The other side of the bridge

For many years I enjoyed a wonderful and close relationship with God. I was actually excited to get up each morning and spend time with him, read his word, talk to him and hear him speak. I learned and grew so much in those years. They weren’t perfect, my life was still my life, messy, challenging, I was still full of doubts and insecurities, I still fought with my husband and my children were still wild and out of control. That is life, but the foundation around which it all revolved was the rock of God. And I was happy.

Then life started getting complicated. Not normal complicated, not the usual challenges of life complicated but truly difficult complicated. And then another complication came along, and then another and then another. Each one on their own difficult but piled on top of each other became a burden I couldn’t bear. And when it was all over I found myself very bruised and battered and broken in many pieces. And a little lost.blog bridge

Throughout most of this healing year as I have sat down to try to connect with God I would imagine myself at the end of a long bridge looking across. I imagined my restored faith was on the other side and I desperately wanted that back. But I just could not bring myself to take even one step toward the other side. I struggled with this fact through most of this year. I missed my close walk with God but could not bring myself to walk toward it.

What I finally realized was that it wasn’t my faith I didn’t want to return to but the life that went with it. It was a great life, a life I loved, but it is over and I am so significantly changed, I can never go back to become that person again. I don’t even want to. And that is good. Part of going through challenges in life is growing and becoming more. I did not love those lessons but I won’t give up the knowledge I gained from them.

I started calling it my box. I didn’t want to get back into the box. The problem was I didn’t know what my faith or life looked like outside the box. So I continued to stand at the edge of the bridge looking across, unmoving. I couldn’t see the other side but I imagined God was there waiting for me. So in some ways just looking across knowing He was there helped maintain my faith. And I started talking to him a little more than I had been about things besides the challenges of my life. And it was feeling pretty good to just hang on the other side of the bridge. Out of my box and feeling free but still within shouting distance of God.

Then I was reading through Psalms and I got to 139. Sometimes when I get to really familiar passages I am tempted to skip them because I have read them so many times I figure they have lost all meaning. But I didn’t do that and I am glad. Because today God showed me this:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

As I was reading I imagined myself standing at that bridge as usual. But this time I saw something I hadn’t noticed before. God wasn’t on the other side of the bridge, He was standing next to me. “Where can I go from your Spirit?” God isn’t on the island with my old faith and my old life waiting for me to return. He goes with me. He goes up to the heavens with me and down to the depths with me and everywhere in between. I do not have to cross that bridge, I don’t have to return to that life and that person to restore my relationship with God. I don’t have to get back in my box or even try to navigate around my box. I can completely walk away from the box. He is right here, in this new life I am living in, with the new me I have become.

I feel so free! Where will we go? What will we do first? Me and God.

Getting to know God

My pastor recently shared a story from Tim Kellor about a conversation he had with an atheist. He was commenting on how few Christians read the bible. He said if he did believe there was a God and he really believed the bible was God’s word directly to him then he would be reading it every chance he got!

So true. We have this amazing opportunity to know God right in front of us and we miss it. We don’t view the bible as an opportunity to know God. GOD! Hello, little nothing us, direct access to a relationship with God.

If Warren  Buffett started emailing personally with you about investing you would read those emails! If the CEO of your company started emailing you thoughts on your career path you would read those emails! If the queen of England started emailing you because she heard you were nice and wanted to be your friend you would read those emails! My niece got on twitter and has been trying to get a celebrity to respond to one of her tweets. Direct communication with a famous person! How great would that be?

We have that with God. Direct communication, advice, encouragement and a desire to simply know us and be our friend. And we get it all out of the bible. That thing we don’t read. Or we look at as a bunch of old stories and rules. And we miss Him. We miss the passion God has for us when we miss the significance of what the bible is. The amazing gift it is.

If you really want to experience a brush with greatness you don’t need luck, twitter or a court side ticket to a Laker’s game. You just need to open the bible.