And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve.
Today begins a 3 part Prayer Devotion entitled, “How could you love someone like me”. The foundational scripture comes from the Book of Isaiah, chapter 14, verse 3. God is speaking here to the children of Israel as they were held captive in Babylon. God is making a promise that He will again deliver them from bondage as He once did in Egypt. But His blessing is going to take on two characteristics. God is going to work to make a blessed change in their present state and also in their spiritual state.
(1.) In their present state. The children of Israel, they shall have rest from their bondage; the days of their affliction, though many shall have an end; and the rod of the wicked, though it is long, it shall not always lie on them.
(2.) In their spirit. They shall have rest from their sorrow and fear, sense of their present burdens and dread of worse things to come. Sometimes fear puts the soul into a torment (confusion, upheaval, turmoil, uproar) as much as sorrow does. Those who are freed from the bondage of sin have a foundation laid for true rest from sorrow and fear.
But this 3 part devotion is not a study on what God accomplished in the children of Israel. The focus will be on what God accomplished in the life of someone who too was trapped in bondage and now is free.
Part 1 – How God Saves
He went to work on this particular Friday because he had extra work to complete. There were very few people at work that day because most everyone was working a 4 day work week. Mark, his boss, was working with him. They were the only ones in their group that was working that day. It was Friday, July 17, 1999.
It started out to be a regular sort of work day. But something changed. He began to have thoughts of his past. The past of being a drunk and a drug user that included all of the bad things that go along with that. How he neglected his duties as a father. How he would waste money and time getting drunk or high on the weekends. Going to drug houses and the things that go with that. Can anyone imagine the heartache that he encountered when he would bring his little daughter with him to the drug houses only to wait until she fell asleep so that he could satisfy his desires?
That Friday, he began to feel awful. So much so, that he couldn’t concentrate on his work. It got harder and harder and he began to feel pushed into a corner and out of control, squeezed. He didn’t know what was happening to him only that it had to stop. It was the hardest emotional and psychological attack that had ever happened to him. He was shaking and not feeling well. Then came the thoughts of taking his life to put an end to it all. Only then did he realize that it was the one year anniversary of his divorce. He then began to remember all that divorce meant to him and his children. He thought that if he took his life, he would not be a burden to anyone and he wouldn’t have to re-live the things going through his mind.
Mark was his boss at the time. He gave Mark a lot of respect and thought of him as a good person. Mark was someone he could like and get along with. They had a mutual respect and friendship for each other as coworkers. He thought to himself that he probably could get Mark to let him go home early for the day. That way he could take his life. He had the means to do it; he just had to get Mark to say he could go home.
He went over to Mark’s office to talk to him. He said, “Mark, it’s the one year anniversary of my divorce and I can’t keep my mind on my work. Can I go home?” Mark said, “Can I pray for you instead?” He said, “OK” and he sat down on the empty chair in Mark’s office. Mark held his hands and Mark began to pray. He never had a man pray for him before. He began to cry. Mark then told him that he went to church and wanted to know if he ever went to church. He said no and that he hadn’t gone in a long time. Mark gave him the phone number of the Pastor and asked him to call the Pastor and find out when church is on Sunday. Mark asked if he would think about coming to church that coming Sunday morning. He told Mark that he would think about it. He remained at work that day and didn’t go home. The next 36 hours or so he can’t remember.
The next thing he remembered was waking up on Sunday morning and getting ready to go to church. He didn’t want to, but kept getting ready and actually drove to the church. When he parked he still didn’t want to be there, but the church door opened and there stood Mark.
Mark took him to Sunday School and then had someone sit with him in the service while Mark led worship as the worship leader. Then the Pastor began to preach and he felt something different happening in him. That sermon had his name on it. He began to cry again and then the Pastor said there was someone there today that didn’t want to live the life he is leading any longer. The Pastor then said I want him to come up here to the altar. There is someone waiting for him and His name is Jesus. He immediately went to the altar to pray but didn’t know how. Right then and there, Mark put down his guitar and came down to where he was kneeling and asked if he knew what was happening. He said no, but he didn’t want to live like he was living any more. Mark then led him to accept Jesus as his personal Savior. They hugged each other and prayed for over 2 hours.
Two days earlier, he had plans to take my life. On Sunday, July 18, 1999, God had different plans and saved him from eternal death and gave him eternal life. That was 15 years ago and this is now.
Just as God worked in the lives of the children of Israel to make a blessed change in their present and spiritual state, God worked in this man’s life. He didn’t realize that there was a God who could love him. He wondered, “How could you love someone like me?” God poured out his love on him that day. And his life was never the same.
Tomorrow, we’ll look even more deeply into this man’s life when Part 2 examines, “How God Restores”.
Heavenly Lord, thank You for the cross. Thank You for meeting us at our time of need and giving us Your Son Jesus to forgive us, cleanse us, and set us on the path that You have chosen. Help us Lord to live a life that gives You the glory. In Jesus Name. AMEN.
Don’t believe me, believe God!