During my personal sabbatical last week at Well of Mercy, I dug deeper into how complicated our cycle of misery is. I mean, I really wish it were as clear in my life as it reads in Judges:
The Israelites did evil in the Lord's sight... - Judges 3:7
The Lord was furious with Israel and turned them over... - Judges 3:8
When the Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, he raised up a deliverer... - Judges 3:9
These are statements of fact. Sometimes I think that's why it's hard to identify with the Israelites during their many adventures because the nuances of who they were, what they did when and why are not there. It would be helpful to see their individual character development. There's a bottom line, they disobeyed, but, on an individual basis, it was probably more complicated than that because I'm just discovering some of these nuances about my own actions.
During my trip, I painted two watercolors. One shows me imprisoned by fear. This prison is one that I built and that others helped build around me. This is a prison that is the result of sin, mine or other's, because fear does not come from love. Who did evil first, who started building the bars, is a moot point, because at some point you have to start taking responsibility for your contribution.
This is the verse I wrote on the back:
You have taken account of (recounted) my wanderings (fugitive exile); Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? - Psalm 56:8
Thank goodness God knows all the nuances that went into building my prison and forming my actions. They are not excuses but at least He and I can parse through them together and sort out the lies that I've let poison my trust in Him. There's a prayer labyrinth outside at the Well of Mercy where I left my watercolor in hope that the rain and sun will fade that prison until it disappears.