing, and depending on nothing is to fear and covet only God, and to depend on Him alone.
Grief is an exile of the soul, where, for a time,
the soul is exiled from hope, joy, and peace.
When the soul is returned from exile,
or learns to live accepting its lot,
the gift of contentment is found.
The gift of contentment in exile
shows the exiled the Presence of God
transcends the exile.
God’s always present,
and the exiled learn
that’s all that matters.
Contentment is a state of soul
that hopes, and enjoys peace with life,
simply in knowing God’s Presence is enough.
One definition of maturity:
to able to sit still and be at peace in exile.
Arriving at such a peace is a lesson of strength in life,
always afforded out of surrender in our weakness.
The exile that grief is teaches us patience when life hurries at us, peace within torment, and perseverance through the perennial winter season.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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