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2But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;

I had nearly lost my foothold.

3For I envied the arrogant

when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psalm 73:2-3

 

During this season, I have experienced some of life’s greatest disappointments and setbacks.  Most recently, I entered a business venture. As part of my due diligence, I implemented all the necessary safeguards to reduce, if not, eliminate my risks.  I read.  I researched.  I hired an attorney. I had a contract drafted.  However, life sometimes teaches us that there are no failsafe plans.  There are no world systems that could entirely mitigate moral corruption.  Although most, if not all, legal agreements are drafted based on the worse case scenarios, most people enter contacts with the assumption that the opposing party has some semblance of integrity, or at the very least, he or she has a fear of or a reverence for the law.  A year and a half after signing my contract agreement, the opposing party involved still managed to express flagrant disregard of the agreement by violating several terms of the contract. This morning, as I evaluated my situation, I thought about the above verse.

 

Oftentimes, it feels as though the lives of the wicked are bountiful.  Many of them cheat, lie and steal, yet they still manage to thrive beyond the imagination of the meek.  It’s easy to look at the proud and the arrogant and be envious.  They leap and abound.  Their lives are grand.  They enjoy fine things, and they seldom seem concerned with the toils of those who are pure at heart.  “They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong…they are not plagued by human ills,” (verse 4 and 5, NIV).  They play by their own rules.  They scoff at honor and valor.  The lives of the wicked seems grand, indeed.  However, there will come a time when the Earth’s grandeur will cease.  Each man will be equal, and God will judge each man according to his deeds.  “God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad,” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).  It’s so easy to want the wicked to pay—to take vengeance into our own hands because it might seem as though God is moving too slow.  However, Romans 12:19 says, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD,” (NLT).

 

The truth is, waiting on God can seem slow, and, at times, feel torturous.  However, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance,” (2 Peter 3:9, NIV).  In His justice, God has given even the sinners time to change their wicked ways.  Psalms 73 goes on to say that God has placed the wicked on slippery ground.  The wicked will perish if they continue to do wickedness.

 

To those who are longsuffering, I ask that you give your suffering to God.  Leave your vindication in His mighty hands.  God is just, and He judges fairly.  Even King David, whom the Bible refers to as a man after God’s own heart, experienced God’s immense favor despite being reprimanded for his egregious sins. Although David had many shortcomings, God did not forget the promises He made to David.  During earlier times, God decreed that David would not only rule as king over all Israel, God also promised David that he (David) would always have a line to the throne (Jesus).  One of David’s biggest fall from grace was when he had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers named Uriah.  As a result of the affair, Bathsheba became pregnant.  In an effort to cover his tracks David tried to convince Uriah to sleep with his wife, Bathsheba, so that he could pass off the baby as Uriah’s.  Uriah, who was a committed soldier in David’s army, refused to lay with his wife because he did not want to break his allegiance to his fellow fighters by indulging in merriment during battle time.  After David realized that his attempt to cover his tracks had failed, he gave orders to have Uriah killed.  Fortunately, God did not allow David’s position as both king and the “apple of His eyes” to usurp Uriah’s life.  God was not only faithful to David, He was also faithful to Uriah, because the Bible says that God is not a respecter of man (Acts 10:34).  God avenged Uriah’s death by destroying the seed that was created from David’s and Bathsheba’s deception. Thankfully, God did not stay angry with David forever.  He pursued David and blessed him.  Moreover, David repented for sinning against God.

 

In all of our lives, there will be times when we feel forgotten about—by family, by friends, and even by God. Many of us feel like Uriah, a lone soldier in a vast army—a number in the crowd.  The temptation is to give up on God because we feel neglected or betrayed by Him.  However, just like God fought on behalf of Uriah, He will avenge us too.  The Bible says that God will leave the 99 sheep to find the one that has wondered away (Matthew 18:12-14).  It is during our weakest moments that God will seek us out and pursue us.

A few years ago, I created this blog to challenge the way we think–to open our minds. Today the old adage, knowledge is power, is probably truer than ever before. Many of us fear what we do not know.

On Tuesday, I sat in front of my television, as perhaps millions of others, and watched as Charlie Sheen disclosed what was probably his biggest personal obstacle to date: his HIV status. As I watched him, I saw an individual who was the embodiment of the human experience–wonderful, flawed and broken, all at the same time. At times during the interview, he look bewildered, as if he were having an out of body experience–as if it were happening to someone else.

Days before the Matt Lauer interview, I already knew what Charlie Sheen’s disclosure would be. The Internet was already abuzz. The opinions and speculation varied from support to condemnation. As I read through some of the posts, I was reminded of King David. During one of his fallen moments, he declared, “It would be better to fall into the hands of God than to fall into the hands of man.”

God’s grace reminds us that we are ALL wonderful, flawed and broken. In all of our lives, we will experience moments where our actions will take us to dark places from where only God can deliver us. The truth is, only God can judge.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Whether we know it or believe it, we are all called for God’s purpose. He can take our biggest mistakes, failures and shortcomings and use them for His glory. One of the positives that came from Sheen’s disclosure is the open dialogue about HIV and AIDS. There is still so much misinformation and stigma surrounding the disease. As having had the experience as an HIV educator and working with HIV researcher, I understand the value of these teachable moments.

Last year, I wrote and produced, “What is Your Status: An HIV Awareness Story ” to highlight some of the issues that still surround HIV and AIDS.
Please check out the video below:

The explosion of light echoed across the sky and triggered a myriad of sirens along its course.  Pellets of frozen rain crashed against the window pane with staccato rhythm.  Moments later, the car alarms faded and the hiss of falling rain crescendoed in the symphony of the storm.

The idea of enjoying a storm might seem paradoxical, but there is something serene, even romantic, about being home during the mist of a storm.  The home provides a fortress against the storm’s fury.   Though we might occasionally shudder at the sound of thunder, we find comfort in the security of shelter.  We are dry.  We are warm. We are safe from the elements.

Being unsheltered during a storm, on the other hand, is a different story.  There is nothing peacefully there.  Heavy rainfall can impair visibility while walking or driving.  Lightning strikes can cause fire and charge bodies of water, making commuting difficult.  For these reasons, most advisories usually recommend that individual remain indoors until the storm has subsided.

If being caught in a storm wasn’t bad enough there are actually people who have made careers of chasing storms.  That’s right.  These people actually study weather patterns and reports so that they could be in the midst of the storm.  Crazy huh?

Maybe not!

As I was reflecting on my season of spiritual storms, I started to realize how my spiritual storms paralleled that of actual storms.  Just like in case of an actual storm, the best place to be during a spiritual storm is in the security of shelter.  Under the coverage of shelter, there is protection from the elements.  In the natural realm, our home is protection from the storm.  In the spiritual realm, God is our shield.  Psalm 91:1-4 says,

1. Those who live in the shelter of the Most High

will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2. This I declare about the Lord:

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;

he is my God, and I trust him.

3. For he will rescue you from every trap

and protect you from deadly disease.

4. He will cover you with his feathers.

He will shelter you with his wings.

His faithful promises are your armor and protection (NLT).

 

The passage says that anyone who lives in God’s “house” will find rest in Him.  In other words, if we are walking with God and seeking His presence, He will protect us.  He will shelter us from the storm.  Even though the rain might be pouring down and the hail might be beating against the doors of our lives, God will keep us dry, warm and safe.  We just have to rest in His presence.  The problem is, many of us have decided to leave the safety of coverage and venture out into the storm.  There are an even smaller few who haven’t just stumbled into the rain.  They are storm chasers.  They are the ones who go out looking for storms—looking for problems.  Whether we just stagger into the rain or go chasing after storms, the results are the same.  When we get caught in the rain, we become subject to fatigue because we are fighting elements that we might not be equipped to fight.  We become lost because sometimes the darkness of a storm can be so thick that visibility is reduced.  We become sick because we succumb to our environment.  In order to recover, we have to seek shelter.  We have to return to a place of safety where restoration can begin.  Sometimes, the answer to ending our storm is simply stepping out of the rain.

 

Lord,

Today, I pray that we would have the courage to step out of storm and into your house for shelter.  Lord protect us from the elements.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen!