24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:24-31 (Read all of Hebrews 10)
The sky is barely grey as day fights the darkness of night. The nocturnal creatures are singing their chorus while birds yet slumber. The late September leaves, now tinged with the promise of vibrant color, drip dropping on each other. Hickory nuts loud as they crash through their host’s branches hitting fence and ground. The squirrels are busy, the recent rain leaving a chilly humid. Another day.
I soak in the smells and sounds of early dawn reflecting on God’s word. I ponder the way it affects how I see myself and life, knowing where I’d be without it. The only way I can know this is to be where I am now, looking through Jesus’ rearview mirror of grace. I see where I’ve come from with no want to go back. It makes me a witness. It gives me the very breath in my soul. It gives me a testimony.
I was in church from younger to young. Some folks know and accept Jesus and church life without struggle. I wasn’t one of those. I met Jesus in my Granny’s little country church when I was eight or nine. I used to tease that the piano sounded as country as the people. I was immersed in the pool back in our home church. I preached more as a child than I ever have in my adult life. I barely had a grasp on Christianity when temptation’s tree bore abundant fruit.
A woman child left to her own is heady and dangerous. There are no bounds without a tether, sometimes in innocence, sometimes in defiance. More often it’s in the searching. We know but we don’t know, there’s power but no understanding. Without a lead there is no follow, only fall out. Like Hickory Nuts crashing to the ground and being crushed.
Daddy took off shortly after my new found Salvation. Mom moved us back to the mountains of North Carolina, taking a job she was capable of doing. It involved traveling…a lot. In her defense she had no formal education and hadn’t worked since having kids. Was the job a blessing or an unrecognized escape? In retrospect our lives could have been so much worse. We had food, housing and clothing but my sisters and I were on our own. Three sweet peas ages ten, thirteen and sixteen, in a drifting dysfunctional pod. I can’t help but wonder the what ifs. Would the nurturing have made us more whole? Forgiving that has been the hardest.
Until my late twenties or early thirties my life went by with no knowledge of its passing. No focus, no gathering nuts of wisdom for later use.
Until I met Jesus again…I had done the leaving, not Him.
I was camping at the beach with friends, living out my dysfunction with husband and child. I spread that disease with oblivious, blissful ignorance. Jesus met me in my stoned state. He came in the form of hymns drifting across the lake that Easter Sonrise morning. The words and melodies of, “He Arose” and “He Lives” wrapped themselves around my inmost being and moved me with the power of the Spirit calling. I answered with anguish full heart, grieving the time I lost at Jesus feet.
My sister friend invited me to visit her congregation. Me and my disgrace. Satan tried repeatedly to keep me from it, I flailed and floundered repeatedly. But Jesus was right there revealing the painful things, the shameful things. He was there leading, holding, loving, refining, forgiving. Jesus…my Friend…my Brother…His Father my own loving Father. Beautiful.
I weathered my own divorce storm and its freedom blew me off the wagon…once more. Not long after, God’s Spirit flooded mine with warning. As if to say, “My child your rebellion and constant intentional sin is what I will leave you to if you choose this path again. Turn from your ways, stay with Me or go, I can look on your sin no longer.” In awesome fear and repentant reverence I gave it over to Him once for all and I’ve found undeserved blessing.
The Day came and vanquished my night.
Jesus longs to flood your dark with light.