As an aspiring writer, I know how challenging it is to place a reader IN the middle of a scene, instead of simply telling them about it. It’s the difference between believing the Grand Teton Mountains are real because you’ve seen a photo vs actually being there.
A good writer makes you see and feel what’s happening by creating a picture so real you can almost smell the wild flowers and feel the crisp mountain air against your skin.
Too much of our experience as Christians is like looking at a photo . . . we believe it’s real, but we don’t know how to experience it.
Jesus wants us to learn how to step into the story He is writing – become fully engaged – know, by daily experience, the truth that sets us free. He wants us to experience a life wrapped with grace, to know personally, the Love that finds no limitation.
I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been covered with the worst case of poison ivy I’ve ever had. I’ll spare you the details, but believe me, two rounds of Prednisone, antihistamines, and multiple tubes of anti-itch cream only touched the edges of my blistering “itch”.
At the peak of misery, I faced a weekend that would test my normal resolve. Not only was it the weekend for our Creative Hands community Art, Antique and Attic Treasure sale – in MY garage, it was also my granddaughter’s thirteenth birthday . . . parties.
There’s no such thing as one birthday party in this family. Our dearly departed, Uncle Fred, started a tradition he called his birthday triduum. A triduum is a three-day observance in the Catholic faith like Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. This was Fred’s humor. He believed his birthday deserved as least three parties.
My sweet, new-teen, didn’t realize she was in the flow of such deep family tradition. Friday was the all girl sleep-over at her house. Saturday was a tent sleepover with all the cousins in our back fields. Then, last but not least, after two nights of no sleep, we were all scheduled to go to Stoney Brook Park for a picnic. (with 10,000 other hot, sweaty people – and their dogs.)
After the sale, I was exhausted. Sunday morning, the grandkids emerged from the fields with all their camping gear, it was my job to miraculously mobilize myself to manufacture a sausage, eggs and pancakes feast. They sat dazed, their eyes glazed over from sleeplessness, but still consumed a dozen and a half eggs, two boxes of sausage, and a bag of pancake mix.
After cleaning up the kitchen, I retreated to my swing to itch and cry for help.
“Lord, I’m not going to make it through this trip to the park if You don’t help me.”
Imagine my surprise when He whispered: “Step into My joy.”
It was as if all the lightbulbs in my exhausted, itchy brain turned on at once. He was inviting me into His action scene. He didn’t give me a lifeless word, He invited me to step into the story.
Step into what you need . . .
It was like a cloak dropping around a set of chilly shoulders . . . making what is believed to chase away the cold into an actual experience of warmth. And so it was, the minute I needed strength I’d say . . . “Jesus, I step into Your joy.”
What do you struggle with? What is the “itch” that drives your unrest? What part of God’s story do you need to experience?
Father, we need to learn how to step into our inheritance in Christ. We need to experience the truth that sets us free . . . not just hear it. Father, help us to step into Your story, written in Christ. Amen.