I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend. This friend is one I hadn’t seen in nearly 30 years. I had high hopes for our reunion. I planned my outfits carefully, and around our common interests. I wanted to look good. I wanted to act good. I wanted to be good. I wanted to be seen as different than I was 28 years ago.
During one of our conversations my friend looked me in the eye and said, “You and I, we’ve lost so much.” And it is a very true statement. Abuse, neglect, rejection litters our pasts and tempts to take over our present at times.
When my mind is allowed to look back over the things I’ve lost, my focus changes. It moves from “Man! I’m blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3)!” to “How much more do I have to lose? I’ve nearly lost everything as it is!”
And the voice of Jesus softly whispers, “You haven’t lost your life yet.” I would listen and think, “You’re right. I haven’t lost what You lost for me.”
In reading Psalm 103 this morning, Jesus spoke again, “Who pardons all your iniquities; Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit…” I prayed those words and He spoke again, “You haven’t lost your life yet.” He moved the focus from His death, which is important, to teach me a reality that I had been denying.
I was hanging on to my life, clutching it with both hands in a death grip all in a vain effort to not lose it, to hold on to one thing that no one could take away.
“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who lost his life for My sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:38-39
This was His message. “You haven’t lost your life yet because you’re hanging on so tightly to it.”
In the Old Testament book of Ruth, chapter 1 we see the beginning of the story of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi lost a lot. She lost her country, family, what was familiar, husband, and children. Naomi chose the pit. She chose bitterness.
Ruth also lost. Ruth lost her country, what was familiar, her family, and her husband. But she chose the path. She chose grace.
The question for us today is, which will we chose? When we’re faced with yet another lose, another loss, another thing we feel being ripped from us and leaving us empty, will we chose the pit of bitterness or the path of grace?
I’ve chosen the pit of bitterness and it isn’t fun, it is where ministry dreams go to die. But in the pit of bitterness we can chose differently. We can in that pit, when we’re buried in the scum on the bottom of the pit, we can chose the path of grace. When we make that choice, even in the pit, He lifts us out of the pit and places us on the Rock, that is Himself.
Let’s chose the path.