Life is the struggle.
The church I go to, Church by the Glades, usually has the main guy on a big screen. I know, I know. It’s close to my house, I don’t have to dress up, and they give you coffee. Sue me.
But two Sundays ago, we got a rare treat. The blonde lady was the preacher (as soon as I get her name, I’ll amend this). But every time she teaches, it’s a treat. Trust me. This time was no exception. While most of what I’m about to say wasn’t in her sermon, something she said inspired my thought process leading to this.
The Bible itself is a metaphor for life with God, in a very real sense. When it talks of creation and early civilization, it’s talking not of the past, but of me, personally. Or you, I suppose.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Such it is when we first come into His kingdom. Now take that passage, and substitute the earth with the word you. See what happens.
Before we allow God into our lives, we are without form and void, and darkness is over the depths of us. But once God says to us, Let there be light, our lives are forever changed, and we begin to divide from the darkness.
The next story is of Adam and Eve, and of the birth of sin. Such it is with us when we begin our journey under the light. We become aware of the sin in our lives. Follow this with Noah’s flood, where God cleanses us of the past and brings us to a new beginning.
After that, we are introduced to Abraham and a host of others. Now if we are honest, some of these men are complete scoundrels. Abraham pimped out his own wife, twice, and that’s how he got wealthy. But the zeal with which these people followed their faith is remarkable. Such it is with us. When we first come into God’s presence, we are insane with our new found faith, even though we often come up with stupid ideas and do some heinous things. We fall into bad habits, but are carried forward by this zeal so that we don’t see how we stumble. This leads to our enslavement in Egypt. At some point, our new zealous, blind faith leads us into a trap from which many never come out. We give up. We find we were wrong, and lose hope, and find ourselves once again in bondage.
But once again, God sends his message to lift us out of it, with promises to deliver us to a better life if we but follow him. That’s Moses, in case you missed the reference. From there, we wander in desolation, living off nothing but faith.
And here’s where it gets interesting. As the Hebrews came into the Promised Land, it wasn’t handed to them. They didn’t just move in and the existing tenants moved out; they had to fight for it. They bled for it. So it is with us. God gives us his promise, and we often look for some silver platter with all the riches of his glory being foisted over us like a winning lottery ticket, but it doesn’t work that way. In reality, and this is what I have come to accept, is that while the promise of God is there for the taking, the onus to take it remains with us, and yes, there will be blood. It won’t stop there, either. Even after the Hebrews conquered the holy land, they were constantly being led astray, and constantly being overtaken by some powerful enemy. Again and again, they had to call out for rescue from some enemy-of-the-week.
I was baptized into Christ by my friend Paul Carter on May 12, 1993, in the Puget Sound, right by the ferry dock in Edmonds, WA. Two weeks ago, I started to see that my entire spiritual journey since that day aligns perfectly with the stories of the Old Testament. Up until that point, I’d been looking for the easy path that I thought God promised.
But this is life. There is no easy path.