En route to the hotel to get ready for the concert (sans luggage), my faithful, patient keyboardist asked a question to which I responded sharply. I was as surprised as he. I didn’t know from where that answer came. This gentleman was not only a dedicated worker; he was, more importantly, a dear friend.
When I walked into my hotel room I sat on the edge of the bed, not understanding what had just transpired. Even though we were pressed for time, I had to figure this out. Why had I been so harsh earlier? How was it possible to be unkind to someone who was like a brother to me? How could I have been so exasperated with him?
I sheepishly began telling the Lord how surprised I was at my own response. It almost frightened me, realizing how little I truly knew about my own heart. I remembered the scripture that declares, “He that trusts in his own heart is a fool.” (Prov. 28:26) It was as though a window had opened into what I was truly capable of, and I did not like what I saw.
I repented of my impatience. I asked God to forgive me. I asked Him to lay bare the ugly, vulnerable places in me. I asked Him to heal them, to erase them, so that there would be no more similar surprises looming in the future. During these baffling thought processes, and in the fog of my bewilderment, it occurred to me that though I was dumbfounded by what had transpired, God was not. In fact, He was not surprised at all.
He alone knew the weak, vulnerable places in my heart. He knew the struggle to be steady and constant, never wavering. He was there on the days when I hit it out of the ballpark; He was there when I failed so badly that I avoided eye contact when I left the field. He was a witness to it all; yet, for some astonishing, illogical reason, He kept me on His team. He never backed down from choosing me. He still wanted me.
Our state’s most-revered Billy Graham wrote, “In spite of rumors to the contrary, we are not creatures abandoned on a planet spinning madly through the universe. We are the children of a great and wonderful God who even now sits in power accomplishing His purposes in His creation.” What a relief! What a comfort to be reminded that we are not abandoned on those days we fail to measure up. What a concept, that even as we navigate all the chambers of our hearts, He remains in power, accomplishing His purposes in us.
In her book, We Have This Moment, Gloria Gaither wrote, “There is always newness in me, and if I am learning something for the first time, then I am Eve in Eden to my soul. I carry within me the dawn of every truth, and Genesis is not past but present every morn.” Thank God that He gives us Eden—room to learn, to discover, to grow. Thank God that He continues to reveal truth to our unknowing hearts. Thank God that the allure of Genesis and a new beginning remains an option.
Jesus told the Pharisees that He was the gate for the sheep. “They follow me,” He explained, “because they know my voice. Anyone who enters the pen without going through the gate is a robber and a thief. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I came that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
There are a myriad of robbers and thieves who seek to destroy our peace, kill our time and steal our joy. Thank God that Jesus marched through history with a game plan that would reach into our generation; one that would help us to renounce our weaknesses and wake up in Eden every morning. Not surprisingly, Jesus is the gate that leads us there.