Today, as I look ahead, I see a winding road. It is a tree lined, soil-covered road. I cannot see past the bend in it. Instead, I see a wall of trees with vibrant, green leaves displayed. LIFE. Trees have been significant to me in my life. At the time of my baptism (not the first, but the second), all I could see were the trees surrounding me. Faces faded away to a blur and I was in awe of these trees that surrounded me. The beautiful work of the hands of my Creator. I have not, until this day, thought to ask Him why. There really is no time like the present. Lord, WHY?
That aside, you really do remember your first love!! The LORD swept me completely off of my feet.
Getting back to the scene ahead, I see a path and it is the path that I will walk. Though I cannot fully see what is ahead, I am not afraid. The air is warm and it’s scent is sweet. The scenery is lovely and I am filled with joy. Though the journey is hidden, I sense in my heart that ALL IS WELL. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. The writing is on the wall. There are plans ahead to prosper me and not to harm me. There is a hope and a future. And it is good. Thank you Lord. Gratitude wells up in my heart as I follow what lies ahead, knowing Jesus is already there. I am confident. I am bold. I am EXCITED!!! I am moving forward.
Sometimes, as we head out on our journey, whether it is a life journey, or a simple trip to the grocery store, we can become distracted, delayed, and sometimes, detained. In moving ahead, we can encounter situations and circumstances, memories and mandates that are keeping us from moving forward. Some come with sharp talons that grip into the skin of our necks trying to terrorize us with the past. These can be hard to tear away from. Sometimes, they render us completely powerless to move forward. Especially if we try to break free on our own. We CAN break free of these debilitating claws, but we need the power of the Holy Spirit (we always need Him) and certainly others to come alongside of us to help us get free from the bondage that tries to keep us ensnared. Oh, this is a painful process. When something has such a strong grasp on our very existence, it is painful to remove it. But it can and will be removed and replaced! Staying here is NOT an option. Jesus came to set the captives free!!
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. Luke 4:18
Thank you Jesus!!!
In this new freedom that Jesus came to give us, we may now feel a gentle touch that beckons us to turn around and take a look at what was behind. What have I received healing for? Where do I know I have a freedom I never had before? Where have the chains been broken?
What lies ahead comes from what has happened on the path already taken. You thought it was finished, but it requires your attention. No longer claws, but compassion. And you are here. No longer who you were, but faced with a burden to share what God has done for you. You are now being asked to pour out your life for the sake of someone else. Whosoever. It is no longer about you. You are now free.
I feel the tap on the shoulder and I turn around. I am flooded by thoughts and emotions. I am stirred by passion itself. It is a remembrance of a thing that has happened to a person that was me, but is now no longer me as I do not share in the guilt of the sin any longer. I am a free person now. It is no longer I that lives but Christ who lives in me. Jesus already paid for this sin. And no longer has its’ claws in me. Death no longer stings.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? Romans 6:1
I hear the call. I heed the call. The story begins.