Don't you just love it when the Lord shows us that He is intimately involved in every facet of our lives and that He knows us completely? This week I have received a powerful demonstration of the fact that the Lord doesn't drop one thread in the intricate weaving of the details of our lives.
The Lord has been speaking to me about release. In my last post I wrote about the reasons I felt frightened of giving God free access to every part of my life. Letting go was difficult, but the ensuing sense of freedom is wonderful! Since I let go in order to let God, I've been waltzing around as though I hadn't a care in the world; this in spite of an impending root canal, an absent son, high cholesterol readings, and twenty extra pounds that my own efforts have not banished. I've released those things into the Lord's hands! If He has to hurt me to help me, then He'll be with me in the hurt. And if He wants to bless me beyond my wildest dreams, well then, I'm not standing in His way there, either!
Now here's the really cool part of this story. Twenty-seven years ago, I wrote a short story about a woman named Lydia, who had been a follower of John the Baptist. The story chronicles Lydia's spiritual journey as she learns to be a follower of Jesus. While struggling with this transition, Lydia is helping to clean a campsite where John has spoken to a group of his few remaining disciples. She has bent to gather a discarded linen wrapper from the ground along with some crusts of bread, and when she straightens, she finds herself looking across the river to where a large crowd of people have gathered around Jesus. At this juncture John calls to those who have remained with him, and explains to them that they too must cross the river. Lydia makes the crossing, but it isn't until she meets Jesus face to face that she is able to release her allegiance to John. This is symbolized when her hand relaxes and the crusts of bread that she has been clutching so tightly fall to the ground.
This story meant a great deal to me when I was young because even then I understood that though the Lord often asks us to release to Him things we would very much prefer to keep, He always has something much better if we will only let go the past and move with courage into the future.
One day this week I just happened to find an old notebook. It was a thick three inch binder containing about five years of journal entries. I randomly flipped the book open about forty pages into the sheaf of single spaced, typewritten pages. I found myself reading Lydia's story, written so long ago. I had forgotten the details of the story, and I had forgotten where I had filed it. If you'd have asked me, I would have said it was lost. My renewed acquaintance with this story just happened to occur on the evening of the day that I wrote my last blog entry, which was about a similar spiritual journey of release. Wow!
It gets better. This morning in church we took communion. When it was my turn to receive the bread, the pastor broke an unusually large chunk from the loaf he held in his hands. I tore a smaller piece from the chunk, partook of the bread and the grape juice symbolizing the Holy sacrifice of our Lord, and returned to my seat. At the end of the service I opened my hand saw that I'd been clutching a remnant of bread. As I tossed the crust into the trash on my way out of the sanctuary, I remembered Lydia's story.
The Lord certainly is able to emphasize a point. I am aware that He is speaking "RELEASE" to me and wants to be certain I get the message. I'm newly aware of His complete knowledge of me and His deep love for me. I'm trembling a little bit because I'm silly...I'm wondering what difficult or wondrous thing might lie just ahead on my path. But an overwhelming awareness of God's power, knowledge, and love puts those fears to rest. Isn't He amazing?
Scripture: "Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you" (Joshua 3:5).