Sunday, October 7, 2012
Are you giddy with expectation of me gushing over a new man and telling you every bit of detail from the first flower he gave me to the ridiculous endearing nicknames we have made for one another? I encourage you to get EXCITED! Keep reading! The love story is at the end!!! ;)
I have been reminded recently of how sometimes God has to knock me down, flat on my face, to grab my attention. I was venturing out on my longest run of the year feeling completely pumped and ready to go. I carb loaded at breakfast, gulped down enough water, even dug through my closet to find my fancy Nike official running tank top, and downloaded some new tunes to my I pod. Running to me has always been a stress relief and a time to put on some Christian tunes and just get out there with God and be free. But I did something on this particular day that I’ve never done before. I got out about 100 feet and turned off the music and prayed. I said, “Lord, I want this run to be about You. I know there’s a lot of things that happen during my day where forget to think of you or don’t think to include you, but I want this run to be dedicated to You. I pray that I may have the strength to complete it but also the willingness to let you be a part of it. I give you this run to use to show me who You are.” (Warning: don’t pray this prayer if you want a nice calm boring run).
I turn my music back on and start enjoying the run. I’m about a half a mile in when before I know what even happened, I’m laying flat out on the sidewalk. I literally tripped over a sidewalk and bit the dust…hard! Maybe there was a little rise up in the concrete but in all honesty, I may be thinking that just to make myself feel better for tripping over a subdivision side walk! I seriously have never tripped before on a run. I instantly felt humiliation, then recovered with laughter. I can only imagine how awkward that fall must have looked. I wipe off some blood from my scraped knee and continue on when suddenly a picture of the fallen Jesus, cross in tow, surfaces in my mind.
The Bible tells us that after being scourged, beaten, and mocked, Jesus was forced to carry His cross to Calvary. During that journey, He fell. This is extremely significant. As I recently learned, it’s humiliating to fall. Our God, who in an instant could have had the strength of a hundred men if he wished, humbled himself to be a bruised and broken man falling under the weight of some wood that would serve as His execution framework. Our God fell. I love that. I have a God who is so powerful He can move mountains and calm seas, and yet He allows himself to fall so that we can have a God who knows exactly how heavy the weight of the world can be on His shoulders. We have a God who knows probably even better than most of us, what it feels like to be humiliated, betrayed and what it feels like to be so worn out that He can’t even keep himself upright. He chose to fall because He needs us to know that no matter how far down we get, He’s been there.
Do you have the weight of the world on your shoulders right now? Do you have something you’ve been hiding…maybe you are ashamed and think no one would understand. Or maybe you think you have fallen so far down that you don’t think even a miracle could pull you out of the hole you’ve dug. Maybe it’s an addiction, a bad relationship, a past hurt, a family member, a friend, a grudge or just plain loneliness that keeps tripping you over and over and over again. I need you to know that You are never alone. You have a God who knows what it’s like to fall, and the best news is, you also have a God who knows what it’s like to rise. I promise you that He wants you to rise and I promise that He will help you do so. He loves you so much that he would fall for you and die for you. His love is so vast and perfect and beautiful that He wants to take you by the right hand and wrap you in His blanket of peace. You must make the decision to turn to Him.
But that’s not all! There’s even more good news. I absolutely believe the first step is establishing a personal relationship with Jesus and calling out to Him. I also believe He doesn’t call us to do this completely alone. You see, after some falls, the Romans assign a man named Simon to help Jesus carry the cross the rest of the way. Our own God didn’t choose to carry the cross completely alone. What better way to show us how much our God values the idea of “carrying our crosses” together. He has a desire for us to be in fellowship with other believers. He knows He is all we need to go on, but He also knows the limitations of our physical and emotional bodies and has felt the concept of “strength in numbers.”
If you’re thinking right now, that’s good and all, but what if you don’t have any friends that would love me like that. All my friends have betrayed me and left me here alone and afraid. You know that church you keep passing on your way to work? Or that nagging thought in your head that keeps asking you to google search churches in the area? You know that co-worker who keeps asking you to tag along with her to Sunday service? That’s God. He’s asking you to turn to Him. He knows you are fallen and He knows that this probably wasn’t the first fall and it most certainly will not be the last. He may even use a random literal fall on an ordinary run to make You think of Him! He promises that “ this momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. The weight of your burdens and the pain they cause will be transformed by His most holy love. What are you waiting for?! Run into the most loving arms of Jesus…..but watch out for those pesky sidewalks! =)
Ok, ok, back to the love story I mentioned in the beginning……I moved to Sandwich, IL not knowing quite what to expect. I knew no one, but during my time with God I felt Him telling me I was coming here not only for work, but for the people. I listened to the “nagging” in my heart which led me to attend 2 churches. In the beginning I took the first step alone. Since my initial “move” towards God’s nagging, I have met some pretty amazing people who not only add to the enjoyment of my life with friendship, but also hold me accountable in and strengthen my walk with Christ. He has also helped me strengthen friendships I already have! My love story is this; I have a God who loves me enough to say, “Heidi, if you listen to my still small voice and follow where I call you to go, I will provide for you more than you could ever imagine.” So that first flower He gave me, was the beautiful first daisy I noticed which reflected his awesomeness. And that nickname He calls me is "beloved". He surprises me every day with the love He pours out for me. One small “yes”, turned into a huge Hallelujah! =)