Out of Exile: Day Seven – Embracing Your Dark Side

Welcome to this 40 day journey. I am working to help you (especially pastors) understand your losses and overcome them. Too many pastors live in denial of their losses and it eventually undermines their ministry.

pastors

Called to Exile

I left off on Day Six talking about Abram. Abram was most likely excited at God’s call to move to Canaan. He was full of hope with visions of changing the world for God. But when he got to Canaan he was met with two unexpected companions: Canaanites and famine. He didn’t see that coming.

No sooner does he arrive that he feels compelled to leave Canaan.

Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe. Genesis 12:10

I wonder if you’ve ever done that…left some place soon after you got there? The “famine” was too great.  It’s disillusioning. You believe God is personal and he speaks to you. But when things didn’t line up like you thought you “heard” you didn’t know what to do. Sometimes it’s easier to just leave and start over. 

We are all Abram before God transforms us into Abraham. 

That’s what Abram did. But look what happens when he gets there. It’s as bad as Canaan, only in a different way. He’s afraid that pharaoh will kill him and take his wife so he tells his wife:

Please say that you’re my sister. Then everything will be alright for me, and because of you I will live.  Genesis 12:13

 This is a nice way to say, Please prostitute yourself to save my butt. Pharaoh was always looking to add another beautiful woman to his harem, and that’s what he did when he saw Sarah.  Abram did two things that he probably never thought he’d do: lie and sell out his wife.  How could this happen? What could drive him to do such things? Exile.

Exile puts you to the test and brings out your dark side. That’s one of the main reasons we hate it so much. Not only do we hate the Canaanites and the famine, we hate seeing the ugly way we respond to our new situation. We like to think we are better than that; we are above that. This is where many people turn to denial to salve their pain. But the bold and the brave embrace their dark side and invite God to do his work in them.

This story is here to help everyone called by God. We are all Abram before God transforms us into Abraham. Exile is what enabled God to call Abram his friend.

What has exile exposed in your life? Take a minute and comment at the very bottom of this page.

Also, please share this on Facebook so other people in exile will find some encouragement.

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2 thoughts on “Out of Exile: Day Seven – Embracing Your Dark Side

  1. Lisa

    Forgive me, this one is hard to be concise on. Bare with me plz. In Genesis 20 we get a few more details about Abraham’s “survival strategy” of half truth and hiding behind a skirt. Sarai/h was Abram/ham’s sister…half sister (Genesis 20:12) in fact. It was the truth but not the whole truth. He left out the wife part. Sarai supported Abram’s crazy plan to be “sister” before they even arrived in Egypt as a “kindness” to Abraham and so that it might go well for both of them. She was courageous in my opinion. Abram/ham was not a young foolish man; he was old enough to have learned how to pick his battles carefully and operate a little more discreetly. Apparently, it was a cultural standard among the Egyptians to steal wives and then kill their husbands.

    I lean toward empathy for them. They were trying to discern ways to stay together among treacherous unbelievers and navigate a wicked cultural practice. How does a lowly shepherd (weakened from famine) take on a Pharaoh and a King? Start a war? Or does He let God fight for him? How are a Pharaoh and King changed in their mode of operation? They have a supernatural encounter with God fighting for that Abraham, the prophet. (Check out the reference to plagues-Gen 12:17, and dreams 20:3-7)How is the culture practice changed? Through leaders who might think twice about their practices.

    In one of my early exile experiences, I saw missionaries do desperate things because they are scared or fearful. Did they experience a God that would fight for them? I hope so. Does God give us mercy and unmerited favor? Every day-thank God for Jesus the Savior- (we would never survive the Father’s justice on our own!) Lord-,save us from ourselves! Even if we aren’t transformed in the moment, we might actually gain a better understand of the character of God.

    The experience that shocked me on the field was hearing of godly people paying bribes. My hubby and I chose not to pay bribes. Which made our tasks 10x more harder and full of hassles but we were living clean by civil laws. We prayed for courage to live in the truth and in the light. We met plenty more public officials than the other missionaries as a result of our agreement of “no bribes”. We also had more opportunities to share our reason for wanting to be there. Insert gospel.

    The darkness that I caved to was “anger” and “fear “. I learned through journaling that my anger was off the chart when I was hungry and tired. In that process of quietly recording my fits of rage, I learned I needed to take better care of my wellness and learn to trust the Lord more. It was important for God’s work. While I hated my darkness, and knew it was wrong. I was also aware that Jesus said, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”

    In order to reveal my darkness, I had to be stripped and laid bare. I hated my darkness, I didn’t want to “embrace” it. But I didn’t know how to get rid of of it immediately either. Seeking God through confession (to God,my husband, myself) I was healed. I recommend embracing the Light of the World! Light has a way of chasing the darkness away!

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Just a few comments back for you:
      One fruit of exile is that you develop a new appreciation for people’s pain/struggle and are slower to judge. I think we often enter exile thinking that either we ARE doing it RIGHT or we CAN do it RIGHT. We are legalists. But exile strips us of that (at least it should). So, I’m not judging Abram’s compromises. Just naming them. I’m sure he saw a new side to himself. Do I understand his dilemma? Absolutely.

      Today I’m finishing off the writing of a series on Samson. One of my points is that God works with broken vessels. None of us can boast. Samson had issues, but God used him in spite of them.

      You seemed to contrast embracing the dark with embracing the light, preferring one over the other. I would say you need both. You have to embrace the dark before you can embrace the light. There is no reason to search for the light unless you realize your darkness. I’d imagine that’s what happened with you as you discovered your anger and fear. Thanks for the insights!

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