Monday, January 03, 2011

Holy Freedom

In a recent conversation with my sister, as we were commiserating with each other over our live challenges, we both said, "If I had known what the future would hold, would I have had the courage to face it?"  

There's no way to answer that question, because we never, ever know what the future will hold.

Most of us have heard of some of these famous predictions:
  • "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."- Thomas Watson, IBM, 1943
  • "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."- Ken Olsen, Digital Equipment Corp, 1977
  • "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered asa means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."- Western Union Memo, 1876
  • "The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys."- Sir William Preece, British Post Office, 1876
  • "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio, 1920s

I was somewhat amused at the outrage in Europe the week before Christmas over the disablement of several major European and British airports because of heavy snows. "Something must be done to fix this so it never happens again!" snorted governmental leaders.  Fix what? Stop the snow? Control the weather? Sure, the airports may need to invest in more snow removal equipment, but we can never control what the weather brings even in the next second. As for weather predictions, any forecasts more than three days out are likely to be less accurate than a simple guess.

We can't know the future.  We can only know the now. We can deal accurately and competently only with what is right in front of us, not what we think or fear is going to be there later today or tomorrow or next year or at the ends of our lives.

That means this moment's tasks, this moment's delights, this moment's pleasures or troubles, sunshine or rain, health or illness, riches or poverty, success or failure, good habit or bad habit.  Most importantly, we can only face this moment's choice to live in slavery or to live in freedom.

I'm preparing a message series on the book called "Exodus," the second book in the Bible.  This fascinating story chronicles the move of God's people from enslavement to freedom, the mixture of joy and unhappiness with the one who rose up to lead them to freedom, and their recurring desire to return to slavery.

The story gives a fascinating peek into human nature. Among other things, as much as we say we want and need those who would act as saviors, we're rarely overly happy with them. Furthermore, freedom carries gigantic costs, and I'm convinced most people would prefer not to pay those costs. Chains, metaphorical and real, let us blame others for circumstances. Courageous and holy freedom means we take responsibility for our own life choices.  

No one can take away our ultimate freedom to live with godly integrity unless we give them that power.  When we give away that power, we lose what it means to be human, the acknowledgement that we are made in the image of God.

Personally, I continually need to discern where I relinquish being fully God's woman because of fear, laziness, and my insistence that I know now what I will have to face later.  This discernment process is a lifelong journey, ending only when I face God fully. 

I invite you to join me in that ongoing journey.

1 comment:

Angie Hammond said...

Question on this Holy Freedom. In Exodus, God's people wandered for 40 years before finally entering the promised land. At least that is what we are told.
You speak of not knowing the future but living in the now and being responsible for our actions and choices. My question is this. Is the freedom you are talking about the result of giving up the control of our lives to God? As opposed to trying to fit God into the box we want to put him in?

In other words finally allow God to provide us our daily bread and trust that he will give us what we need each new day no matter what that brings?

By placing our faith and trust in God, we free ourselves from the slavery of sin. This is a life long journey as you say and we make the choices each and every day. Is that Holy Freedom?

As I thought of what you wrote and what I remembered about the book of Exodus. I want to make a few comments on the book.

First, I am comforted by it, because it shows me that my God is a God who will continue to offer me his love and mercy even when I make bad choices. Second, he will continue to offer me forgiveness when I fail and sin against him.
And Third, the only future that I am certain of is what God has promised me through his son Jesus, that being where I will be if I accept him as my savior.

This does not define the path I will take to get to the Promised Land. The choices I make define the path. The difficulty and length of the path are also direct results of the choices I make. Do I live as God would have me live or do otherwise? Whatever the choice, he keeps on offering me healing and freedom. All I need to do is say yes and then stay on the path trusting him to guide me along the way.

The choice is mine to make, and for me the hardest part is saying yes, not just once but each and every time the offer is extended.

And Yes Christy, I will join you on the journey.