Where the Streets Have No Name

 heavens-image-mar-30-111

“Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2 RSVA)

Many of you are familiar to the lyrics of this song by the Irish band U2

“Where the Streets Have No Name” by Paul David Hewson (Bono)

I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I want to reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name

I want to feel sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear
Without a trace
I want to take shelter from the poison rain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building
Then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you
It’s all I can do

The city’s aflood
And our love turns to rust
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust
I’ll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name

Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
We’re still building
Then burning down love
Burning down love
And when I go there
I go there with you
It’s all I can do

The meaning in these lyrics show me the author has an understanding of true freedom that few have. I looked up the song in Wikipedia and here is what I found.

 The lyrics were inspired by a story that Bono heard about the streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland, where a person’s religion and income are evident by the street they live on. He contrasted this with the anonymity he felt when visiting Ethiopia and said, “the guy in the song recognizes this contrast and thinks about a world where there aren’t such divisions, a place where the streets have no name.”

 Our cities, our lives in “civilization,” seem to hold us captive. You can actually tell a person’s religion and social status by the street they live on in Belfast! Our identity can become our own prison. We build our city walls based on our insecurities. After years of sectarian upheaval based on the religions of men, Belfast has become a name associated with hatred and violence.

God never commanded man to go forth and build cities to dwell in. Cities were an act of rebellion from the beginning when Cain was cast out by God for killing his brother, Abel. God told Cain that he would be a wander without roots, but what did Cain do? He went out and started building cities and naming them after his children. It is a parable of how we react to the sin in our own lives and the sins of others against us. We build city walls and fortresses to protect ourselves from the consequences of sin. It is here that we find ourselves both building up and then burning down our love for one another because the wounding never ends inside our city walls.

 I have observed that as we receive an emotional wound, unless we release that wound to God for His healing touch and forgive the one who wounded us, the “bullet” lodged in us becomes a weapon from which WE fire upon others that get too close to or bump up against that wound. The wounded now become the wound-ers and the process of wounding and division is continued and multiplied even among the ones we love until we have a world filled with people reacting against one another and filled with hate and blood lust that seeks revenge.

 We’re still building
Then burning down love…

The city’s aflood
And our love turns to rust
We’re beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust

 We, like Cain because of sin and rejection, set out to build up our fortresses, our city walls and they become our children. We hide behind our walls and our streets all have names that define who we are… names like, Molested Child Blvd, Forsaken Lane, Rape Victim Alley, Rejected By Parents Circle, Rejected By Spouse Court, Ravaged By War Avenue, and so on.

But our heavenly Father wants to heal us and eventually as we turn to Him for help, inwardly we feel His love and hear His call to, “tear down the walls that hold us inside and reach out and touch the flame where the streets have no name.” He calls us to be healed by letting go of the pain that so defines who we have become! In the plan of God His love seeks to define who we are not our pain.

 There is another song that deeply touched me as He was bringing me out of my own pain formed by a life of rejection. It is called, “I Will Change Your Name” by D.J. Butler and the lyrics go like this…

I will change your name.

You shall no longer be called,

Wounded, outcast, lonely or afraid.

I will change your name.

Your new name shall be,

Confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one,

Faithfulness, friend of God,

One who seeks my face.

After experiencing many years of rejection and becoming the thing that I hated so much, I heard Jesus sovereignly speak these words right into my heart. It not only healed me, but started me on a life of change where His Father is conforming me into the image of His Son. Jesus has gone out before us, leading the way to “the high desert plain,” to the Zion of God where the streets have no name. It is here that we only build one another up in love and never burn it down again as we reach out and touch HIS holy flame–His flame of love that cleanses and purifies us of the ravages of sin.

 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp [our city walls]… For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:12-16 RSVA)

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14 comments on “Where the Streets Have No Name

  1. Alan says:

    Wow my brother…ministered to me yet again. Lord help me to walk in the truths made know, change me heart and press me into the Image we are likened too. How often I have drank the poison of unforgiveness and expected the other party to die. Forgiveness and the Unity you prayed we would have be manifest in me and my beloved brothers and sisters. So be it Lord

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pat Orr says:

    What a beautiful and challenging message: be identified by His love, not our pain. Many thanks to you, my brother.
    Love in our elder Brother,
    Pat Orr

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Becky says:

    I identified with my pain and anger (read, sadness) for many years. Upon receiving Christ, I had run for 25 years in the far-off country. There was no instantaneous deliverance in my life. There was much to be shown in love and safety, and there was much to face. I hadn’t realized it until a few years ago…though I had identified with the pain, I’d never faced it. What’s running for, after all? And so I come reluctantly and slinking back Home, my tail between my legs, confession at the ready (sort of), mountains of God-baggae and fearful he’s going to tell me that I have to go to church, wear a dress, and stop enjoying rock & roll. It has been nothing of the sort. He knew. But I didn’t. He had to reveal His love to me, and for someone with trust issues of religious people and pastors, God would have to do this HIMSELF. And so he has and is. He has put His arm around this rebel girl of His and said, “Okay, you’ve run long enough. Let’s look at this pain together. I am with you, I am for you, I will not turn.by back or forsake you as we look at this together. I am your healer, your counselor, I [am] here to lead you into all truth (and grace)….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Becky, I have been praying about how to answer a comment that is so open and honest. I truly relate to your wounding and anger and why God had to come in and do what men, especially pastors, could not. I had to go through the same thing… God let me be abused by power in the churches of men, yet, I so wanted to be one of them! Herein is the pain AND the cure. HE did not want me to be one of them! So, as my friend George put it so well, “God rubbed my nose into everything He did not want ME to do.” He forced me out of that system. He wanted me to personally KNOW that “there is one Mediator between God and man, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Churches like to talk about Jesus as our “personal Savior,” but they then turn around and de-personalize Him by making a one-size-fits-all Christian experience for His followers. Even their “sinner’s prayer” is canned and made the same for everyone that they would lead to Christ. Can anyone show me a common methodology that is used to lead people to Christ in the New Testament???

      No, Jesus is VERY personal and I thank God for it. I know dear saints that have had demons cast out of them without any human assistance and I know ones who came to Christ without anyone explaining to them what salvation is with the simplest of prayers on their part. And His personal-ness does not stop where our spiritual journey begins, either! As in your case, He is showing the sources of your pain that nobody but Him can see. He has had to do the same thing with me. Just in the last four months he has shown me five areas in my life where I was still harboring unforgiveness caused by injuries in the past that resulted in His inability to use me to reach out to millions of people because of the resulting disdain for what they represented to me in that pain. The last time I went through a time of healing that went deep like this was over 40 years ago. And it took the preparation of a special human instrument that had also suffered much from many of the same types of people, yet had forgiven them, to open me to see what was still resident in my own heart. Becky, as you are discovering, God is able to heal us of all our wounds and the surgery can hurt a bit at times, but not as much as the pain we suffer by NOT letting go of our past and pressing on into Him. Thanks so much for opening your heart to us like this.

      “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end… to establish it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7 KJ2000)

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      • Becky says:

        Michael, thank you! All that you shared there really resonates with me on so many levels. On my Facebook page by the same name as my blog, I just wrote and shared this post this morning, which goes along with what you said about God not wanting us to be “one of them.”

        From memory there have been two or three people in the last few years who were adamant that I be or do what I was not being or doing. Furthermore and maybe most importantly, I was not in a place of readiness. When I say they were adamant, I mean it looked and felt more like control than love. Each incident brought up deep emotions in me as I was learning God’s voice and in that lesson finding out it isn’t always that of other Christians – a shock to my system. In looking back, here’s what it did for me:

        It pushed me to Him – asking questions, seeking answers, and crying. Oh, the crying! From wells that were decades deep. What I couldn’t know then that I most certainly know now is that God knew my heart and from whence I came. He knows me better than I know myself. He knew how I would react and what it would make me want to do. He knew that ultimately it would bring me to Him. He also knew the hearts of the others, but that wasn’t for me to figure out, I could barely figure out my own. He is faithful when we’re flailing. That’s the point. Or so I am learning. Always learning. Or trying to.

        And here’s something else it did for me that is being lived out in front of my eyes – I am able to trust Him with others who may not be being or doing what I think they should be being or doing.

        Wait. What?

        Yeah. It’s a real comedy of graces.

        If He can be trusted with my life and unreadiness, then He can most definitely be trusted with the life and unreadiness of others.

        We are called to love, not save. That’s always been God’s job. But we sure get confused on that sometimes, don’t we? It takes a little walking with our feet on the earth and our hearts in the Kingdom to know this. Or so I’m learning. Always learning. Or trying to.

        So this ‘come as you are’ that many view (and rightly so) as a bait and switch, is very real in my world. Not always easy, but always real.

        Much grit and grace to us all on our days journey!

        In reckless love and rebellious freedom, Becky J.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Dear Becky,
        Yes, we have never been called to be “God” for anyone else… and you have experienced what it did to you when well meaning Christians (even church leadership) tried to conform you into the image they felt you should be walking in… bondage. And what is worse; when we come under the law, legalism in any form, that is being imposed on us by others it messes with our hearing the voice of the Spirit and obeying HIM! Jesus made it clear, “When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all the truth… He will give me glory, because he will take what I say and tell it to you.”(John 16:13-14 GNB). When we come under false authority that is not verifying and confirming to us what GOD is saying to us, these men become thieves and robbers. They rob us of our relationship with the Good Shepherd and Him of and intimate relationship with His sheep (Read John ch. 10).
        Remember what Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.“(John 10:9 KJ2000). We enter IN by Him and He saves us. BUT He does not trap us in the sheepfold once we enter into it! BY HIM we have freedom and we go in AND out to find our pasture and heavenly sustenance. Stay free and be blessed, my sister!!! Keep following HIS voice. Thanks for your wonderful comments and for sharing your life with us.

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      • Becky says:

        Good stuff! Thanks, Michael!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. kenneth dawson says:

    wow what a picture no names but one–in spirit union with Christ our lord=peace and joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Michael,

    You wrote, “Our identity can become our own prison. We build our city walls based on our insecurities.”

    So true, indeed. Very well said!! And your interpretation of Bono’s song hits the nail on the head. 😉

    I’d also like to refer to Becky’s great comment where she wrote that God nudged her to face the pain together with Him. YES! That is what our wonderful God offers us. Thank you, Becky, for sharing your deep insights here. 🙂

    Actually, on our own we are neither able nor willing to face those deep wounds in our hearts and the confusion they caused in our minds because it’s simply too painful. However, God is with us when we finally have to go through the dark valleys of our pains that were so deeply hidden in our hearts.
    If someone has become used to that healing process, he or she will be able to accompany those who at first might shrink back from feeling their wounds again and again. It is anything but comfortable when God, in fact, peels us like an onion for years, even decades, and we have to face the same pains on an ever deeper level until we see the very root and are being set free – forever.

    From my own experience I can say that we must be very careful with others when we know what they had or still have to endure in their lives. It is always good to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and to pray about what to say and what to avoid because the hurting brother or sister can easily be triggered, actually, simply by mentioning what had happened to them. In the past I often experienced this “triggering” by different people, esp. by psychologists and counselors, who had no access to their own hearts, much less to the heart of God. Therefore I am very careful in dealing with hurting people, particularly when I do not yet know what might have happened to them.

    May God bless all who wrote on here and also those who read this blog, too. And may the unconditional and comforting love of God always be with you.

    Much love to all,
    Susanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Oh Susanne! Such words of wisdom and caution that are so timely for me. It takes time and even the power of God’s love to win someone’s confidence for them to start to open up with us from their past, especially when their wounds go so deep from woundings that were brought on by violence or from someone they loved and were so open to (thus their guard was down when it happened) and the darts went deep. I have had to pray my way through such relationships where God was working in a person He put me in touch with, and I found that just one unguarded word could undo so much confidence gained with them. To be on this level with a truly hurting person, if we truly love them, should generate in us a fear of missing it with them. Those who do not fear hurting a person that is already wounded, by their own carelessness, should not be in that kind of relationship with them. I have seen so many “men of God” that had no fear of the effect of their words or actions on God’s tender sheep and I have seen the damage they have done… damage that is interpreted as coming at them right from Jesus Himself. This is the worst wounding of all, and as Becky said, the healing can only come directly from Him. Susanne, I have read your testimony and know that you know what this is all about. Thank you so much for the reminder my sister. Much love to you as well, Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This brought tears to my eyes, Michael. Beautiful and profound. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Michael says:

    Anna. I am speechless, dear sister. You are welcome.

    Liked by 2 people

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