matter how hard she tries Irene just can't escape the prison
she's in. Who knows if she really wants to. She's been there
so long, now it just feels like home.
don't surround her, but mirrors do. She doesn't see past
herself and her own little world…her own problems, her own
agenda. She doesn't know what she's missing. Perhaps she
you know her?
a conversation, she does most of the talking. Surely you
want to hear every intimate detail of her life? But when
listening to your deepest thoughts, her eyes glaze over
into oblivion as she absent-mindedly shakes her head as
if she's listening.
you know she's really not.
not to be too hard on her. It's just that she can't hear
you. She's imprisoned right where the enemy wants her to
you ever been there?
have. Probably you have.
was there. She was a young woman taunted constantly by her
husband's other wife. Oh, how Hannah longed for a baby!
She became consumed with this desire, to the point of her
beloved husband asking…
why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted?
Don't I mean more to you than ten sons…?" (I Samuel
did not respond…she couldn't! This prison of self-absorption
and unfulfilled dreams is not one for reaching out. It's
confining. It's solitary.
Jake left our home, now fourteen years ago, I was heartbroken.
We had loved and cared for him for over a year -- from the
time his birthmother gave him up, at two days old! Surely
God wouldn't take Jake from our home and give him back to
a woman who had nearly destroyed him with her addictions!
But the courts ruled in her favor…ultimately we knew that
it was God's decision. Even though we didn'tunderstand.
kept Jake until the very last possible moment. God provided,
even in our sorrow. That very same evening, August 26, 1996,
I went into the hospital to deliver little Chase.
I was delighted when Chase was born! But I was imprisoned
within my walls of mirrors. Hurting, angry, indignant, selfish…
We step into this prison quite innocently, you know, as
David did so long ago when he grieved over his own son Absalom.
had fought against his dad, threatened his dad, slandered
and sought to destroy his dad.
was killed in battle. David's own warriors were forced to
kill David's son just to protect their king.
death devastated King David:
my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died
instead of you-O Absalom, my son, my son!" (II
was broken for his son, of course. He must have thought…
If only I had done things differently! He just couldn't
get over it! He refused to let go of his grief and he became
incarcerated. Self-absorbed. Despairing.
Joab, David's army commander stepped in and confronted David.
He knew his words of honesty might perhaps cost him his
life. But he could no longer be silent:
you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your
life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives
of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you
and hate those who love you! You have made it clear today
that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I
see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today
and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men.
I swear by the Lord that if you don't go out, not a man
will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for
you than all the calamities that have come upon you from
your youth till now" (II Samuel 19:5-7).
it was a wake-up call for David. He refused to stay incarcerated
any longer. He left his prison of mirrors and went to his
what about Irene? Is there any hope for her? True, she's
had some "hard-knocks" in her life. No one would
fault her bitterness or regret or self-absorption.
no one likes to spend much time with her, either. She's
abrasive. Her moods are dictated by her circumstances. She's
full of self-pity. She's unpredictable
really sad thing is that she has heard sermon after sermon
on trust and joy, renewal and depending upon God. She decides
to let go of her problems but that only lasts for a day,
or two, and then she's incarcerated again.
she enjoy her imprisonment? One might wonder…but perhaps
it's just that she's comfortable there. She's been there
most of her life.
there hope for Irene? There was for Hannah. True, God granted
her heart's desire. He gave her a son! But within a short
time, she gave little Samuel back to God. She left him in
the temple with Eli. And she was willing. Because she was
very thing that she wanted more than anything in life…she
gave away as a gift, to Him.
what about David?
too, gave up his son. Oh, it was hard! His quest was quite
different from Hannah's! David's son was not a God-follower…he
didn't even love his own father…David hated to see Absalom's
life come to an end in such futility.
without God is indeed meaningless…death without Him is so
David had to give Absalom up in this way. Losing a loved
one to eternal death is indeed the hardest loss of all.
Those mirrored prison walls threatened to enclose him! But
he stepped away. Whether he truly felt like it at the moment,
he followed God's call in his life. He stepped up to his
responsibility. He refused the moaning, groaning voice of
the enemy, calling him to self-pity. Calling him to remorse,
to grief. Calling him to incarceration.
he allowed himself to be free…to be changed.
hope for Irene. But no one can pull her away from her confinement.
Leaning on the Father, she must free herself. She must place
her eyes on the One who truly matters.
left my prison, finally, but it wasn't easy. With Chase
in my arms, I stepped away, leaving Jake in the Father's
arms. It was excruciating, but it was crucial. Sometimes
I look back. Sometimes I wonder "what if." Sometimes
circumstances threaten to imprison me once again. But I
don't like the reflection I see when I am enclosed in a
mirrored dungeon…when I am incarcerated.
your minds on things above, not on earthly things…Col.
remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness
and the gall, I well remember them, and my soul is downcast
within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have
of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions
never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore
I will wait for Him" Lamentations 3:19-24.
what about you? What hurts you today? Are you facing possible
incarceration, or are you already there? Beyond those walls
of mirrors, there are different reflections for you: ones
of hope, reflections from the Father. Oh, how He loves you.
© 2010. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights