AN ATMOSPHERE OF DISGRACE
Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name. Psalm 74:21
Why do seasons of disgrace often span a decade or two? Shame doesn’t usually last a month or two and God can appear to be out of the picture completely; ignoring me when I’m oppressed. When a wilderness marks a large portion of my life, can I know that God is in the process of bringing about redemption? Yes, if I am God’s child. Captivity is never His intended outcome. No daughter of promise is to suffer crippling shame. God said, “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance.” Isaiah 61:7 Shame is to be replaced with double favor. Disgrace is to move out of the way for joy.
I have known seasons of affliction. None of them were short. All taught me perseverance, the power of prayer, and the nature of the wilderness. While great spiritual things prevailed at the end, the beginnings and middle of these seasons were pretty ugly. I had no clue how to navigate the years. Now I do know and that feeds my passion for ministry.
You may be living in an atmosphere of disgrace. Perhaps you are not the child your parents wanted and you still feel the shame even though your parents are aged. Maybe you are the not the wife your spouse really thinks you should be. Criticism is your daily companion. How do you survive the barrage of corrections and insults? God does want to change the heart of your scorner and he can if they are willing. Many, however, live and die without becoming teachable; without knowing how to love. So hear this! Your survival doesn’t depend on them! God longs for you to believe that He is gracious and that He loves you so completely that shame never need crease the lines of your countenance again.
To weather disgrace, you and I must intentionally cultivate a relationship with God that involves an experience of Him in addition to Bible study. We must know how to draw near to Him in prayer, know how to meditate in order to restore peace to our churning souls. He invites us to live in the shelter of His wings so that we can live securely amidst the barrage of comments coming from our oppressors. They revile, He affirms. They condemn, He pardons. They criticize, He encourages. They cut down, He lifts up. For every rejection, a double portion of His love awaits.
Lord, You long to break through the fog of pain to bathe the shamed in Your presence. Let each of us dare to believe that such favor is ours. In Jesus’ name, Amen