3 in the morning and I saw the familiar sight of a dressed up girl standing alone in her heels on the sidewalk with her phone pressed to her ear. She'd been standing there awhile and it looked like whoever she'd been calling wasn't answering. I walked over to her and asked if I could walk her home or if she needed any help. "I'm trying to get ahold of my boyfriend but he's not answering. He always does this. He's mean to me." Tears trickled out and down and she told me how hard it's been to get out of the abusive relationship. She knew she was wasting her college years, she knew he wasn't a good guy, but she also said she loved him. My heart went out to her and we talked for my heart had been similarly trapped before.
In college, our bright yellow house sits in between two apartment complexes. We call our house The Lighthouse and we sit out on our porch and get to know the dog-walkers and stroller-pushers. The other night, our neighbor, Greg, stopped by the porch to chat as he walked his English Bulldog puppy. Greg is a big man with a soft voice and kind eyes. We see Greg walking Archie, his dog, almost every night. As we chatted we learned that he lives alone, has some health issues that interfere work, that he just finalized a divorce, and that his daughter won't let him see his grandkids. Greg wasn't grumpy, he wasn't complaining, he was just connecting. "Archie doesn't talk much."
A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream about one of my friends who doesn't know Jesus. In the dream, he told me, "Taylor! I see the fruitlessness of my life and I want Jesus now!" I hadn't talked to this friend in over a year nor had I been praying for him. But, when I woke up, I knew God was after him and that I was meant to pray for him - even if it was just for that day.
I've walked past that spot dozens of times, but never really took advantage of it. At the state park nearby, there's a thin trail that follows the water's edge. As you walk, you come to a spot where a fallen tree hovers over the lake. It's thick enough, it's stable enough, and it's teasing enough to make me want to tip-toe on out. So I did. I went as far as my bravery took me, then just sat and stared and swung my toe across the water's surface. My bravery built back up then I ventured further. This process of settling in then venturing out brought me to the very tip--a place that teased me before now supported my relaxation and gave me a view.
One of the most detrimental things we can do to our spiritual life is to think it's all about salvation. What I mean is staying in the idea that Heaven is on the way once we've said the prayer, therefore, this life is rather inconsequential. I'm not about to go into explaining what Paul has to say about the proper response to our salvation and grace. I want to talk about how the salvation of our souls is only one cog in a much larger machine.
Salvation is just the first step in this adventure.
"The problem of pain." It's one of the most prevalent reasons people don't bother to think about Jesus. Every time a nonChristian or a Christian brings up this subject, it's always felt oddly difficult to answer. I know that everything doesn't need a proven answer, but, I would at least like some framework of thinking about this "problem" that brings peace into my life.
What I've learned about what it means to be transformed into the image of Christ, be reconciled to Him, myself, & others, and how to be His disciple.