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A Time to Cast Away Stones

A Time to Cast Away Stones

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Published by Thom Hunter
If you struggle with some secret addiction of your own, I hope you will hear the still-small-voice of God long before He finds He has to roar through your life like thunder to gain your attention and reclaim your soul.
If you struggle with some secret addiction of your own, I hope you will hear the still-small-voice of God long before He finds He has to roar through your life like thunder to gain your attention and reclaim your soul.

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Published by: Thom Hunter on Jul 24, 2012
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The Blessing of the Taking Away By Thom Hunter -- http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/
Naked I came from my mother's womb,and naked I will depart.
 
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
 
May the name of the Lord be praised. -- Job 1:21
My first stepfather was a colorful character who could re-draw himself whenever necessary forthe purpose of survival. He possessed a catalog of addictive behaviors and could shift from one tothe other so easily it made it hard for anyone to put a finger on his issues. His destructivebehaviors spilled over into the lives of everyone who knew him, yet somehow he could becharming and likable and always seemed worthy of one more chance. All of this, of course, led toeventual intense hatred towards him from all angles and I believe he died a very lonely andconfused man who at some point could no longer shift his chameleon skin and became just acommon lizard in the dust, overlooked.His greatest affliction was narcissism. He could never be wrong. He could be drunk and broke andabusive and cruelly sarcastic and judgemental, but it was all because the world was out to get
him
.I remember a day when I came walking home from school with a group of friends and my sistersand found him spreadeagled on an old mattress on the patch of lawn in front of our apartment
 
building wearing only a tight t-shirt stretched across his swollen belly and gaping boxer shortsand black dress socks. He was protesting our broken air-conditioner, arguing in a loud voice withthe elderly woman in a beehive hairdo who owned the building. We probably hadn't paid the rent. . . but
his
rights were being violated. I wish I could say that moment stands as the mostembarrassing moment of my life, but I have since superseded it with my own actions.I think, looking back, that it was not the world that was out to get my stepfather. Maybe it wasGod. I don't really know for sure, but Michael made it very clear that he had no need of God. Hehad his Black Crow whiskey, his poker friends, chocolate-covered cherries, cigarettes, TVdinners, Jackie Gleason and his typewriter repairman tools. He also had the ability to crycrocodile tears and fake fainting spells and gain the sympathy of others when his behaviorreached the reeking point. He was too busy with himself to ever sense the presence of a God whocould have forgiven all and given Michael a life of meaning.Michael is on my list of forgiven. Of course he had an impact on my life. He entered it when I wasonly a little boy. However, beyond standing as a lesson of where life leads when we reject God'sattempts to get our attention, his influence on me now is about as useful as his old typewritertools.I believe there are times when God does work in extreme ways to get our attention. He removesus from the routine of life; reminds us that everything we live for can fall away in an instant;that even the things we most love, in which we most invest, that we slowly built and admired,can fade and crumble into dust where lizards run.For some of us, God has to go to great extremes. Shortly after my secret struggle with unwantedsame-sex attraction went from shadow to spotlight, I would look in the mirror in the morning andinto my own eyes and remind myself that I was indeed still me. In a relatively short time I hadgone from a father surrounded by his five grown children and spouses and growing number of grandchildren, a very-involved church member, a well-established manager in a large companywith significant responsibility, a man with plenty of friends and acquaintances and businessassociates . . . and a secret that was bouncing around all those areas like a spike-covered ball,slowly poking holes in my comfortable existence. The secret then exploded like a landmine andtook everything away with it.
 
A relatively short time later: no relationship with my kids, no contact with the grandkids, nocomfortable mid-management job, no respected business associates, no church even. But . . . nosecret either. No spike-covered ball, no land-mine.If you struggle with some secret addiction of your own, I hope you will hear the still-small-voiceof God long before He finds He has to roar through your life like thunder to gain your attentionand reclaim your soul.While it is scary and lonely when life enters a period of isolation from the things we have builtinto it . . . it is in these dry places where no one can or maybe wants to help us that we find outGod is truly our only source. Our families, our jobs, our possessions, even our church friends cannot heal us or protect us from ourselves. Only God can do that. And when we shift our attentionaway from our gains . . . and our secrets . . . He will.Pretty much everything I had and everything I thought I ever wanted was gone. For whatremained, including an incredible wife and a beautiful home, I was thankful, even in sorrow. Ican look back now and realize God was, through removal, preparing me for a transition. And forrestoration. If you're scratching your head at the losses in your life -- even if those losses are theconsequences of your own actions -- you may be on the brink of restoration. Unless, of course,you reject it, as did Michael, and choose the dust.The Bible is full of people who lost everything only to have it restored. Abraham was separatedfrom his family and ended up in the Promised Land with countless descendants. Joseph's brotherstossed him out of the family and he became the second most powerful man in the world. Moseswandered in the desert for 40 years before he delivered his people from slavery. And David hid incaves and wondered aloud why everyone wanted to kill him. He was aware of his sins . . . but hewas also aware of the greatness of his God. And God chose David to be a King.I found AI suddenly had no one to impress. No business associates to try to outdo. No committeesto run. I was clearly no longer held up as a role model; perhaps not even as a peer. Self-wreakedrejection has a way of unraveling any layers of self-confidence and self-assuredness . . . self anything actually. But whatever I was at that moment, I was the beginning of what God wascreating me to be now. Much like we scrape off the old flaking pain of a house and prepare it tobe new again, I was enduring the scraping. Believe me, He more than caught my attention. Thepast few years have been, without a doubt, the strangest time in my life. Hence the reason I

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