The Shack – Devo #3

Good morning children of God!  Are you good?  Let me tell you something: I love coffee and I have discovered a new favorite this week!  If you live in North Carolina and you’re not familiar with Counter Culture Coffee out of Durham…you need to get acquainted with one another!  Mmm!  And if you’re not from North Carolina, hit their website up and get some goodness in your home!  My favorite is the Tairora.  Now, to be honest, it’s the only one I’ve tried.  But hot dang!  Mmm!

Hey…I have an idea.  Let’s get off coffee and get on Jesus shall we?  We’re still talking about “The Shack” soundtrack this week.  And today, we’re looking at track five from the one and only Francesca Battistelli.

Devo #3: “Where Were You”

I’m a big fan of Fran.  I’m a Fran fan.  This song seems a little out of the ordinary for her.  It deals with some doubt and the darker side of this faith we share.  But I love it.  So many artists are afraid of reaching into the darkness.  The truth might surprise them, because when they reached into the darkness they weren’t disappointing us.  They were flipping the light switch on.  Another thing you’ll notice about this song right off is that it is basically the Footprints poem.

I’m including a large portion of this song for us today.  But I need you to dig into several things with me so here it is.

“One set of footprints, on the path I’d been on
But you say you’ve been here all along, oh
If you really loved me, like nobody else
Why was I walking through hell

How could you miss me?
With my hands in the air
I thought you were listening
Oh, I thought you’d be there!

Where were you?
When I had no one to turn to
Where were you?
When my worst fears were coming true
Where were you?
I thought you’d come to my rescue”

Here is the first point I want to make which, consequently, falls in the first stanza here or the second verse in the song.  That last line, “why was I walking through hell?“.  I’m sure there are some people who were kind of appalled that Frany would use a cuss word in her song.  I heard someone else sing this in a song at church recently and found myself taken aback (what does that even mean?).  But can I point out something you may or may to have noticed about this word for the Christian?

Hell.  Is not a bad word.
Hell.  Is a place.

Boys and girls, please sit up and pay attention for this.  I believe that worship has been put in a pretty little box with a big sacred bow.  I also believe that if we have indeed boxed up worship…we have placed God in a box.  What I realized in hearing this song is this: we have also boxed up The Dark One and his territory.  That…is…dangerous.  If we underestimate The Dark One or the ground that he possesses…we give him more ground.  You see, without our assistance he has no ground.  Without our assistance…he doesn’t even have a leg to stand on!  But as long as we underestimate The Dark One and his Dark Night his night lingers.  His night expands.  His night extinguishes the lights of our brothers and sisters.  We have to quit treating hell as a word…and start treating it like a country.  A country that will not overcome us.  Ever.  Not only that, but it is a country that has already been overruled.  When the King of Light rose from the grave…the Dark Night was eradicated.

I’m feeling good this morning.  On to point two!

I have recently found an arrogant man.  Stay with me.  This man is the definition of prideful.  And he is prideful…about the power and truth in the word of God.  Do you hear what I’m saying?  This man is proud of God’s Holy word confined in the Holy Bible.  You can watch it puff him up and know that he is indignant on behalf of the word of God.  His name is Steven Furtick.  He is proud of the scriptures and overjoyed at his privilege to preach it; and preach it he does.  He is currently in an Easter series called “The Seven-Mile Miracle“.  He is preaching on the story of the Emmaus road.  I know I’ve spoken on this once.  But this middle stance brings me back to it.  “Where were you God?  I was jumping up and down, screaming out your name, signal fire burning for acres!  How did you miss me?  I was stranded with this stranger.  He was nice and he listened to me as I complained.”  How many times have we said things like this in our prayers?  More importantly…how many times have we listened for an answer?  Wow.  Not a lot for me, you?  Because, if I were to listen, I would find that, much like the two people on the Emmaus road, I had spent seven miles complaining about Jesus’ absence…to Jesus.

Call out to God, “Where were you?!”
Hear His response, “On your left.”
(That response satisfied my Captain America obsession.  What if we hear Him say it a different way…)

Call out to God, “Where were you?!”
Hear His response, “I am here.”
(Notice that our great God wasn’t “were”.  He is “am”.  We ask in past tense where His presence was.  He answers in present tense that He is with me here just as He is with me there.)

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

-James 4:8, ESV

Draw near to God, friends.  He will draw near to you.  Those words aren’t  to make you feel better.  Those words aren’t some church cliché that I can’t back up.  Those words are the words of God.  And that’s a word you can be proud of.

Do me a favor…
Love each other.

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