Friday, March 11, 2011

Escaping the Darkness

Four walls surround me, a roof is above me, a dark floor exists beneath my feet. The whole room is dark, a darkness so enveloping, so complete that not a speck of light can penetrate. I grope blindly about, trying to find my own way out, my eyes open, my fingers stretched out desperately. Occasionally a window opens next to me and I can glimpse a scene of life on the outside, of life with light ... with complete and utter joy. A smile graces my face as I can see ... for that one second ... a life without the darkness, without the fear. Within moments, the window closes again, leaving me in darkness; trying to find an opening ... a portal into that life. I feel like I'm alone as the darkness causes me to contemplate my thoughts, my actions of the past leading me to here. I realize the countless times that I've yearned to make the right choice, yet deliberately decided to support the opposite. The times I've been offered tickets out of this darkness yet said no. In the beginning, it didn't seem bad. The room was still brightly lit and I got what I wanted, no worse for wear. However over time, the light gradually began to disappear yet I could not understand it. I did not realize that it was gone until it was too late and my eyes were opened. And now that the darkness is nearly complete, I can't see my way around as clearly as I could when the light existed in this room. Soon after, I realize that there is a key to a door ... a door that will lead me out of here. I don't touch the key or even attempt to open the door. I can't say why but I feel a reluctance to touch it or use the door. Something keeps me from grasping hold of the key, turning the lock and opening the door, bringing me into freedom. A fear holds me as I read a note by the key. The note claims that a sacrifice is required ... a change of wills so to speak in order to use it. This note represents freedom however I cannot take it up. Using it requires me to make a sacrifice that I cannot, in my mind, make. After what seems like an eternity, I fall to my knees, desperate, weakened and broken as the deception that controlled my life for so long breaks free and I realize the true dark nature of my predicament. Suddenly however, the room becomes a shade lighter, and then another shade lighter and another as it slowly brightens. My heaving sobs cease, my tear streaked and weary face looks up and notices something different. I am not alone in this room. An individual stands there, darkness fleeing desperately before Him. He points me to the key and then the door. I shake my head stubbornly, yet I am left no other choice as I am trapped by the deception of my actions. There is no other option and the face shining down on me and decimating the darkness that surrounds me is so genuine, so pure. His face shines like the sun, a gentle look on His brow. Yet even though I see Him standing there, I cannot take hold of the key because I cannot ... will not give up my will to live. He stands there everlasting, eons pass and yet I will not recieve the key and He will not leave this room. I come to the edge of the void, my emotions, body and soul completely spent in my efforts to escape this prison. He still stands there offering the key. Finally I realize that He is not leaving and neither am I on my own actions. I lift my eyes once more, hope kindling like a blaze in my heart, wondering if after all this time, He is still there offering the key to life. He is. I finally understand that there is nothing I can or will be able to do to escape this prison. I've explored every option, every crevice, every niche of this room and the only way out is through this door ... the key to which has been in reach all this time. I struggle to my feet, He supports me. I stumble towards the key, He sustains me. My aching fingers grasp the key, their cold dead fingers struggling to grasp the key. His warm, firm hands, covers mine, closing the key within my grasp. A new strength floods through me as I realize what I am about to do, what He is about to do with me. My skeletal feet slowly trod towards the door, three times do i attempt to turn, yet His firm loving hand steers me back on track. One last burst of fear and apprehension floods my veins like ice water and I jerk away from Him. He allows me to but instead of walking away, He follows me, His hand still on my shoulder. Once I stray from the path however, I immediately am flooded with feelings of shame and the web of lies is stripped away. I realize what I've done and I fall to my feet. He lifts me up and pulls me into His embrace. I protest as I am unable to understand or fully comprehend how He can still care for me. He pulls me back towards the door and lifts my hand to the lock. I insert the key, His hand guiding my fingers. I turn the lock and gently push the door open. Light floods into the dark room, banishing the darkness and shadows away. Fresh air floods my lungs, light infuses my skin and I am cleansed fully and forevermore. His hand releases my shoulder yet He still stands behind me. I look back at Him and He nods, a jubilant grin on His shining face. I step forwards and my life explodes. My will is given to Him, my purpose is now to serve Him who has freed me from the darkness, my everlasting goal is to bring glory to He who has cared for me, destroyed the chains of darkness that enclosed me and brought me into His presence. Glory be to God! He is my life, my strength, my song.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ocean Thoughts

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, I've been pretty busy with school and all. A week ago or so, a few friends and I went on a short backpacking trip for the weekend. We drove out to Shi Shi Beach on the Olympic Peninsula and hiked in from there. If you have not visited it out there before ... it's an absolute must! It's a fairly easy hike but muddy. The landscape though is definitely worth it! I woke up the following morning before all my friends did and so decided to take a leisurely hike around the beach. The night before, we arrived in the dark, and so I had not been able to take a look around yet. The morning was beautiful, the sky was blue and the clouds were virtually non-existent ... perfect weather for soul searching. Anywho, for some reason, as I looked around at all the beauty of God's creation, I began thinking of other forms of beauty that God had created ... surprise surprise, my mind turned to the ladies in my life. I can't exactly say why I began thinking this but I did. I began to survey the way I had treated any girl I've known and noticed how, unfortunately and to my regret, too often their physical appearance had played a role. I started thinking about how the different genders treat eachother in regard to their physical appearance. I have been told, supposedly, that women do not pay as much attention to what's on the outside as what's on the inside. I can remember countless time's when I've thanked God for making them that way. But then I began to think about why guys are thankful for that. It's because we want to end up with or be friends with someone physically beautiful and if they don't care "as much" about what we look like, then we can maybe marry or befriend "above our station" if you catch my drift. Then God hit me. That is so doggone selfish! We are thankful for the fact that they don't pay as much attention to the "wrappings" yet we ourselves use that as an excuse to ignore the gems within them. I realized that that whole idea is a one way benefit. Guys benefit because they may marry somone that, in physical beauty, they don't deserve but women, since guys are so visually oriented, are left in the mud. I felt so ashamed that I had acted this way, and God really laid it on my heart to change how I've been acting. Unfortunately, I am still by nature a guy, and so that visual nature will never be removed, however, with the daily encouraging and seeking of the Holy Spirit, I can hopefully keep my mind focused on how to treat women, the more Beautiful creation of God. And I am so so sorry for any young woman out there that I've treated differently based on their physical appearance. This will always be a learning point for me, as I imagine it is for every guy, however I am praying daily that I can learn to be more God focused in this area with "x-ray" vision that can see past the physical beauty and to the gem that exists within every woman's heart.