Where in the world is a good, hydraulic couch cushion when you need one? I’ve finished my devotions and I can’t get up. I can envision my Christmas list in a couple of years:
- Replacement batteries for all seeing, hearing, and walking devices.
- A memo pad that sticks to the refrigerator…bathroom mirror…kitchen counter…my kid…and all outside doors.
- Extra shoe inserts for all foot maladies.
- Fashionable reading glasses with lights (they make ’em).
- Head-to-toe arthritis cream.
- A case of 5-hour Energy Shot drinks. Make that two cases.
- And the big one I mentioned above…a portable, light-weight, hydraulic lifter I can use for any chair, couch, pew or car seat I happen to light upon.
There are just some days it’s hard to get up, stand up, cheer up, wake up, lift up, or lighten up. You ever have those? Today is one of those days. Gravity seems like it’s been weight-lifting and has wrapped itself around my waist, my perspective, my prayers and my joy. I sat anchored on the couch, fighting invisible ambushes of guilt, condemnation, and hopelessness. Just when I was about to go back to bed, I prayed “Lord, I’m too tired to swing my sword. My body hurts too much to be productive. My heart is bent low and my thoughts are fighting darkness. Unless You defend and help me, I won’t answer the phone, respond to emails or text today because I don’t want to throw discouragement on someone else.” (I admit, there was a small thread of whining and self-pity in there.)
Since it was the 17th, I opened my Bible and turned to Psalm 17, and tossed a bookmark in Proverbs 17.
“Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from Your presence…”
Vindication from the Lord’s Presence? VINDICATION…from His Presence? I hadn’t even been praying about events in my life where I felt like I was on trial!
If someone could scrounge through the menagerie of my thoughts, they would find a box of unspoken defenses to the woman who let me know her disappointments about the women’s ministry I oversee. In another dark corner lies a volcanic mountain of words that have been spoken of my failure in past relationships. It seems so often like the enemy has his finger on the “eruption” button, so whenever I make a mistake of any kind, he hits the trigger and I am flooded with hot embers of shame and fiery tears of disappointment.
This season of stillness, weakness, and what I would label the “inability to perform” has surfaced a very loud, invasive, and relentless enemy in my life. Me. If someone else won’t let me know how I’m falling short or failing in some area, I’ll rehearse it to myself and ruthlessly hit every area: parenting, marriage, friendships, failures to reach out, lost contact with family, not taking better care of my home, yada, yada, yada, ad nauseum.
Can you hear it? The jury comes back into the courtroom: “Guilty on all counts.”
Vindication…from His Presence.
Immediately, the picture I used to own of the woman with the alabaster box weeping at Jesus’ feet, came flooding into my mind.
Luke 7:36-50╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡tells the beautiful story of a woman so gravity-filled with sin, so heavily-laden with brokenness, that she finds solace at the feet of Jesus, and pours out her most valuable possession; her heart. Meanwhile, she’s surrounded by those with self-inflated pride, hydraulically inclined ego’s and puffed up perspectives, that can only condemn and project silent portrayals of rejection. And what does Jesus do for the one who is down amidst the ones lifted up? He “vindicates with His Presence.”
To all those that looked upon this woman and formulated judgements, opinions, criticisms, and complaints, the Lord validated, vindicated, and defended her against her accusers. So whether you fight today to stay “upright” in righteousness amidst the heaviness of sin, or you are downcast and weak amidst the strong and elevated, or you feel broken and shame-faced amidst enthroned Pharisees and judges, the best place to be is realized in His Presence. You will find safety, peace, and His freedom as He vindicates you to those around you. And when you find that your own thoughts are having a tribunal and you are driven down in discouragement, at the feet of Jesus, there is vindication:
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses… Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb.4:15, 16
With all due divine respect and holy reverence I say, Jesus is a much more powerful and portable “lifter-upper” than any hydraulic device you can find on Google. He vindicates you to others and silences the critic in your head that says “perfection in performance is required for acceptance.” Such a lie. Such a fertilizer for insecurity. Grace. Grace. Grace. He loves us, just because He loves us.
╬ô├╢┬╝Γö£├¡”The Lord did not give you his love or take you for himself because you were more in number than any other people; for you were the smallest… But because of his love for you, and in order to keep his oath…the Lord took you out with the strength of his hand, making you free from the prison-house….” Deut. 7:7-8 BBE
“But You, oh Lord, are a shield for me,
my glory and the One Who lifts up my head.” Ps. 3:3