Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Journey on Back Roads

Matt 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Every now and then I see something in scripture that intrigues me. Recently I heard a sermon by
Cody that got me thinking about “roads,” and then I stumbled across an entry I had made in January 2007 that seems to fit. There are so many encounters that take place on “roads” in scripture. A few that come to mind are: Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch on the road to Gaza, the two disciples and magic Jesus on the road to Emmaus, Jesus’ encounter with the fig tree, and who could forget Paul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus?

Sometimes God is found on the back roads instead of the front pews. Do we ever dare to take it "off road" with God or do we just try to keep it safe? Where is the sense of discovery when it comes to our relationship with Him? I remember being giddy when I was a young bachelor striking up a new romance with a young lady. Every thought was related to or consumed by my newfound passion, and I was Ponce De Leon set on exploration of every facet of their existence.

I should be like that in pursuing the Creator of the universe. It’s not like I’ll run out of things to discover. What is truly amazing about this experience is His ability to reveal things to me about me in the process (see “journey”).

This is a lot like marriage. I find that my innermost thoughts and issues are often revealed in how I relate to my wife in certain situations. Said another way, when the stress of life and marriage begin to tighten their grip, a good barometer of my spiritual health is how many of my own personal demons manifest. These guardians of all things self-absorbed are sure to challenge the slightest encroachment of their territory, hell-bent on preserving the flesh and the Kingdom of Clay.

So is my experience with my Jesus one that reflects a sterilized, predictable, safe walk in the park? Or am I willing to hike through some wilderness in order to find Eden? My Beloved stalks me, teases me, thrills me, and scares the hell out of me. The Comforter makes me uncomfortable. He stretches my heart to be big enough for what He wants to deposit there. Betrothed to His will, I submit to the tearing of my flesh that I may in the end be joined to Him in the penetration of my spirit; deeply touched, passionately embraced, profoundly changed.

This place is not found at the park, but in the secret place of the Most High, beneath the shadow of the Almighty. Gabriel told Mary that the power of the Most High would “over-shadow” her. I have recently begun to understand the mysterious power of that event. While it involved flesh and spirit back then, today He still wants a similar encounter with each of us to deposit His seed of love in us according to His Word.

We are meant to be partakers of the Divine nature and partners with the Heavenly Husband to reach a world struck down by separation from God and rejection from each other. With our marriage to Him, we can minister life to the lonely and direction to the lost. In being saved from the safety of ourselves, our lives can become a down payment of hope for a life of meaning and mission. Some missions take us down lonely dusty trails, so it’s nice if we’ve explored a few first.

Sidebar: I know the analogies here have not escaped the reader. What I find interesting is that much of the spiritual journey is related to the tearing and breaking of flesh. First we have circumcision. Then we have consummation (broken hymen) and the initial “deposit” of the seed or word becoming flesh. And finally we have birth, or the product of that communion, which again “tears” the flesh. Don’t lose the beauty of these analogous events in how the world has perverted them. There are genuinely some deep spiritual truths here.

P.S. Editor’s note: The greatness of Steve Perry was he could sing as well live as mixed in a studio. Wow.

No comments: