Pastors Ponderings

At Young Adults, we had a number of prophetic images and as we prayed after the meeting, I started to see several of them converging together.

There is a believer standing in a hallway looking at an open door with light shining out. Inside is the banquet that God has for us, but the believer is standing outside. When the believer eventually comes in, the Father says, “welcome, I’ve been waiting for you.”

There is a woman in a hijab standing by a crossroad. There is nothing stopping her from crossing the road, but there is no one there to walk with her.

There was a person fighting with an enemy, but after the enemy had been knocked down they turned their back and presumed the enemy dead, but the enemy was just wounded, and waiting for an opportune moment to strike back.

There was a boy and girl playing on swings, but from a particular perspective the boy could not be seen, and the girl appeared to be playing alone.

A believer was looking at their hand and their fingertip was strangely oversized, out of proportion with the rest.

There was a scripture from Ezekiel likening Israel to a rescued baby given so much care and love, but on growing up, she spat in the Father’s face and became a prostitute, but still the Father remembers his covenant with her.

What I felt these meant together was that we all as believers rush to the part where Jesus has forgiven us and we’re alright now. We have the Answer, and He is sufficient. This is not untrue, but in our haste to pitch a tent there, we run past the part where we were lost and hopeless and where we spat in Jesus’ face. We have no desire to live in that place, because it is uncomfortable to be there, even just to think about it can be painful, but that is the place of humility where we remember what we have been saved from, and who we truly are. When we say we are sinners saved by grace, what we mean is that without Jesus we are all wretched and lost, and we are all God’s enemies deserving of nothing good from him.

We stand outside the door because we knocked down our enemy – that old version of ourself that keeps coming back to taint everything we touch, but every time we turn our back, we leave ourself open to an unexpected flanking strike, right where it hurts, that cripples us and leaves us unable to move forward and walk through that door. The Bible (beginning of Hebrews 12) tells us that we need to throw off the weight that hinders and run the race set before us.

There is a difference between remembering who you were before Christ and allowing the truth of “there but for the grace of God go I” to hold you in a place of humility, and allowing the old self beset with sin to keep hamstringing your progress with Christ. It seems we keep getting the two backwards. We choose not to linger on the darkness whence we came and allow the discomfort to bring us to a place of humility, praise and gratitude for how much we have been forgiven, and instead hang on to the vestiges of that darkness Christ freed us from, dragging it like an anchor behind us.

When we see the woman at the side of the road, we tend to want to approach her as one from the other side who can show her the way, when in truth we are standing at the same road unable to cross because our anchor weighs us down. We cannot lead her where we cannot go, or have not been. Instead, we can cut loose the chain (or dislodge the plank from our own eye) and then say to her “come with me” not because we have the answers, but because the Answer has us and is calling us on, and we would like our new friend to come with us as we walk together. Neither of us can see Christ working on the other from our usual vantage, but neither of us walk alone, and it helps us to feel the truth of that as we walk together.