There are times when the air conditioning blows hot air into an already sweltering house; the dishwasher screams in protest as it grinds to a stop mid-cycle; and the monthly paycheck seems insignificant to the mountain of bills looming overhead. Bills that I thought I’d have under control this month, just doubled in size. The nightly news carries unspeakable human atrocities done to other human beings. Visual images (even though I refuse to watch actual videos) that I never, ever dreamed would happen in today’s enlightened world. Prodigal children. Marital/Racial/Gender/Sexual Abuse. Child sex trade. Anti-semitism. Mass murders. Beheading. And the last one catches in my throat and stops my forward motion…Crucifictions. I drag my feet forward as my tongue traces a newly sensitive tooth. Where are You? I know You can make this STOP! Why don’t You intervene? PLEASE!
“‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’ Isaiah 47:10
I almost hate free will. It would be so much easier to live in a world without choice, wouldn’t it? The body hurts because of this or that, and I think that whoever called these years, “the golden years”, was really good at misnomers. Doctor bills jut out of the mountain waiting to catch the toe as I stumble up the trail with checkbook in hand. Worries that have been tucked into the corner of a smile, hidden from most of the world, threaten to pull the lips into a tight line revealing the fears held in check. Are You listening? Can I scream any louder? Strong winds of human frailty that seemed inconsequential when standing on terra firma below; now whip at my body threatening to send me plummeting into the dark abyss below.
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt 26:41
The mountain’s height still seems insurmountable while the weight of the backpack stuffed full of prayers pulls my shoulders backward; it is way too heavy to carry any further. I think about slipping it off and just letting it fall away from me, beyond the narrow ledge a foot length away. Another choice. Another curve. The knees crumble and rocks slice the tender joints. Precariously balanced, I wedge my body tightly between the ledge and the sheer surface. Tears course through the soul, leaving salty tracks upon physical cheeks as I manage to look up. The rocky path still threatens to cut and scratch and trip any foot or knee that struggles to maintain their tenuous grip. Yet there is something. Something in this foreign land that beckons me to stand and try again.
“You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.” Samuel 22:29
A Hand outstretched steadies my shaking, physical body. It knocks away loose rocks and straggly brush to reveal words etched upon the face of the mountain; rough foreign letters that mold my fingers tracing their path. The thought that others have climbed these mountains make them not quite so scary. Too often, I think, I rely on this world instead of placing my hand firmly on the rope-line of His Hand. Promises long forgotten begin to light the path with their wisdom. My eyes open wide. Handholds and foot holds noticed. Forgotten is the weight of the backpack as each step forward brings new light to each promise. Questions formulate about those who have gone before. How did they endure? Where they saints or mere mortals – like me? I am so like Peter. My faith is strong until I start to think. Then the consequences overwhelm me, and I begin to sink until Christ’s Hand reaches down to pull me out.
hallowed be your name…’” Luke 11:3a
A journey of choices is still in front of me. Tight curves, protruding rocks, unpredictable weather, knee-shaking fear, and my own steps forward threaten my path. Yet, the back-pack is no longer heavy. It has sprouted wings and helps me to avoid many of the obstacles. It is just one of the blessings – miracles that is now so readily apparent. It is the manifestation of my faith in My Father’s love. The world with all its intellect, studies, and well-educated people call it an addicting drug…a myth…a crutch…a historical fallacy. Yet, all MY intellect, studies, education knows it is not. I wish I was better with words. I wish that I could give the world what is inside my heart. I still, sometimes, wish that there was no such thing as choice and free will. But what I know for sure is that My Father sees what even His Son and Holy Spirit cannot see, and He wants us to choose to love Him.
“…your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
(pictures via FB images)