Saturday, September 28, 2013
Toward Freedom XXI
The falling man doesn't look closely at the rope of rescue. If the thing breaks after he grabs on, he's no worse off. If it doesn't break... well, deal with that later because, until that situation prevails, there's no such concept as "later."
Now, ten years "later," I've become fairly confident that God's rope will neither break nor be withdrawn. Trust builds upon "later," derived from that first act of desperation when God did not turn away nor close his ears to one who'd spent so much time denying his existence. God creates reality at the rate of one day per day and invites me to share, and to stay with him.
"Later" implies "before," and "after." God inhabits all of time but I live within sequence, where events and concepts build on top of each other. Trust means I can look at Jesus and not feel judged; I can walk with him, weakly or strongly, and keep my eyes open. Ideally. Being mostly of a "person to whom things are done" kind of mentality, I tend to walk backward with my eyes closed. I fear where I'm being led, yet life itself comes from God so I must stay with him.
Some days, I do trust and open my eyes. What I see then scares me even more, yet we do make progress. Fits and starts. This is freedom, freedom from my walls and mazes, freedom to see truth that brings life rather than the truth that is dropped like a rock onto tender understanding, crushing even the attempt to see.
I stand on a low hill with Jesus, looking around. The country I see is lovely until fear overlays it with memories of past events. "Peace," he whispers to me. "Those events are over with. This is a new day." How can he be so positive? He smiles, he dances, yet he's the one whose life includes many examples of people's brutality, culminating in crucifixion. He looks through that, somehow, whereas I my sight stops at the screen of mistreatment.
"See the end of love," I tell myself. "That's where it gets you."
"Don't quit," God says.
Trust led to peace. Peace wove itself with freedom; I think you can't have one without the other. In God's world nothing stops growing, so this isn't the end point of the path, the retirement rocker on a sunny porch. "Forward" is a concept of value only to those of us who live bound in time's cause and effect. God deals elegantly with sequence and consequence; his plan circumscribes all of time and yet knows each little forward-trending thread within.
So, what comes "after" freedom and peace? I think it's love, which is why I run away. Nothing scares me like love; it's one of those words very often used as a rock to control any nascent freedom. I chose freedom years ago, and that included freedom from love's iron tentacles.
God says to me, "Are you sure?" He's a better teacher, allowing time for the scarred soul to heal and become strong enough, confident enough, to explore new ideas. Love makes all things possible. It's woven into the fabric of life, along with freedom and peace... and trust. Lines of life often seem circular--I must be lost, because I think I've been here before--but actually spiral. We pass through the same neighborhood but a few houses farther along.
Subtle guidance. All is grace. I step because God invites.
2013 September 28