Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Road of Life

At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognised His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know Him. Later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don't know just when it was that he suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable... It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knows the delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!" I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, the Lord's and mine. And we're off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light. I did not trust him at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it; but he knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my constant companion, Jesus Christ. And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He just smiles and says....  
The Road of Life (Author Unknown)

This is the speech I memorised for a speech competition in the seventh grade, I believe. I got a blue ribbon for it and was also asked to give it at our end of the year “Best of the Best” school program. (Be aware that I went to a private school with 250 students total, so don’t be too impressed.) Anyways, when I picked this monologue I thought it was cute and fun to say and it had lots of opportunities for embellishment to get me that blue ribbon. And I was right, but I never really looked at this speech and evaluated it against my own journey with God until now. As a private school kid, I definitely knew about God. I had bible class every day and chapel every Thursday. My teachers were Christians and all the families in the school were Christian. It was an amazing community and I loved it. But I never really looked at the Christian faith, thought on it, and made it my own. It was more like a lifestyle. Like the monologue says, I noticed God was there, but I was in control. It was not until my certainty in life was taken away that I realised I couldn’t be in front anymore. It was sort of like I had crashed the bike and realised I sucked at steering. It prompted the best decision I’ve ever made: giving Christ the lead. I still get nervous and try to take back my position in the front, but let’s be real… Jesus really does know bike secrets. Or rather, life secrets. I mean he came and lived the perfect life on earth. That guy was nice, he never lied, he was nice to his parents and siblings…all the time…loved the convicts and prostitutes and low-lifes, and touched the people with contagious illnesses that made your skin fall off only to heal them. Seriously, if Jesus came to earth today I’d want to be that dude’s BFF. The New Testament tells us about how much he kicked every else’s butts at doing life right. Given the option, I’d much rather him help me out and steer me in the right direction than screw it up myself. So, that’s pretty much what I did. I definitely still reach for the steering wheel at times and sometimes Jesus slaps my hand and says “Hands off.” Other times he lets me try and I either realise I’m going to crash and quickly jump back to my spot in the backseat. Other times, I crash and he picks me up, dusts me off, and sets me back on my seat. Either way, life is much better when he is in front. I am so glad I believe in a God that has a plan for me and wants to help me along the path to accomplish it.

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

My time at Capernwray is two weeks to close. As the end draws near, I am realising many things about this place that are so unique and nearly all of them involve the people. It is amazing to be in a room of 150 people and know without a doubt that nearly all of them love you because Jesus loves them. I love 1 John 4. It is a chapter of the Bible where the apostle John attempts to convey who God is in His deepest essence. When I read it, I can nearly see John sitting there thinking to himself, “how can I explain God to the church? How do I make it clear?” And then he writes out the next fourteen verses which go something like this…   

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement: in this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because God first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

This passage tells us all about how God totally embodies the characteristic of love. All of his traits flow out from this one fact. If I know God, as well as the 152 other students living in this place we call home, then we know his love. I am going to boldly state that if you know God’s love, you will want to show it to others. That is why Capernwray Bible School is such an amazing place. It is a body of students looking to support you, encourage you, pray with you and for you, be kind to you, give you things, and ultimately be God’s love to you. What an amazing place of encouragement for Christians! There are a few places on the Sarah Girard Heritage Tour (the places where my faith was impacted), and I can tell you for sure: Capernwray is one of them. As I think about going home and leaving this place, my sorrow is evident. I am really going to miss it here. I find solace in the fact that I still get two more weeks in this place, with these people. What a blessing. I can only praise God for giving me this time here and allowing me to make such amazing friends. It will be really difficult leaving and not having them around at all times to talk to and turn to for help, but I know that I have made more sincere and genuine friends here than I have ever made in my entire life and I thank God for them each and every day.