All of us have experiences, whether joyful or painful, that were particularly instrumental in shaping us into the individuals that we have become. Such events can be traumatic, hilarious or revelatory, each one leaving a deep, emotional marker in our minds and on our hearts. Some of them are old, beyond cognitive memory, and only the feelings and impressions remain. Some of them are new and vibrant but no less deep, no less defining. They build us up or tear us down. They provide the tools that we use to either cope with life or dig the holes that we repeatedly fall into. We endure them, sort through them, reach some sort of conclusion, and then pack them away in our enormous thought warehouse. This is the house where we truly live, desperately trying to function properly within the confines of our own customized perceptions. It can resemble a theme park or a prison, but inevitably, it is the standard by which, and the shelter from which we view ourselves and the world.
Coming in a far second to Abba, Himself, I would have to say that my bed is my greatest solace. When the going gets tough, the tough go to bed. I try not to wallow around in self pity and I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a depressed person, but for some reason my bed is the safest place, in my distorted view, that the secular world has to offer in times of personal struggle. I don’t necessarily sleep, I just hide there. I read, write and talk on the phone, all from my snuggly command post. I must admit, with the modern conveniences that we currently enjoy, one could run a business, even a country and never have to leave the safety of their favorite pillow and blankie. Perhaps because my bedroom, to me, was the safest place in my home when I was a child, I have come to consider it likewise in adulthood. From a child’s point of view, that perception is understandable but not realistic. Yet, this conclusion has carried over into my adult belief system, realistic or no. Whenever I am confronted with a situation where I am to be denied my safe sanctuary, I am tempted to respond in an irrational manner. Traveling, moving, late nights and house guests have all evoked this behavior in me and each episode can be traced back to my fear of being separated from my bed. Silly, isn’t it?
There is a point where our loving Father will carefully reveal to us our dysfunctions, exposing their futility. In His unfailing mercy He shows us the prison bars and offers us the key. Now what do we do? If we use the key and leave our confinement it means we must trust Him. We must give Him our fears and trust that He will protect and guide us through the wilds of reality. On the other hand, He will not force us to come out. He will allow us to stay locked away in our self-imposed incarceration — for a time anyway — before He visits us again with another gentle invitation to freedom. Every painful crossroad, every bare revelation is an opportunity to follow Him out of the strange nonsense-world we’ve created for ourselves and into the warm sunlight of truth. We must know and accept the truth in order to move and function in the freedom that truth provides.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
How did we get so turned around in the first place? How did we come to accept and live by the conclusions we reached long ago, due to conditions which no longer exist? We put our faith in the creation, rather than the Creator, in order to satisfy the illusion that we had some sort of control, that we were able to save ourselves.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened…… 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Rom 1: 21,25
Following Him into the light of truth, real truth, means coming out from under the burden of producing our own salvation. It means exchanging our limited understanding for the limitless joy and freedom of the Spirit. It means that we will never, ever have to stand behind those bars ever again, aching for meaning and acceptance, watching life pass us by, wondering why we can’t find ourselves out there in the procession.
36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36