One last cry . . . that’s what it’s going to take to come out of your own, personal Egypt ( . . . bondage). Whatever it is—that experience, that thing, that person from your past . . . that memory that just keeps gnawing at you, it is interfering with your present and keeping you from the promise of a greater future, the future YAH has purposed for you.
A “one last cry” is not just about wet eyes, a good sob, and dropping tears. This cry is a cry of repentance, a cry of forgiveness—forgiving others, forgiving ourselves. It is a cry of release. It is a cry to Return Unto Me (the Most High) and it is a cry that comes only when you’re ready to let go of your past and live (in the present).
I’ve had my own share of good, long and hard “one last cries” before making life-changing decisions at crucial and pivotal times in my life. (And, they were worth every tear dropped.) No matter what you are facing (or what lies behind you), no matter what mess you’ve gotten yourself into, no matter what is falling apart around you, all the suffering, pain and confusion has a way of bringing you to a quiet place (quiet is good).
Usually, you’ll arrive broken, bewildered and crumpled over, asking yourself: “What am I going to do?” (Your answer will determine the course and the outcome of the rest of your life.)
When you come face-to-face with the reality of your existence, where all your choices have brought you to, and life in general looks like a terrible mess, it’s easy, while groping for answers, to think things will never improve. Don’t let the past weigh you down. As stated in the Mishnah, if you want to survive this world, you must equip yourself with a heart for suffering; and, who has suffered more than any man on earth? (Do you not yet know?) Surely, HaMashiach will help you put things into perspective. If you follow him, he will bring you through, with promise. (Believe me, he has walked the walk. He knows the way.)
Consider how long the world has existed before you and how long it will last after you. Then you will discover that your life lasts but a single day and your suffering but a single hour.CODEX 1, PAGES 5-6, VERSE 9, THE SECRET BOOK OF JAMES (NAG HAMMADI)
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?
We can feel like we’ve been through hell when we try to maneuver through life on our own. The truth is, we have not yet been insulted. We have not yet been accused falsely. We have not yet been thrown in to prison. We have not yet been condemned unjustly. We have not yet been crucified without reason . . . as HaMashiach was by the evil one.
When you’ve had enough of living life your way and allow yourself a “one last cry” . . . the cry is humbling . . . it levels you, gets you nice, flat and unleavened and then, the Most High asks, “Why not you?”
When you’re done wringing out your eyes and you’ve made a choice to repent, to turn from your old ways, while there is not always a guarantee things will be better (instantaneously), your whole situation will change dramatically for the better. But you must have hope, seek truth, listen carefully, choose each next step wisely, and faint not—AND DON’T LOOK BACK OVER YOUR SHOULDER! Above all, you will need to be obedient and you will need to have vision.
Two stories from Torah that give evidence of this are: The story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the story of Exodus.
Both stories are examples of the weight, the cost, the price we will pay for lacking in vision and obedience. One story (The Israelites leaving Egypt) the outcome is long and drawn out, and the other (Lots wife leaving Sodom), is swift and quick. Either way, if we don’t follow through and grow past our past, we will be enslaved to it. It can be a quick or slow death, but it will be death, ultimately.
GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES
First, let’s think on the Exodus and the generation of Israelites that were circling in the desert, the ones that had to die off . . . Remember, they couldn’t cross-over into the promised lands because of their slave mentality. They couldn’t let go of the past and their ignorance kept them from any hopes of a greater future. From glory to glory, they grumbled and complained, pining for the life they left behind. Mind you, it wasn’t because life was so good in Egypt(!); it was because that life of enslavement was the only life they knew, and they weren’t open to learning or experiencing anything new. Long story short, a generation of Israelites were sentenced to die-out in the wilderness. (Today, our story repeats itself. Many Hebrews, the remnant, are still going around in circles. Sadly, two-thirds of our people will perish in the desert of their own minds. More foolish, blind and tragic choices will be made.)
Many times, people will choose a painful past they know too well (no matter how bad it was or is) over an uncertain future, because the outcome is already known to them; they’ve already lived it. They already know what to expect, they’re familiar with the challenges, and they are comfortable with all possibilities that that life has to offer. The unknown, to them, is so much more frightening; they would rather stick to what they know and fail again, than to take on a new challenge and experience something true.
Our motivations for looking back (over the shoulder) are all grounded in fear and hopelessness. There is a fear of losing “what was” and hopelessness, unbelief in “what could be,” and it gets messier. Depending what you are holding on to, there are all sorts of topsy-turvy emotions involved. Your memories can be contaminated by them, along with internal biases and other outside forces. Which means, much of what you remember may not always be so authentic, after all. You could be holding on to pretenses. And, a false anything conflicts with reality. You will end up living a lie. (Oh, there is so much more I can say right now, but let’s stay on topic.)
REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE
Well now, yes, let’s have a look at Lot’s wife . . .
It was a sore and nefarious situation, and she (and her family) were in the heat of it. Lot’s house was surrounded by the city men (both young and old) from every quarter of Sodom. These men were wild and feverish, swollen with lust, wickedly pressing upon his door to get to the two men, the angels, who had lodged with Lot for the eve. (If you don’t know the story, I encourage you to read it now—and get back to this post later.)
Now, early in the story, Torah gives no mention of Lot’s wife and she is left un-named (although, she later earned the nickname “Ado,” meaning fussy, destructive). But really, we don’t know much about her and how she felt about anything that was happening around her. We don’t know if she was even happy with Lots choice to live in Sodom, in the first place. What we do know, up to this point, she had already been through a Lot. (Excuse the pun.)
In short (and with great speculation, for we aren’t told when they got married) she could have fled Egypt with him when he left with his Uncle Abram and Sarai (later to be re-named Abraham and Sarah). They all could have traveled together south with all their loads of riches and possessions. Remember when Abram and Lot found that the land was not suitable for them both and conflict erupted between their herdsmen? To avoid hard feelings, Abram proposed a solution to split up. Perhaps, Lot’s wife was with him when he surveyed the land and chose to pitch his tent towards Sodom.
Lot ended up settling there, but it doesn’t sound like things in his life were ever really settled. Scripture tells us Sodom was a wicked place. (Abram could only hope Lot kept truth at the center of his life.) There was much political strife, battles among the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, the economy was suffering, and at one point, Lot was even taken captive. Abraham (he was much older and his name had been changed by then) ended up having to rescue Lot. Whether his wife was with him through it all or not, Lots life was full of challenge and change.
(Back to the ensued conflict.) While, Lot was eager to invite the angels into his home, and a bit anxious to offer-up his virgin daughters to thwart the insidious demands (I was like—”!!”), he was rather hesitant to follow the angels’ commands. His sons-in-law mocked him and refused his warning. He even lingered a bit and the angels had to warn him again (and again) before leading him, his wife, and his daughters out and away to safety. With destruction at their backs and trouble on their heels, I can’t even imagine what “Ado” was thinking(!).
Maybe, Sodom was her hometown and she grew up there. I don’t know, but she defied the Most High’s command and looked back. Having to leave Sodom, maybe this wasn’t the ending she asked for, she hoped for, or not the way she thought it should be. Maybe she was leaving someone she loved behind. Maybe she just wanted to catch a glimpse of destruction. We may never know her motivation, but without question, her disobedience cost her her life and she was turned, in her tracks, into a pillar of salt—stuck, looking back.
I hope these two examples have served you well. The whole foundation of Torah comes down to this: Seek Me and Live! We are to seek out the Most High through constant study of his Torah. This is the way we understand his will and pray to him to help us fulfill it. When we read and study, we are to take each lesson to heart and apply it in our own lives. HaMashiach is our guide. He shows us how to walk the path, but we must be willing to follow and keep our eyes on him.
When we learn to live in the present, we minimize our suffering in life, and what we need to leave behind, we learn to dust our feet and keep life moving. Of course, when our hearts are heavy, nothing beats a “one last cry.”
When we are safely grounded, on a firm foundation, we are able to look back, fully fledged, and survey our life, where we have been, all that we have encountered and overcome. Only then can we triumphantly seize the lessons learned and use them to witness, to educate, to encourage and to give hope to others.
Yes, there will be tears . . . but your tears . . . will be turned into tears . . . of joy.
Excuse me, y’all . . . (tears) . . . free fallin’.