There was a time when my brother was playing soccer as a kid… like Kindergarten or 1st grade age. You know how it works when they are that age. Every kid just hovers around the ball so there is like this tornado of kids all in one area. And then… there’s the poor keeper. All by himself down there by the goal. And it’s especially worse when your team is good because most of the action is happening at the other end of the field where the tornado of action is attempting to kick the ball into the other keeper’s goal. Well, my brother’s team was pretty good so the poor little keeper on his team tended to get bored pretty frequently.
Well, this one time, after we had all been watching down to the left for several minutes as our kids hacked away at getting the ball in their goal, there was a breakaway and a kid from the other team busted out of the pack with the ball, sprinting towards… our goal.
And we looked on in horror, amazement, shock, and ultimately complete hilarity as we saw that our keeper, having obviously been bored and… well… ignored for quite a while, had climbed up into the goal ropes. It was no biggie apparently… he was just “hanging out” (haha) until it was time for that breakaway. Only, he had gotten himself so entangled that when he tried to get off… he couldn’t. He was stuck. Stuck dangling from that goal as he watched helplessly while the lucky boy from the other team effortlessly kicked the ball in the goal right under our keeper.
Hilarious, right? Definitely! Ha- you should hear my dad tell the story! It’s even better!
But ya know, I think we have all at some point felt like that keeper. We, for whatever reason, choose to go where we shouldn’t go and we get tangled in the ropes of sin. And then, when the time comes for us to escape… we are stuck. Stuck dangling above watching life go by. Stuck watching someone else win right in front of our eyes. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck.
An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness. Proverbs 5:22
I will admit that more and more I feel separated from the girl that felt entangled by this sin of addiction. But I must say that this verse stuck with me. In fact, I finished my reading this morning and then went back to it because I was still thinking about it. Probably because it is such an accurate depiction of what has been going on with me for yearrrrrrs. And while I am all about moving forward, moving on without the past, I guess at the same time when I take small moments to look back at the past then everything about the present is… better. more manageable.
And I saw this verse and remembered how hopeless I felt tangled up in those ropes. Just as helpless as that boy was in that goal. I think about how helpless people were around me that wanted me to be free, but they could only watch me hang there. Just like we all watched helplessly as that boy dangled there that day. We could not help him. And I think about all the poor women I have despised because they were thin… the ones I thought were winning… even though their thinness might have been the only “goal” they ever scored.
And then I look at that second half of the verse “He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.” And the lack of self-control I had for food was literally going to kill me. I don’t have to be a dietician or a scientist to know that I was pushing the machine of my body to perform in a way that it was not designed. And that will kill a machine.
And all of it was just such great, great foolishness… now I see that. Eating to comfort? to entertain? to rest? From the outside looking in, it was such a ridiculous thing. But… I was too entangled to see it. Too entangled to see that I was going to lose. Too entangled to see that I could not escape…
And I am reminded of how Hezekiah just… asked for life and God granted it to Him. And Hezekiah’s response…
Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live!
Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins.
For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness. Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.
Think of it—the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord. Isaiah 38:16-22
And how good it is to sit back and know that God is ready to heal me. He is ready to rescue me from death. He is ready to untangle me.
He is ready. Am I ready to ask?
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