The rescue of a child of God
|"Are my eyes open?" Blinking trying to see in the dark, Am I still asleep? It's so black in here. Lifting myself from the warm spot my aching body created, the cold, damp air settles in around me. Where am I? Searching on hands and knees, I think I'm going in a straight line until my hands bump something. Fingers wind around a circular flat surface, slimy something in the shallow middle, seemingly out of habit I pick up the bowl and place it to my parched lips and drink. The liquid slides down my throat, the taste bland. I could be drinking poison and not know it. Something of memory tells me this slop is healthy for me. Finishing off the bowl I toss it aside, clattering in the dark silence.
Now, where to relieve myself? Still on hands and knees, the putrid smell assaults my nostrils. A tiny shaft of light shines through a hole in the floor. Is that daylight? Inhaling to yell for help causes me to gag from the taste of the smell of waste all over the floor. Trying to push the waste out, just uncovers more gagging. Instinctively, I wipe my hands off on my thighs after doing my business.
Standing up carefully my hands above my head to test the height of the ceiling, there's nothing there. Where am I? I wonder. How long have I been here? Muck and slime squish between my toes, stepping carefully forward my hands and arms out in front of me searching for something. Finally, a wall, following to the right there's a corner and another wall. As I'm searching there are lines on the walls, some curve and sweep down, others seem to be borders of bricks. A second corner and a third wall, the lines continue to flow beneath my fingers. What is this? The question remains unanswered.
Finally, my hand reaches air; the wall ends. Pushing in the darkness, I'm caught by a bar at my waist. Reaching down to the bar I follow it feeling the crossbars that hold it in place. there's a thickness to the bars that leads me to believe this could be the door. Pushing hard it won't budge as I hear the clattering echo of the bars and locks. Following the sound, a cold, thick lock lays across the opening; shaking the bars again, I hear more locks on the door. Why are there so many locks? My mind wanders and plays games with me. You'll never get out of here. No one is coming for you. No one knows you're here. No one cares. Stepping backward, Why are there so many locks? My hands reach my head as the cold and darkness seep into my soul. "I'm a good person. I don't deserve this!" This bleak black hole that I'm sitting in.
Treading back to the bars, reaching as far as I can I yell "Hey somebody! I'm here! Help me!" Silence answers. "Someone, anyone!" Trapped I step back my feet suddenly slip from beneath, I land hard on my backside, as tears stream from my eyes in hopelessness and despair. My stomach churns from the muck around me more questions plague my mind. What about my family? Why is it so dark? What if I never get out of here? My heart thumps in my chest. Why am I here?
Nudging the cold wall behind me, arms cross-holding my shoulders as I slump to the floor. A lump forms in my throat, my breathing shallows, and tears still burn my eyes and warm my cheeks sliding down. "Please help me." I plead quietly. Darkness surrounds me. "I want out of this place." Leaning my head against the wall, "God, help me, please." I desperately whisper in the silence of the cell. Closing my eyes, suddenly tired, sleep may be what I need. Time seems to creep by. Through my eyelids, a bright light shines. Opening my eyes and seeing a shaft of light outside the bars it's coming down the path becoming larger and brighter. Crawling closer to the bars the muck becomes sticky around my hands and feet, trying to hold me down. "Hey! Help me!" As I yell the light warms the cell and shows the lines and curves written on the wall. Looking around my mouth drops seeing the large words on each wall surrounded by smaller words.
One wall reads LUST OF THE EYES. The second wall reads PRIDE OF LIFE. Still, the third wall reads LUST OF THE FLESH. It finally dawns on me as I sink to the floor from the weight of what I've done in my life. "No." I groan. "I deserve to be here. These are my sins." At this point, I realize I'm stuck.
"You might as well turn your light out. I'm not going anywhere!" Tears of heartbreak roll down my cheeks. The light doesn't disappear though it seems to get brighter instead. Shielding my eyes, the warmth soaks into my body and energizes me even though I'm tired and achy. The source of the light stops as there is no secret in my dirty dingy cell I can hide from.
"What do you want?" I ask trying to see who is behind the light.
"To free you from your cell." Tenderly, the voice echoed in my ears.
"Free me!?" The idea seems impossible and incredible. "You can't free me. Why would you want to free me?"
"I paid for your sins and shame. I came to free you because I love you." pausing. "Are you ready to go?" He asked. Looking around there's a comfort in this cell that I don't want to get away from. "I cannot stay." The voice warns. "You asked for my help and I came to free you from your prison of sin."
"Who are you?"
"I am Jesus." The weight of who he is causing you to slink back to the corner. "Don't be afraid. Trust me, please." The door disappeared as he reached out for me. Can he truly free me from this prison?
"I don't have anything to give." Hope faded as I said the words.
He smiled. "Child, I just want you."
"Just me, but why?" I couldn't understand. There had to be a catch to this freedom.
"Because I created you to be free from this place. I created you to be more than you are now."
Is he serious? He can get me out of here? What about these sins?
"You can walk out of here free. Completely forgiven."
"What if I do these again? What I come back?" Hope begins to bloom within my chest.
"It's your choice what you want to do and how you will live. I can only show you the door. You have to walk through it."
Pushing up from the wall, standing, then placing one foot in front of the other. Slowly at first yet as I continue to move forward the bars shadowed on the walls. The muck and grime slide from my body as I walk toward the door. Moving forward becomes easier, looking down my body is so thin. I didn't realize how much weight I had lost sitting in this place.
Reaching the door, I stop to hold myself up and take a deep refreshing breath of the pure air he emanates. Am I doing this? How do you free me? Picking my foot up it's pulled back to the floor, my ankles disappear as the sludge climbed my leg. "No, no, no. I don't want to stay." Holding his hand out, "Take my hand, I'll get you out of here." The urgency in his voice made me think there wasn't much time to decide. Taking his hand, the muck slides back as he pulls me from the cell and catching me in his arms. Helping me to stand on my own; his arm stays around my shoulders. Relief washes over me, a smile spreads across my face. Taking a step in the direction he wants to go, my knees buckle from exhaustion. "I've got you, child." He says lifting me from the floor all the tension ebbing away from my body as he walked away from the cell that held me down.
Walking to bright light, a long table appears full of food and drink. He sets me on the floor as my eyes adjust to the light.
"What's this?" I look at him wide-eyed.
"Your dinner. Sit. Eat." Jesus says. I pull out a chair in front of me and sit scooting the chair up. Picking up the plate in front of me, I noticed it was exquisite China, the flower ring design around the outside with specks of gold in the vines is gorgeous. Setting it down carefully I lift the crystal goblet holding a clear liquid.
"Your favorite drink, non-alcoholic of course." I look at him a little skeptical. He nods as if to say try it. PUtting the glass opening to my lips, the liquid turns to a brown liquid with an earthy sweet taste.
"Sweet Tea, that's refreshing," I say finishing the glass. Setting it back on the table, it automatically refills this time with the brown liquid I can assume is more tea. Looking around the table all my favorite foods, broccoli and cheese, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked ham and spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and garlic bread. The table is overloaded with everything I'll eat and then some.
"Everything looks delicious. Is it all for me?"
"Yes, this is your banquet table." He smiled broadly. I swallowed hard.
"All of this is for me!?" I squinted my eyes questioning.
"Yes, eat." I began to load my plate up with a little of everything. As I began eating I noticed Jesus was watching me just smiling some goofy grin.
"What?" I asked a piece of perfectly cooked and seasoned ham settling in my mouth.
"I'm proud of you." He shrugged. I continued eating. "I love you." I almost choked on the words. The other shoe had just dropped.
"You what?" Did I hear him right?
"I love you," he repeated. Yup, I heard him right.
"Look, I don't know you. You don't know me. How can you love me?"
"I've loved you before you were in your mother's womb. I know everything it took to get you on this earth."
"Wait, wait, wait. I will not be your slave." I stood pushing the chair back. "I am not owned by anyone. You do not own me." His flat smile revealed he knew more than I did. There was only one logical course of action.
"Take me back to my cell," I demanded.
"Why?" He seemed confused as he stood.
"Because I control my life and that's where I want to be." I wanted to bolt from the room but didn't know where I was or where I could have gone.
"But I pulled you from that life in your cell."
"I can take care of myself."
Jesus sighed defeated
"Why do you want to go back?" He pressed the question.
"Why do you care what I do?" I knew I sounded rebellious.
"Because I love you." He simply stated.
"Jesus, how can you love me? I sat in that cell for how long? How long did it take you to come get me? Why do you love me?" I began walking away.
"Child, I love you enough to die for you." He quietly spoke.
"Prove it." I turned. Strolling to me.
"I proved it in my death, burial, and resurrection."
"Come on, Jesus." A lump formed in my throat. "I know that. Maybe I've lost my awe and wonder of it but I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your love goes beyond that. Goes so much deeper." Her eyes rolled as she spoke. Tears threatened to roll down my cheeks. "I want you." I pleaded my chest and throat burned from the tears welling up.
"You want me? I fight for your mind every day. You fill it with things that don't always glorify me." His voice rose. "I want to teach you but your time is limited to a few songs and one scripture. If I'm lucky you write about meeting in my throne room. You refuse to get into my word. Why do you think that is?" My heart ached, I knew he was right about everything. How could I answer him? I bowed my head failing to swallow the tears that escaped my eyes. "Come here," gathering me in his arms, I wrapped mine around his waist. He held me as I sobbed. "I'm sorry, I've failed." Crying in his strong chest.
"Shh." We stood there for a few minutes as I released the pain and expectations I had placed on myself. His hands held my face, our eyes met, he wiped my cheeks dry. My breath hitched as I saw myself in His eyes and the depth of love he contained.
"You know the best way to know me is through my word." I nodded. "Do you trust me to teach you?" I nodded again. "So what's your reservation?" His hands dropped holding mine.
Taking a deep sigh to set myself up. "I don't trust myself. I stay with the few scriptures you've given me because I know I can stay within the I am a child box. I'm still learning all being a child is about."
"There's a never-ending well of information." His mood lightened as he smiled.
"Yes, and I want more, more information. Everything I get seems to be surface tension on an ocean. Even the pastors I listen to are not specific enough for me. It makes me wonder what they are feeding on."
"You know they have to feed more than you."
"I know. How can I show them the depth you've shown me? How can I encourage them the way you have me?"
"Keep seeking me for that answer. I'll show you." pausing. "You ready for your cell again?"
"Can we go look at it?" I smiled, almost making my decision.
We walked side by side down the hall to my dark cell. I stood at the door peering in. The walls were completely blank. The bricks smooth and without seeable blemish.
Gasping, "Wow! Are you sure this is mine?" I looked at him smiling.
"Do you want to go back in?" The darkness seemed to pull at me, making me frightened.
"I don't think so," I replied looking at him.
"Look again, then." His eyes twinkled as the room changed completely.
"This is one of the rooms in your mansion." Tears of joy suddenly leaked from my eyes. It was our room. A room I had forgotten about for a long time. A place where he and I had met a time or two. It was special just for me. He remembered. I beamed with a smile that seemed to encompass my face.
"Thank you," I whispered.
"I show you the details in nature and in the sky that others miss. I show you how you are free from your sin and how to walk that out. You have wanted to know how I love you deeper. This story is the way. Your throne rooms and the creative scripture stories I give you are ways I love you. I fight for you because you Cristen, are mine. Forever.
God doesn't want to just take care of what's plaguing you, he wants to take what's holding you back from your purpose.
(Your coffin) Luke 7:11-17