“And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.” Isaiah 58:12 ESV
This verse has captivated and confused me for about 20 years now. Captivated me because it quite literally kept me from swallowing an entire bottle of pain pills. Since that Wednesday night in 1996, I have spent countless sleepless nights trying to figure out what it means. That’s where the confusion kicks in.
There are so many promises in the Bible that God could have used to get me through that night. Promises that would have made a lot more sense in that moment:
“Cast all your cares on Him” 1 Peter 5:7
“Do not fear for I am with you” Isaiah 41:10
“The LORD is my refuge” Psalm 91:2
I could fill numerous pages with similar promises, but it’s this verse about foundations and repairing the breach that gave me the strength to leave the pills in the cabinet. Was God telling me that His divine plan for my life was to work on a road construction crew? I truly appreciate the work that those men and women did… but seriously God? It had to have some deeper meaning……
Two decades have passed and I am still pondering this verse. That is the purpose of this blog. It is my attempt to work through these things that God has laid on my heart. Over the past couple of months I keep hearing how important it is to share our stories. This is mine. From the breach.
Those who know me best know the struggles that led me to believe that all hope was gone. It was basically a debate over oil and water. Everyone has heard the saying that ‘oil and water don’t mix’. I was having my own oil and water problem.
There were two undeniable truths in my life at that time…
- I was a committed follower of Christ. I loved God with all my heart, soul and mind. I had given my life to Jesus right out of high school. Within a few months I had packed all my belongings into my little Datsun B210 and left home for Bible College. I wanted to dedicate my life to ministering to others.
- I was attracted to other men. I won’t go into the whole ‘choice vs. born that way’ debate right now. It was just a fact. I knew it from a very young age. I also knew that I was not supposed to feel this way.
I can’t be a Christian and be attracted to other men. Oil and water. The two don’t mix. I spent years working to separate the two, but I will save those stories for future blog posts.
It was the failure of those efforts that eventually brought me to that night. Fortunately, God had other plans.
That day in 1996 was just like any other day. I got up and went to work. The only difference is that I was determined that it would be my LAST day. I just could not face another day fighting. I prayed that God would show me grace and understand that I had no other options.
On my way home from work, I heard a commercial on the radio about a missionary that would be speaking at a church that night. It was a church I had never heard of. I went to an Assembly of God Bible College and therefore ONLY attended an Assembly of God church. This was NOT an Assembly church. For some unknown reason, I knew I had to go. I would give God one more chance…
I cannot remember anything about the service. I could not tell you where the missionary was from or even one word that he spoke. I do remember the end of the service. They gave an altar call. I was at the altar within seconds of the invitation.
Have you ever seen someone crying so hard that you start to feel embarrassed for them? Their face gets all disfigured, and they start making sounds like a dying cow. Yep, that was me. I didn’t know any of these ‘non-Assembly’ people. What did I care? I just wanted God to fix things.
In the middle of my wailing I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up and a man handed me an envelope and walked away. At first I figured it was probably a pamphlet that they pass out to all new people. Then I noticed it had MY name on it. I did not know this man or anyone else at this church. I was sure of it.
I opened the envelope and there was a letter. Once again, it was addressed directly to ME. I won’t share the entire letter but the basic premise was ‘I love you and I have forgiven you. Now it’s time to love and forgive yourself’. I am assuming that the ‘I’ in this message was God and NOT the mysterious man who handed me the letter.
The letter ended with that curious verse about repairing the breach.
I know this story may come off as a cheesy Touched by an Angel episode. The fact is that whatever happened in that church (supernatural or coincidental) changed the course of my life. No matter what it all meant, I knew that God cared enough about me to intervene. He must have something in mind.
I am not sure how to repair a breach but I am sure that God will continue to teach me. In the meantime, I plan to share my story (little bite size pieces at a time). It may end up just being something that helps me work through my own issues. I am honestly fine with that.
However, I have a feeling that I am not the only one struggling in the breach (whatever that breach may be).
By the way, after doing a little bit of research I discovered that you actually CAN mix oil and water. Interesting….