I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to truly live, to be alive in Christ, to live this life I have been given to the fullest potential. I have been really disheartened to look around me and see how few people are really living and enjoying their lives. And sadly, I can say that I find myself in this category of lackluster living more often than I would like to admit. I find myself getting so caught up in the day-to-day life that unbeknownst to me, my dreams and passions lose their vitality. Over the past couple weeks, I have definitely recognized my recent loss of ferocity with regard to the injustices of the world and the ultimate power and love of God to bring justice and righteousness to a broken world. God is the element that brings life and sets the world right. I don’t understand how He does it, but I know that it is true. I know that He can change the hardest of hearts and bring life to the grimmest of situations. There is a passage in Ezekiel that keeps drawing me in. Ezekiel 16:4-14 says, “As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born, And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare. When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine, says the Lord God. Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you, says the Lord God.”
This passage is talking about God’s great love for Jerusalem, but I think it definitely parallels the love He has for each of His children. Isn’t this how God finds each of us? Struggling to simply survive and keep our heads above water. We are screaming, whether audibly or deep in the depths of our inner self, hoping for someone to notice and offer us a helping hand, a way out of the pain of this world. I love that God wills the infant to Live! in this passage. He sees us in our mess, and before He does anything else, out of desperation He seems to say, “Hold on! Don’t let go! I’m here now. I’m here to help. Daddy’s here. Live! Just hold on!” In reading this passage, I always have the image of a man hearing the distant cries of an abandoned infant, and I see him frantically running toward the cries, eyes darting in all directions. I see him discovering this helpless, trembling child who is slowly dying with the vultures circling overhead merely waiting. I see him enveloping the child in his arms in hopes that he can transfer some of his life, his vitality to this weak child. Then, I see him adopting this child as his own, offering up all that he has in order for this child to have a life of abundance. Isn’t this exactly what God has done for each of us? He finds us in our worst state, struggling to survive on our own. Then, He takes us in His arms, saving us from the imminent death that is just seconds from digging its claws into us. Yet, even after this amazing display of saving grace, our response is often less than eternal gratitude. We start out with great intentions, with a wonderful desire to live wholeheartedly for God and bringing glory to His kingdom. We want to tell the whole world about Jesus, to see the whole world saved. But then mundane life takes over. We find ourselves living day-to-day, waiting for five o’clock on Friday afternoon to roll around. At first, we hear the cries of the helpless and hopeless with great clarity and want to run and rescue them the way God came and rescued us. However, over the course of time, those cries often get masked by the wind rushing past us, the rain pouring down on us, the grumbling of our own desires, and the well-kept gardens on the other side of the fence—away from the cries that suddenly make us uncomfortable. While we still remember the major points of how God came to save us, we sometimes omit the details of our prior filthiness—some things are just better left in the past and forgotten, right? And that is how the slow fade begins, at least for me. The times when I find myself living for another weekend are the times when I suddenly wake up one day and wonder, “What am I doing? Where am I going? Who am I?” I realize how far I have wandered from my purpose, from my dreams. I realize that I need to be revived because I somehow allowed myself to be inoculated against the travesties of this world. It is like waking up from a nightmare…except that it is real, and I really did lose a lot of time. So, my whole point is that it is time to live, really live. I hope you will choose to live with me.
“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, until it overflows).” John 10:10b