A simple gesture

ARE YOU a planner? Do you take the time to carefully prepare for projects or events? Or are you more spontaneous, someone who builds things along the way?

Most of us are probably a bit of both, but we might lean hard in one direction. Some plan obsessively while others never, ever plan ahead. Either way, we move forward somehow. Our life is a project in the making. 

Have you ever reached a point where you wonder, how in the world did I get here? How did I get into such a mess? Or maybe you think, this isn’t how I expected things to turn out at all. And in some ways, that’s the beauty of life. It’s unpredictable and spontaneous.

No matter how much you plan, surprises appear. But still, we play a central role in the process. We are the architects of our life experience. No, we don’t have total control, but we do make key decisions — both good and bad. And God lets you go, full steam ahead. He gives you the freedom to choose.

So we wander in the wilderness. We go out on our own. You might think you are being prudent and careful. Or you might not care at all. But in the end, both ways can lead to emptiness if you don’t stop to ask God once in a while.

This has happened to me many times. I move forward on my own. Then I end up alone. I feel lonely.

Even the smartest and most experienced person on earth doesn’t have it all figured out. External success doesn’t mean your spirit is in order. It doesn’t mean you have peace and joy. How often do we see the mighty fall hard? Even the wisest person can toss and turn at night.

Have you been wandering in the wilderness for far too long? Have you been trying too hard to cover all the bases on your own? Are you tired of being whipped around, tossed in the wind with no direction? Has it hardened your heart?

Without the company of the Lord, you end up lonely, isolated. You feel abandoned. 

How often do we build structures and scaffolds without even thinking sometimes? We think we have it all figured out until, at some point, we feel uneasy. We sense it in our bones. Suddenly, it becomes crystal clear that our priorities have become distorted along the way.

What we’ve elevated to an all important holy place is nothing but idolatry. Our hearts become hardened to God and inevitably to others. We even harden our hearts against ourselves.

Faith in God alone doesn’t prevent this. Every so often, we need to check in and check out what’s going on deep inside. If not, we end up obsessing over worldly issues and worries. And we forget about the essential things.

The message of the Son of Man was no accident. He clearly showed us the way — as He is the Way. But so many times we decide we don’t want his way. We stray from the path of Truth and Life. And we end up all alone in the deep, dark woods.

How far will you wander into the cold wilderness? How hard is it for you? Have you reached the limits of your strength and effort? Stop trying so hard then — and rest. Return.

Know that at any time you can stop and say, “If you want to, you can heal me, O Lord. You can purify me. You can give my soul rest.” And he won’t erase anything that you’ve built up until now. Instead, he will let you stand upon it and transform it into something wonderful.

It’s all part of your life testimony — the good and the bad. And even the worst parts can be changed into something pure and holy as it will serve you, your neighbor, and the Lord our God.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It all starts with a simple gesture.

Fall to your knees and ask. Just ask for healing. Ask out loud. Let God bring down the structures and scaffolds that keep you away from him.

Ask the Lord to bring you in from the cold. Let him soften your heart. Let his love and mercy cleanse your shame and heal your pain.

Cling tight to him and never, ever let go. 

. . . . . . .

Therefore, as the holy Spirit says: “Oh, that today you would hear his voice, ‘Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion in the day of testing in the desert,’

Hebrews 3:7-8

A leper came to him, and kneeling down, begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”

Mark 1:40-41

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