I can feel the light air coming off the ocean water. Fresher. More distinct. It produces an emotion that resembles freedom.
My legs dangle loosely off the rock and for a second, I am convinced I am secure. Untouchable. Unnoticeable. Just here, on my own, filling a small space of this world. I think to myself, if I could just stay here.
But here’s the thing. That small space and short moment is not what we are designed for. We are not designed for isolation nor are we designed for stagnation. That moment of stillness is a temporary allusion to a greater, more fulfilling thing. We are constantly searching for a sense of identity and security in worldly aspects. But that freedom we so desire is only attainable through the blood-shed cross. And in reality, the desire to remain alone in that moment is selfish. Because we have the living hope roaring inside waiting to be spread.
And here’s the twisted thing: we want to stay in those moments because it’s easier than going out in to the world and facing the persecution and putting forth effort in relationships and love. But aren’t those the very attributes of God we cling to and the aspects of faith we desperately need? We feel free while overlooking the ocean and breathing fresh air because it requires nothing of us. But true freedom looked like a bloody, tortured, and crucified man. A freedom that came with the cost of a cross and the cost of worldly “dignity” and “respect.” But on the other side of the spectrum it was a throne, a means to an end and a means to a beginning – an end of separation between God and man and a beginning to a new body and creation.
Because of that sacrifice, though, our freedom is also not our own. It means we have a responsibility to stand up, walk, and press on. To enjoy the moments of stillness as a time of fueling the soul and then recognize when it’s time to get up and go. To be a friend, a disciple, an encourager, a teacher, a spouse, a mother – whatever your story, we must take the freedom we know and fight to share it, preach it, and live within it.
So, remaining in that moment is not an option for us. Stagnation is not the way we grow closer to God and it’s not the way we as His children are designed to live. On the contrary, we need our brothers and sisters. We need the gifts and love of others to pour in to us, just as we pour in to them. We need help walking through pain and grief and we need people to rejoice and pray in joy. So, though our instinct is to hide from the effort, failed expectations, judgement and slander, it is actually through those things that we experience the freedom of the cross; and through those things that we experience the glory and love of God. Because He has invited us in to something so much more than those light, momentary afflictions.
Psalm 85:15 “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
Our God is merciful. Our God is gracious. Our God is slow to anger. Our God abounds. Our God is steadfast. Our God is love. Our God is faithful. What of this world can compare? Would we dare keep these truths locked in our heart, alone by an ocean, “secure” and “untouchable”? Or because of who our God is, we step in to the world and witness, love, and endure so that people may walk in the same, never-ending freedom?
Let us not sit stagnant and alone in grace. Let us learn to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.