Maybe you have seen it in a movie or experienced it? A very loud explosion erupts and deafens an individual. There is nothing but a nearly silent, high-pitched ringing that drowns out the continuing war. Bombs explode. Gunfire is blazing past, but the individual is only able to hear the hum. Temporarily unreceptive to what could be heard, and forced to only rely on the other senses.
Forced silences. While being encircled by the violence of war, the loud explosions near the ear forces the deafness.
Some time ago, I was within my own war. Right in the middle of combat. Combatting between self, the inner-spiritual and my personal mental health. What a war at that time in my life it truly was. Beginning with the thoughts of being well on my way to hell, I had quit taking prescription drugs, illegal drugs, stopped drinking and joined a cult that some referred to as, “church.” I was a huge mess. My brain was completely haywire from the abrupt termination of all of these substances. It was also not a good time to be caught up within an extremely unhealthy body of followers. Denomination, institutionalized ritual and manipulation ‘in the name of the Lord’ is what drove me to think that everyone was the enemy. That included my family, the majority of the world and even myself. A deadly combination of all of these things within that season of my life waged a war that had me in an unbeknown darkness. I wasn’t blinded by the light of His glory, but by mine. More like a member of the Third Reich instead of a member of His Church. Righteous. Full of pride. Very lost. Very wrong.
I would scream at my family, cuss at my kids over any little thing they did that I found to be unacceptable and many times I would spank them. I’d yell at my wife and belittle her if she didn’t do what the church had said. I would force them all to sit and read the Bible nearly every night. We had to attend every sermon, Bible study, Sunday school class and fellowship invitation. We had to serve. We had to be perfect, even though my anger was raging. Even though the abusive church and my abusive ways were at hand. When my family would point those things out to me, I would quickly excuse them. I would justify my actions with my self-absorbed righteousness.
I lost the war when my wife left. When she took the children with her, that silence fell upon my ears as I saw the war passing before my eyes. I retreated into my space and began to cry out to the Lord for His strength.
I left the churches and their manipulation. I visited doctors. I read hundreds of views on the Lord and talked with people who obviously saw Him in ways I never had within the abusive, so-called churches. I found many different things within deep studies of His Word and prayer that were never found within the controlled environments of the brick and mortar establishments. Truths of worshiping in Spirit and truth. The true definition of His Church and Ecclesia. The pagan ways of the earthly church that had invaded The Gospel. The out of context manipulation pressed on the uneducated Body. So much became very clear within my retreat. What I began to hear as my ears were opened, and what my eyes began to see, brought silence to the war.
A new battle began. The world, my flesh and the adversary try desperately to drag me back into war. This time, I had THE true leader; Christ Jesus. I was and am now led by His true righteousness! His Spirit! His voice! I need Him like the air I breathe, for without Him I am the same wretch I’ve always warred against.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control now fill the battlefield…
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Forever. – Psalm 23 (NKJV)
Perhaps the silence has something to teach us? The silence within my war, after an explosion had left me deafened, left me with a greater appreciation for the things I would hear from then on. It sharpened my ability to use sight. It forced me to feel His presence in a more intimate manner. I was able to taste the wretchedness and sin weaved within the doctrines of men. Within myself. It placed His bloodshed over this entire war, cleansing the destruction that had transpired.