“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.'”Nehemiah 1:8-9
I love this plea of Nehemiah’s in the middle of his sincere and mournful prayer on the behalf of Jerusalem. Because even though he mutters these words to God with Jerusalem and its people in mind, it is so easy for this verse to be muttered on the behalf of an individual.
We have all been unfaithful. Sometimes because we wanted to. Other times because we’re just naturally unfaithful–it’s human nature.
And because we are unfaithful, God scatters us across the earth–even to the farthest corners. Although this can be interpreted as a physical, mental, or spiritual relocation, the truth that God forces us out of the circumstances where we were found unfaithful remains the same.
In our new location, we sit.
We walk in darkness and fear and uncertainty and hopelessness and anxiety.
Sometimes we’re not even aware that we are “there.” It just becomes a new lifestyle we adapt to.
I know, personally, the hopelessness and darkness that consumed me while I was in the “there.” There was no light or no warmth. There was only the darkness of depression and the hopelessness of apathy. And no matter how much I wanted to get out, there I stayed in my continued behaviors of unfaithfulness and self-accommodation.
Turning my feet onto the path of returning to and obeying God was like trying to steer a toddler away from that plate of cookies sitting precariously near the counter’s edge.
But I realized that I couldn’t and never would turn my feet on my own. It had to be God.
I had to finally repent of my behaviors in my heart, and plea to have the darkness and apathy removed from me. And God did the rest.
He gathered me up and brought me back from the farthest horizon, bringing me to the place He chooses as a dwelling for His Name. He gathered me up and placed me on the Rock that is higher than I.
All I had to do was return to Him with a sincere and broken and crying heart–a heart that yearned to obey His commands once again.
And He turned my feet. Picked me up and brought me back.
I feel like someone needs to hear this:
Someone out there has been walking in the land of deep darkness for a while. Consumed, overwhelmed, engulfed by it. Feeling like there’s enough room in that darkness to roam around yet feeling trapped by a sense of impenetrable borders around the darkness.
Do not fear. God has come to gather you up and bring you back to Him and His Dwelling. You are saved. You are safe. You are loved. You are in the Light.
He is the Light of the world. And He does not want you walking in darkness any longer. He does not like when you disobey Him and let the darkness surround you as you indulge in luxurious and frivolous behaviors. All He wants is you. All He wants is take care of and mend your broken spirit and make you whole in Him.
You can come home. Just return to God, the Light of your life. Obey His commands that He set up to give you boundaries that keep you from being swallowed up by the darkness. Let Him pick you up and carry you home.
For home is where He dwells.
Facing the Light,