You dwell in a tired sigh


you dwell in a tired sigh

After the last few weeks, I could think that line really was about me.
And haven’t we all been there?
Maybe even there right now?


I first wrote this in December, 2011.  Below, it says that Hachiko is recovered now.  It’s probably not a coincidence that I’m discovering this one to update right now – October, 2017.  I am dwelling in a tired sigh – because Hachiko is no longer with us.  We had to put him down last week.  You can read more at Another Sad Day. And Yet, … – which will give you a clue that while I’m tired – there’s more to the story and it’s not all sad. 

Anyway – as I read through this, I can see where I’ve come over the last six years.  So while the title is still about a tired sigh,  it’s also about progress and even more hope than the original writing.  I pray you will find it encouraging.

As I make the updates, they’ll be in text like this, so you can tell what’s new.


Between Hachiko running off / getting hurt / (he’s back and recovered now),
and with a huge oak tree snapping off and just missing the house in a storm,
and with all sorts of stuff at work,
there’s room for plenty of tired sighs.
And in my case, things are nowhere near as bad as what many of you reading this are going through.
With that in mind – let’s add another line to this –

you dwell in a hopeless cry,
you dwell in a tired sigh

Is that more like it?
Does that describe your situation even better –
with that hopeless cry?

The question is then –
who is in that hopeless cry / tired sigh with you?

Maybe you think Satan is in there with you.
Maybe you think God is in there with you.
Maybe you think no one’s there – you’re all alone.

Depending on you – any one of these could be true – in a sense.

If you think you’re all alone – for all practical purposes – you are.
God won’t force Himself on you.  Yes – He’ll be running after you – waiting for you to invite Him in – but He’s allowing each of us to make the choice to follow Him – or not.

Mt 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Rev 3:19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

Jesus said He’s knocking at out door, waiting for us to answer.
Jesus also said He’s waiting for us to knock on the door, and He’ll answer it.

So – if you think you’re alone – realize that you don’t have to be.
Jesus is right there – knocking – waiting.
Just invite Him into the situation.

On the other hand – maybe you think Satan’s there with you.
Guess what – you’re right!
And he’ll be trying to tell you that it’s just him and you – and that it really is as hopeless and tiring as it looks – that’s there’s no way out – that the only thing is to sigh – to cry out in hopelessness – resign yourself – and just give up.
The thing is though – Satan is lying.

The quote below is from When the enemy strikes: The keys to winning your spiritual battles, by Charles F. Stanley –

Deception is a lie about the true reality of something. Deception occurs when we believe things are good, but they aren’t; when we believe things look hopeless, but they aren’t; when we think something is true, but it isn’t; when something looks too good to be true and turns out not to be good at all. Deception is perhaps the devil’s foremost snare. The ultimate eternal demise of the devil is described in Revelation with these words: “The great dragon was cast out [of heaven], that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (12:9).  1)Stanley, C. F. (2004). When the enemy strikes: the keys to winning your spiritual battles. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The key phrase here –

when we believe things look hopeless, but they aren’t

Even Jesus went through temptation from Satan – after 40 days and nights of fasting –

The Temptation of Jesus

4:1-11 pp — Mk 1:12, 13; Lk 4:1-13

Mt 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Mt 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’”

Mt 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’’”

Mt 4:7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’’”

Mt 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Mt 4:10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’’”

Mt 4:11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

I think there’s two things that are important – in the context that we’re looking at this.

First – we’re not alone in going through things like this. Can you imagine how tired and hungry Jesus was at this point. Yes – He is God – but He was also human. The human part of Him had to be ready to put out a tired sigh and a hopeless cry.

If Satan’s going to try to tempt Jesus – you’d best better believe He’s coming after us!
So – what’s in this for us?

That’s the second thing to look at – the way Jesus responds.

  • When Satan tells Jesus to turn the stones into bread – Jesus doesn’t respond with anything about whether or not He could have done it – He doesn’t try to rationalize and say there’s nothing really wrong about doing it – He just says it’s the Word of God that’s important. He doesn’t answer with anything about what His human side can do – He just answers with what God can do.
  • When Satan says that Jesus should throw Himself off the mountain and have the angels save Him – Jesus answers in the same manner as the bread. Again – He doesn’t try to rationalize and say there’s nothing really wrong with this either. He doesn’t say whether God will or won’t save Him – He merely says that one should not put God to the test.
  • Finally – Satan gets to the part about giving Jesus everything that can be seen if He will just bow down and worship Satan.

    This time – it’s different.

    This time – there can be no rationalization – this is a clear-cut request to worship Satan.   But again – Jesus doesn’t answer with anything resembling what I would have said – as a human. I would have pointed out – this is already mine! My Father created all of this – and me and the Father are One – so it’s all mine – it’s not even yours to give.

But that would have been the totally human thing to do.
No – Jesus just tells Satan to go away – He’s not going to worship anyone but God.

Now – you may be saying –
But I’m not Jesus –
I’m not both human and God.
True –
But –

Mt 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Rev 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

Jesus is completely available to us –
He’s able to be there –
He’s asking to be there –
It can be us AND Him.

And He – Jesus – can give us the strength and the ability to respond the same way He did.

Ask and it will be given to you is an awesome thought.  Depending on how much we understand what that means – we might think it’s an empty promise – but when we really understand, it’s truly an amazing promise. 

But the next part – Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline – that’s tough.  Think about it – we’re not perfect.  There’s always something that we could be disciplined for, taught, corrected, Etc.  I’ve been feeling like I pretty much live in a tired sigh – like nearly all the time.  I was talking with the senior pastor at my church – asking if he thought I really had that much to be disciplined for.  I guess we always think the worst about ourselves – it’s not about learning more – it’s about how we screwed up and need to be disciplined.  But then, he reminded me – 

Lk 6:43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

With a belief that I do bear good fruit – then it cannot be all discipline, not a case of a bad tree.  That’s something we need to remember.  Then it may not be so much a tired sigh – but instead a realization that things are actually going well.  How can I say that?  Sometimes we need to realize that Satan’s not happy with us because of what we’re doing for God, and therefore against the evil one.  Further – God recognizes that, and knows is helping us to become even better at what we’re doing.  It’s like other things in our lives – being really good at something has always required sacrifice and has rarely been easy – but has always been something we thought worth pursuing.

I’ve referred before to C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. If you’re not familiar with it – it’s a book written from the point of view of one devil teaching another how to tempt his human “patient”. If you haven’t read it – I highly recommend it.

Anyway – here’s an excerpt where Screwtape (the experienced devil) is coaching his nephew Wormwood —

And that is where the troughs come in. You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve. He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs– to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with the better. He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtual as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

Yes – They’re both in there with us –
Satan tempting –
God waiting.
That’s the thing about love.
It can’t be forced –
it has to be given –
otherwise it isn’t love.

I really like those last lines –

He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles.

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect –
that was Jesus who was perfect –
all we have to do is try.

Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

It’s a different way to look at those down times –
the times when we put out a tired sigh –
or a hopeless cry.

It’s something we have to remember –
because Satan will want to try to tell us that we are alone –
we aren’t worth God’s effort –
that’s we’re too messed up for God to spend any effort on us –
that things are so bad that even God can’t handle it –
that we should just resign and give up.

But look again at Screwtape’s warning to Wormwood –

Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

Every trace of “The Enemy” (God – this is after all written by a devil) has vanished –
we feel totally forsaken –
but we still obey God.

What he’s saying here is quite amazing –
the darker it gets –
the more hopeless it seems –
the more dangerous it gets for Satan –
the more likely we are to invite God in.

Ready to find out where that title line comes from?

It’s from a song called You Reign, by David Gaulton.
Cool song – good message – good tune.
It’s from the second verse – which goes –

You dwell in a hopeless cry, You dwell in a tired sigh
You dwell Lord in our lives, You dwell.
You reign in our victories, You reign in Your love for me
You reign for the world to see, You reign.

So let’s look back at that question again –
who is in that hopeless cry / tired sigh with you?

Maybe you think Satan is in there with you.
Maybe you think God is in there with you.
Maybe you think no one’s there – you’re all alone.

The first time, I wrote –

Depending on you – any one of these could be true – in a sense.

Notice – in a sense.

In reality – as we now see – Satan and God are both there with us.

What we do about that is totally up to us.

We could essentially go it alone –
tell God we don’t need Him – don’t believe in Him – don’t want Him.

We could even tell Satan we don’t want him either.  But having put God out of the picture – Satan wins anyway, no matter what we say. cannot defeat Satan alone – we need God to do that – so by attempting to reject both – Satan wins.

We could give in to Satan – in which case he wins – again.

We could invite God into our lives – in which case –
ultimately – God wins, and therefore we win as well.

The potentially difficult part of this choice is that we don’t get to determine the “spoils of victory” – God does.
Victory is on His terms –
victory is what He says it is –
not necessarily what we want it to be.
The thing to remember –
His idea of victory far surpasses what ours could ever be –
we just can’t see it –
yet.

Now – you may be thinking that once the choice is made – the outcome is a done deal.
once we tell God to “get lost” – it’s over – He’s gone.

Sorry Satan – not true.

Rev 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”

Remember that famous verse – John 3:16?
It’s part of a longer section – John 3:16-21 –

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned,

If you’re reading this –
you’re alive (obviously – but bear with me here) – if you’re alive –
you’re in the world –
then this applies to you –
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned,

No matter how tired we are –
no matter how much we cry out in situations that we think are hopeless –
no matter how much we think God doesn’t care about us –
He does.
He cared enough to come and die for us.

Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

Jesus is completely available to us –
He’s able to be there –
He’s asking to be there –
It can be us AND Him.
And He – Jesus – can give us the strength and the ability to respond the same way He did.

 

One other thing I’ve learned – sometimes maybe we just try too hard / too long.  Remember the passage from Luke above –

Lk 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

I don’t know about you, but when I get too tired the things that come out of me are more likely to not be too good – because there isn’t enough in me to overflow good.  In those cases, we need to remember that Jesus may tell us to relax and rest, rather than dig deeper into ourselves –

Ps 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

Ps 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

Ps 23:3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Yes – the Lord may very wellmakeis rest.  He wants to “restore” us, so we have something of Him to overflow out of our lives.  And, it’s not for us – it’s because we wanted to live for Him.  When we make that decision to live for Jesus – why do we think we need to do it of our own strength?  That alone is enough to send us into a tired sigh.

Who’s in that tired sigh with you?
If it’s not God – just open the door –
He’s waiting for you.

 

 

References   [ + ]

1. Stanley, C. F. (2004). When the enemy strikes: the keys to winning your spiritual battles. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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