Looking down, past the brown tops of my hiking boots, the abyss below opens up into a vast expanse of space. Blue-green vestiges spread beneath the view of their void occasionally obscured by clouds passing below. My feet are precariously placed upon a solitary outcropping of rock. From whence I stand, it is as if the whole world can be seen. The next step, if I were to choose, would be off into nothing; thin air, an empty void of obvious surface for which to step. Somewhere behind me, the faint voice of reason shouts, too far to hear clearly, for they have yet to catch me. I close my eyes and listen once more for the still small voice.
“I will never leave nor forsake you…”
He spoke to me as a father. Inside, the change was only known by my soul, as my own spirit had been infused with his Spirit. Outward, the metamorphosis had taken time but was still a work in progress. Yet, the call had been perfectly clear. The door had been opened, and it was now or never.
Eyes still shut, I step forward to where there was no place to step.
The shouts from behind are closer now, which turn to screams. There is no turning back once the foot has left the safety of the known, for once we leave it behind, there is no turning back.
They dropped their nets, never to return to those fishing boats. The father watched as his sons walked away from the family business, simply to follow a man that was merely a prophetic voice at that point, one that had suddenly come on the scene as a teacher of some new way of thinking. Gone, as if they had stepped off a cliff, never to be seen again. He tore at his clothes, wrenching in agony at their seeming abandonment of his life’s work. “How could they?” “What spell did this stranger cast upon his children?”
Again, standing at the abyss, my faith sustains me. There is no need to rush, no need to make haste, for to do so would only result in miscalculated belief. “Trust and Obey,” says the song, “for there is no other way.” As I stand and watch, the onrushing mist begins to part, ever so slightly. Through the fog, there appear distant edifices, dark and obscured, they are not yet visible. Their images undiscernible, but not mistaken for another. There is a firmness in what they represent; something solid and not imagined; real and not pretend. They cannot be touched from where I stand; but rather, can only be seen. To step to them before it is time would be fatal for the journey. Waiting, patiently, my heart drops as the clouds thicken and those distant images are once more obscured; gone before they could be imagined more clearly. Yet, the heart knows they are there. It is only a matter of time that once again, the clouds will part, and they will be visible once again; patience in the waiting.
The still small voice speaks, and we who believe listen.
Some might think them only pure coincidence, but to the believer, we know better. Each week, as the clouds continue to hide the pathway before my footsteps, there is that continued voice, speaking, whispering the prophetic words of things to come. Each new revelation begins to paint the blank canvas with what might be; where the Lord is leading. Again, the words, “Trust and Obey,” surface in one’s thoughts. Below your feet, there is no clear path, only the emptiness of
the unknown. Patiently you wait, not wanting to step before it is obviously the “time.” Each week, yet another revelation confirming the news from what was previously known. The past folds its story together, also confirming that this was not just chance, but obviously the work of the Master’s hand. Like the Red Sea coming back together after the Israelites had passed, crashing in upon itself with a thunderous roar, so too are doors behind slamming shut.
There is no turning back.
Onward you must press. Looking back only causes the heart to lament on things that were meant to be. Yes, it is difficult. Loved ones are some of those precious memories that you must leave. Their presence will no longer be in your immediate life, but rather, removed to a distant place where only the occasional visit may allow. Gone are all of those things in life you had worked so hard to achieve, all of those countless hours spent in toil for something that now seems to matter little. Yet, in truth, all the hard work and toil were the fire that forged the metal within.
Perspective begins to become your greatest gift, seeing what once led you astray, away from God. Now, with new eyes, you can see what once was hidden. Those moments, those dear precious seconds that you put aside for the sake of that “goal,” come into focus. The distant mountain comes back into view and once more, you can see it; a granite monolith, shrouded in greens and blues, standing firm where it had always existed, yet now knew to your own vision. The wind shifts and you can smell the earth, rock, and life that lives upon its surface. Suddenly you are struck with an awareness that shudders your body to the core; you have come alive; you who once were lost are now found; yea who once were dead, are now alive in the Spirit.
The cry of the nearby raptor echoes off the canyon walls below. The voice whispers once more, and another peak ahead appears. The late morning sun brings the entire scene before you now aglow with warmth, like God wrapping you in his bosom, comforting your soul. The energy of the moment flows from your head to your toes; the tingling unmistaken, like tiny pinpricks that make your body laugh with joy. Momentarily, there is no pain, nor weight of the world, no heartache, only unblemished joy.
In your heart, you smile for the coming days will soon reveal what He has prepared.
They had just left Jerusalem. It had been a heart wrenching, painful arduous Passover.
There was no turning back.
There had been so much hope, but in the end, so much tragedy. Yet, even now, as they walked toward the small village of Emmaus, they were confounded by the recent news of the empty tomb. “What could it mean,” they asked and speculated. So intense and sad was their discussion; they barely noticed the stranger joining them as they walked and talked.
“And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?”-Luke 24:15-17
They were stopped in their tracks with disbelief. Cleopas, one of the two answered him saying, “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?”
“What things,” he replied?
They then went on to explain how Jesus, a prophet mighty in deed and word to God and all people, was brought to be put to death by the chief priests and rulers; to be crucified. Their eyes now brimming with tears as they spoke to the stranger, who had yet to be revealed to them.
“He was to be the redeemer for all Israel,” Cleopas said pulling at his garment.
The other continued when Cleopas could no longer speak, “It has now been three days since his burial, just today, and now this morning we hear the news that cannot be believed.”
Cleopas clearing his throat broke in, “Yes, certain women, also of our company made the most amazing discovery at the tomb, finding the stone had been rolled away and the grave was empty.”
The other broke in now, with an elevated voice of hope, “And they said that there was an angel told them that he was not here, but that he was alive!”
Jesus stood listening, finally nodding in response and said as he began walking toward Emmaus with them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
The seven miles seemed like seconds when the two realized they were almost at their destination. The pair had been so enthralled by all their traveling companion had to tell them about the prophecies of old about Jesus, they forgot the time. The stranger felt as if he knew them. So reluctant were they to end their fellowship, and fearing that the stranger was traveling farther, they offered for him to remain with them for the night. It was often dangerous to travel after dark, and so being kind hosts, they made sure their new friend was to be protected. Jesus obliged, and minutes turned to hours once more. They soon found themselves seated at the table preparing to begin the evening meal. Giving their guest the honor of breaking the bread, they watched with gracious anticipation, not realizing what was about to happen.
As Jesus took the bread, broke it, and then handed it to the guests, their eyes were then opened…and he vanished.
Soon, the path will be made clear. Soon the direction you are to choose will be obvious; there will be no mistake. When you are handed that precious bread of the body of Christ, you will feel it touch your skin, you will see Him standing before you, and then, yes, then your eyes will be opened. Your heart will quicken, and eternity will flow through your veins as you become a child of God, born not of the blood, not of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
How often have we been seated with the very thing in life that has provided for us and given us the very essence of grace and neglected to realize it? How often have we taken what Christ did for us for granted? Have you been blind to the truth; God sent his only Son to earth, to become flesh and blood, to suffer and die for our sins? He then arose on the third day to sit at the right hand of the Father. He has prepared the path for you; awaken and take his hand and receive that precious bread of life.
Soon, yes, soon, the door will open, and the pathway will be waiting.
The next step is up to you.
The voice whispers once more, “I will never leave nor forsake you…”
Thanks be to God.