Thursday, I cried — that is, really cried — for the first time in a long time. The reason? An unfounded judgment, an unjust accusation, an unendurable attack on my character. The 侮辱、委屈 overpowered any attempt I made to remain collected. Fortunately, the persecutor was not among my audience.
I’ve had more than 48 hours to recuperate, so the emotional tumult has largely subsided. But I still have a bit of this sentiment within me:
Strive, O Jehovah, with those who strive with me;
Battle against those who battle against me. …
Vindicate me according to Your righteousness, O Jehovah my God;
And do not let them rejoice over me. (Psalm 35:1, 24)
Quite the vengeful psalm, isn’t it? Well, what my situation immediately reminded me of was the experience of the children of Israel at Marah. The way the ministry unveils this portion is too awesome. The story is simple:
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter… And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried out to Jehovah, and Jehovah showed him a tree; and he cast it into the waters, and the waters became sweet… (Exodus 15:23-25a)
but its application is profound. At a time when I felt utterly wounded, helpless, and paralyzed by embitterment, when I could do nothing except cry out to Jehovah, He showed me a tree — the crucified and resurrected Christ as the tree of life (cf. Revelation 2:7). This One is the unique “water-changer”: He turns bitter waters to sweet.
Part of the reason this portion came to me so quickly was that it was opened up at the recent Winter Training on Exodus. Brother EM drew an unexpected link to the experience of Hannah…
And her rival provoked her bitterly to irritate her… and she wept and would not eat. … And she was bitter in soul and prayed to Jehovah and wept much. And she made a vow and said, O Jehovah of hosts, if You will indeed look upon the affliction of Your female servant and remember me and not forget Your female servant, but give to Your female servant a male child, then I will give him to Jehovah for all the days of his life, and no razor will come upon his head. … And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord. I am a woman oppressed in spirit….I have been pouring out my soul before Jehovah. (1 Samuel 1:6-15)
Her bitterness, oppression of spirit produced the prayer that brought forth the son who turned the age. How eye-opening to see that this is God’s economy! He arranges our environments, we pour out our soul before Him, and He gains through our cooperation Christ as the unique Nazarite and Overcomer in us so that His kingdom comes just a little more.