I Am Finally Free
He is so wonderfully mindful of us. He is so wonderfully caring towards us. This world claws for our attention with such rapt force we are often left blurry eyed, head spinning. It is a frightful & almost chilled feeling that washes over me when I think how easily I am swayed by what I want. How my heart cries for the temporal to satisfy, instead of the everlasting to nourish & glorify. Life truly is a vapor; fire & paper. We have but a moment. So many of these precious moments I have wasted.
If the Son has set us free, then we must be free indeed, let the chains fall away, starting today, everything has changed, I am finally free. – Finally Free, Nicole Nordeman
The words penned above are from a song I have been trying to sing in church for the last month. It seems that every time I am able someone else is singing that Sunday & every time there is an opening I am unavailable. The song is extremely simple. Just a little over three minutes long, with three small verses. But, it packs a wonderful punch. It carries with it a truth that I so often forget.
I am chained to the floor by fear! Fear of what others might think of me, fear of failing, fear of not being good enough. I am chained to the floor by greed! The moment I get something I really want I’m off daydreaming about the next purchase my greedy fingers might grasp hold of. I am chained to the floor by guilt! Endless old tapes play in my head of the mistakes I have made, the hurt I’ve caused, & the pain caused to me by others. I am chained to the floor by lust! How my little heart quickens by what my eyes see. And, the list is ever endless.
But, the truth is, once I accepted Christ as my personal Savior I became a new & wondrous creation. As my Pastor says, “It is my choice who answers the door when trouble comes calling.” I can still choose to answer with the old man & be defeated or I can answer with the new man & live in victory.
Sin is fun. It is a delicious & heady drug. It fills your body, mind, & spirit with wonderful sensations & makes life exciting. It captures a moment of the adventure that we all long for - the adventure that we seem to lose in the day to day drudgery of it all. But, it comes with a heavy price. The sensation once ignited, quickly dims, & we are left with an even deeper chasm of ache we cannot fill. It strips our soul of light & leaves great wounds in its wake.
I was thinking of Frodo & Sam, as I am often in Middle Earth, & the peril they were under. The urgency of their quest as the fate of the world hung in the balance. I often think, “that is what it means to be fully alive!” When the cost is high the adventure must be great! But, after that thought a quiet stillness settled over me & God spoke these words to my heart, “Melissa, sometimes Frodo & Sam contended with the cold night wind, lack of sleep, & the growl of their bellies!”
First, I am well aware these are fictional characters. Second, the realization of this thought was so utterly profound that it took my breath. Yes, they were on a perilous mission, but sometimes they just had to contend with staying warm & what they were going to eat. It wasn’t a life or death moment, but simply a basic need that needed to be met.
I was able to see the scope of things in a much larger scale. I realized in that moment that my adventure was far deeper, richer, perilous, scary, and more uncertain than any Frodo or Sam had to endure. It is also one of the most exciting, truthful, & important adventures I will ever have. While, I will always be pulled by fantasies from mystical lands, in that moment I could fully realize what the measure of my life was.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. – 1 Peter 2:9
We so often reach for crumbs under the table when God has prepared a banquet for our honor. He has given us new clothes & set us at the place of honor at the table. The glorious thing is, he doesn’t ask us to eat at the table one time, but openly invites us to dine with Him each day. It is our choice to go to the table each day.
Some take this truth with haughty arrogance. They are puffed up and self-righteous. But, this is completely opposite of what a Christ follower is. A humble spirit, willing hands, sacrificial heart, thoughtful mind, & a compassionate soul are the very attributes that make a Christian. We do not do this for ourselves, but from the deep love that found & rescued us.
I am re-reading the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. The last two times I have read through the series I have seen Hadassah, one of the main characters, as she sees herself; weak in her faith. I guess it was because I could relate. I so often feel like a failure when it comes to my faith. But, this time God is pointing out little Hadassah’s strength by the way others see her. I am astounded how she lives her faith so completely. She feels she is weak, but God has made her unbelievably strong. It has encouraged & nourished my heart in a way that doesn’t touch any emotion this side of Heaven.
We so often fear our ugliness, our shame. But, God sees our deep scars & finds us beautiful.
This is what Marcus told Hadassah after seeing her scars:
“Oh, beloved.” The wounds had been deep, the scars running from her forehead to her chin and throat. Releasing her wrists, he touched her face tenderly, tracing the mark of the lion. “You are beautiful.” He cupped her head in his hands and kissed her forehead, her cheek, her chin, her mouth. “You are beautiful.” – p. 428, An Echo in the Darkness, Francine Rivers.
This is the way Christ sees us. He tends to our open wounds, heals our scars, & tenderly & reverently shows us His scars, the scars that He bore for the bride price…to set us free.
We are truly free…truly beautiful…truly beloved of Christ!