For weeks, maybe months, or perhaps since forever, I don’t really know, nary a tear has fallen from my eye. The steel part of my heart would tell you it’s because my tears are broken – or that they’ve become so hardened that they forgot how to feel – or that I probably come by that trait naturally. My mother is one of the toughest people I’ve ever met. I can only recall seeing a tear on her face one time – the morning that my father died. It’s probably not that surprising that I don’t often cry.
All of that came to an unexpected and abrupt end this afternoon during lunch with a new-found friend who wanted to know more about the book, Masquerade. His own story was one of redemption and grace, from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and he was looking for guidance on how to publish his story. Humbly, he sat across the table from me at the local Panera bread, describing how he had been delivered from alcoholism by a loving Savior.
As we talked about the moment in time when he heard the inaudible yet unmistakable voice of God say to him, “you’re going to die and I’m going to let you if you don’t get yourself straightened around”, I could feel my eyes well up with tears. He recounted wondering why God had chosen Him and not others whom he had known who had died of their addictions; whatever the reason, there he was, naked in humility, exposing his weakness, reaffirming the notion that when we are weakest, God is strongest. He enumerated how many times along his journey he faltered and failed, and how every single time, God was there to pick him up and make him new again…. and how sometimes, despite the fact that he’s walked with Jesus for a long time, he still makes mistakes and needs to seek forgiveness regularly.
Because of my own sin and weakness, my heart was grieved, and tears flowed from the tear ducts that I had long thought a desert. He actually asked me if I was OK.
I think there are two dangerous thoughts when it comes to redemption. One tells us that since we now walk with Jesus, we should be perfect. After all, He makes all things new, and He does ask us to put away our sinful ways now that we are new creatures in Him. Perhaps there are others along this life journey with me, however, who might agree with me that there will be times when we fail, even when we’ve walked with Jesus for a long time. Somehow, we expect that when we’ve walked with Jesus for a long time and have grown in our faith, that we won’t fall back into our sin habits.
I wholeheartedly believe that, just as God knows us and knows our strengths and weaknesses, so does the Devil. He knows that my new friend is predisposed to struggle with alcohol, while I may be predisposed to struggle in other ways. He will look for opportunities to cause us to fail, or to question our faith. My friends, there is a fierce battle going on for your soul – no matter how long or short a time you’ve been a Christian, no matter how strong you believe your faith is. There will be times when you will fail. It is important to remember that when this happens, God still loves you.
The other dangerous thought we have when it comes to redemption is to think that, because we may have failed, even after we know Jesus, that we cannot correct our path. The truth is that God loves us, and will continue to give us opportunities to come back to Him. We have to be the ones to make the decision, and we have to be the ones to call in God for help in time of trouble.
Our conversation turned to hearing God’s voice. My new friend talked about the moment in time when he heard the inaudible yet unmistakable voice of God. I, too, have heard that voice, and I’ve known others who have as well. Inexplicably, not everyone hears this voice, perhaps because the other voices in their lives are too loud, or perhaps their hearts have been hardened too much. Unquestionably, however, there are people whose ears are tuned to hear the voice of God.
Meeting a new friend who is along this journey-for-life was good for me. It gave me renewed perspective that God makes all things new; and he specializes in taking our completely wrecked lives and making them beautiful again – and that process can take a long time, and follow a sometimes crooked path.
Keep seeking, my friends. Keep trekking the journey.
Blessings to you,
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