The second path

The other day I was reminded of a decision that I made deep in my spirit and that I am confident I will make over and over again for the rest of my time on earth.

When I look at my life, I see two possible paths I can take:
Path #1 – Safe. Predictable. Secure. Insured. It looks a lot like most middle class American lives.
Path #2 – Risk. Unknown. Adventure. Faith. A path that I fear will disappoint the expectations some people have for my life.

I don’t mean to say that the typical middle class American (Path #1) can’t live a life of adventure, risk and faith.

But I do know that for me – this wouldn’t be the case. I would rely more on my own financial security than on God’s provision. I would depend more on my health insurance than the healing power of God. For me, Path #1 leads to a boring life that wastes the precious time given to me on this earth. I don’t want store up security and knowledge only to gain nothing that will endure beyond this life.

I was reminded that no matter how tempting Path #1 can appear to be and no matter the expectations or plans that others have for my life…I will always choose the second path. I will always come back to those hunger pangs for the deep, dark waters where only the Lord can lead me. I reject the lie that wisdom only looks like a full bank account and a completely mapped out life. I am not promised tomorrow; I refuse to deny the adventure for today out of the fear of lack for tomorrow.

The God I serve is intimately acquainted with my comings and goings. He is keenly aware of my need. A life surrendered to him and entrusted to him is not foolish. It is the only secure place. It is the one true way to hold onto that which will last.

Therefore, my heart will always choose Path #2. I can’t see where it leads and I can’t determine each step of the way. But that is the beauty of this path. It does not lack vision but embraces obscurity for the sake of faith in an unseen God.

Our steps are made firm by the Lord, when he delights in our way;
though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds us by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24

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fresh worship

What makes the God I worship different? What is this whisper that beckons my heart and captures my imagination?

Since the beginning of time, people from all nations have searched for the divine. For many, the fullness of this understanding comes in the divinity of self and all of life becomes the seeking of this ultimate reality.

My mind has been consumed with Hindu thought as I have been studying the Bhagavad Gita and different forms of yoga that bring about the release from the cycles of death and rebirth. My professor encouraged us to search these things in groups of two or more, where Christ leads and guides us. She expects us to sense the resonances of Christ in all worship practices and yet also discern how Christian worship is different.

The fresh wind that has come in my understanding and worship of Christ through this process is indescribable. Truths that have been stale for years are taking deep breaths and exhaling cleansing revelation to my soul.

We have relationship with the deity. He made his relationship with us the closest form of identity to him without being him – we are his children; we carry his DNA but we are not the deity. He hears us when we speak; he has compassion on us and feels our pain; he responds to us because he loves us. If we are the divine and there is no separation, there is no relationship and without relationship there is no love. Yet we have understood the very definition of Love because we know where we end and where God begins in relationship. We do not claim to be divine or to be the creator but as created beings we reflect Christ, who is the fullness of the deity, in us.

This God we worship is a God who is devoted and a God who sacrifices. We do not sacrifice to God so that we may earn the right to his blessings or to receive his power. But he has sacrificed himself to us – and given us his inheritance freely. There is no sacrifice we can make that would compel him to bless us. It was first his decision to give us free gifts that we could not earn – even the simple gift of life.

We often hear of a people who sacrifice to God and a people who are devoted to God. But what about a God who sacrifices? What about a God who is the most loyal and devoted companion? Truly it is not our sacrifice that defines our worship but God’s. Our devotion is merely a response to a greater devotion and loyalty that God displays toward us.

Human beings were made for connection, not only to others and not only to the self. But we were created and fashioned to connect to the Supreme Being and Creator of our most delicate intricacies. We were made to be outrageously loved as children born of God. We are not reborn into another attempt to achieve the ultimate reality of the self as divine, but we are reborn into a family with connection, belonging and love.

Though this world is full of suffering and pain, we have seen glimpses of hope. And we know true joy and peace as Christ sets us free, releases us from darkness, and restores all things. He is our ultimate reality and He is our hope for glory.