A billet-doux ... a love letter ... an ongoing story of triumph ... a woman's life ... an anecdote ... a witty conversation ... a testimony ... a poem ... a revolution ... a movement ... your life and mine shared in this unique format!
I love date nights with my husband. I like to hold his hands and look into his beautiful dark eyes. I like to remember why I fell in love with him and why I still am. He is an amazing man and I am thankful each day to know him. I remember a time in my life, my close friends, those who knew back when, can testify to this, when the relationship was nothing more than a knowing in my soul. I always loved Daniel. I tried to think of the moment, when I fell in love. Was it something he said or did? Was it the gumball machine ring he proposed to me with? Was it the letters he wrote? I’m not sure. I think it was just him. I knew him without really knowing him. It was more than a feeling but a knowing.
Recently, I have been in a familiar pattern of thoughts. Thinking introspectively, trying to figure if the choices I have made were the best for my family. I said to the Lord, “I don’t feel strong enough for this walk. I feel like quitting.” And he said to me, “Religion feels. Relationship knows.” I thought to myself, “Okay, what does that mean.” And the Lord began to speak to my spirit, he said “Rituals make people feel certain ways. Religious practices give people a sense of closeness or oneness with me; but in times of distress they no longer feel that closeness. They begin to fear. Their faith wanes. They lose hope and they forget me. A person, who has a relationship with me knows me, so when conflict arises and they feel distressed it doesn’t change what they know about me. I am still God to them and their knowledge of me keeps them from forgetting who they are in middle of the conflict.”
I’m reminded of a movie I saw as a kid, “I’m Gonna get you Sucka” starring Keenan Ivory Wayans. It was urban, it was 80’s and it was poignant. The main character was a military officer who returns home after his brother dies from a Gold Overdose. Anyway, he gets engaged in a warfare with “The Man” who is responsible for his brother’s death. Long story short, there’s a scene when he walks out of a building to a beraid of gunshots, and instead of him recalling to memory his military training, he starts panicking. He runs around screaming, “They shootin’! They shootin’!” I imagine there are times, when we forget our military training, we panic and we start yelling and screaming for help.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been thinking a lot about my choices. And I have to say, that all of them, since the day I asked Christ to be my Lord have been about… Him being my Lord. I’m sitting at a table across from the unfailing love of my life. I look into His eyes and I know him. He is mine and I am his and every choice I make is because of him. It doesn’t matter who else there, whether in the room or at the table. This is a table for two.
The psalmist David wrote about this theme, in the 23rd Psalm “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil.” As I prayed this morning, this scripture came alive in me. I saw myself, sitting at a table across from my Lord and at this table were seated all of my enemies. My enemies are not people though there are probably people who despise me for reasons they themselves cannot explain. But the enemies that I speak of are ones that I am powerless to destroy outside of the power of God. I speak of a greater enemy, the betrayer of my soul, “Jesus sat at table with a betrayer, Judas. The disciples sat at the table, they broke bread and drank wine. Jesus even washed their feet. They all sat with the betrayer who would sell out Messiah for a few pieces of silver. Imagine, their distress. Their hope had been in the Christ, how could Judas betray him? He can’t suffer the cross. If he dies, all of our hope dies with him. Simon Peter, proclaimed, “Not so Lord.” Death wasn’t a part of the plan. We were going to make him King. He can’t die.
I for one, remember when I first started this walk, April 23rd 1996. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know it would take this long or take me this route. Yet, there is a constant knowing I have in my soul even when I feel betrayed; not by God, or my husband or my children, but by my circumstance. I told God this morning, you are still the God who answers prayers and works miracles. That has not changed and I refuse to believe that you are God who holds back blessings to teach lessons. That is not my God. This process has not been about me getting to a place of perfection, sinlessness and worthiness. I don’t have enough lifetimes for that. What this walk has been about is me coming to the knowledge of who I am in Christ and knowing that regardless of the crisis, I am known and loved by you. I have become more aware in these months and years of God’s goodness and grace; and it is this knowledge that has produced in me a will to live and not die. There are always going to be betrayers. Debt is a betrayer. Illness is a betrayer. Fear is a betrayer. Rage is a betrayer. And, like Judas, they seek to kill the life in us. But, Christ overcame death. He lives. And he has given us life and everything that we need for this life.
Timothy 6:6 says “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” If I am “godly” and have no contentment in it then I have not gained what Christ died for me to have. This is what the process is for. Not to produce in us a worthiness for what it is we want but in understanding that what we need we already have in Christ. We have gained everything in Christ. God is All Sufficient. There is no deficiency in Him. There is nothing I can give him that he hasn’t already given to me.
Today the Lord prepared a table for me in the presence of my enemies. I sat down and he said, “I am the bread of Life, whoever eats of me will live forever.” My prayer is a spiritual breaking of bread and drinking of wine. As I prayed, I mediatated in God's word and I remembered why I fell in love with him and why I still love him. It’s because He first loved me. It’s because of his Unfailing Love. I know him and he knows me. I love him today and always because he always is. Always is God. Always is Good. Always is Faithful. Always is Love.