Tragedy has a way of bringing hidden things to light. I am thinking primarily of inner things, like attitudes and motives. It would surely be an exaggeration to categorize hurricane Gustav as a tragedy for me personally, but it was most certainly a terrible inconvenience. Over the course of the days that followed there was a wide range of emotions that I have dealt with: sorrow over all the damage that had been done to our city; irritation with all the inconvenience associated with daily life; and sadness because I felt that little concern was shown by people I know in other parts of the country for how I might have been affected by the storm. This last one has been most troubling to me.
As I have pondered this issue (for it has affected me deeply), I have taken it to the Lord in prayer. Although it may be a factual issue, I was concerned that my heart was not right in this matter and that offense was beginning to creep in. So I cried my sorrow out to the Lord and asked Him to adjust my perspective and to help me see this situation as He did.
That night as I was finishing up the book of Colossians, I read these words written by the apostle Paul in the final verse – Remember my chains. I felt the Lord drawing my attention to that verse, so I stopped and read it again. Yes, this is what I want. I want someone to remember my chains. I have felt forgotten. Neglected. Somebody should remember me.
Feeling quite self satisfied, as though this Scripture justified the ugliness that was growing in my heart, I breathed a sigh of relief, certain that God was on my side and that my hurt feelings were warranted. But so softly and more gently than I deserved at that moment, He spoke to me through that verse – “Whose chains have you remembered?”
I had no defense. I had no excuse. Utterly ashamed, I could only cry out “No one’s Lord!”
So, before the world (whoever may be reading this) I confess that there was a plank in my own eye while I was angry about the speck in yours. And I pray that the Lord will help me to remember the chains of others and forget my own.