Imagine being lost on a mountain. You had been on a path but somewhere you lost it. The undergrowth had thinned as you entered a section of towering trees whose thick upper canopy had obscured the sun; little grew on the forest floor there so the path had lost its boundaries. It seemed as if you could take any route you liked through those majestic Cedars and Douglas Firs. Soon the trees thinned, though, and the slope began to steepen. You were forced to descend now through a thicket of thorny nettles before you finally realized this was not the route you planned. You had lost your path, the sun was setting, and you were footsore and weary.
Imagine, through the gloom, suddenly catching sight of a path marker. How would that feel? What if that marker led you a little bit uphill where you came to a crossing of trails? At this crossroads you feel rather than see a powerful mountaineering Father and his Son each reaching out a strong hand to draw you up the steep rock to where they stand. They welcome you, seat you on a mossy outcropping where the setting sun is still sending shafts of its light to the earth, and they serve you a delicious meal cooked over a crackling fire. After dinner they settle you in a hammock with a feather-light blanket and keep watch over you through the night while you sleep off your weary fatigue.
Chapter Eight of the book of Romans speaks of a scenario like this. It speaks of God not in terms of wrathful Sovereign but as a welcoming Father. Those who accept His hand become His children and discover what it means to have a Real Father. No inconsistencies. No failures to show up. No breaking of relationships. With this Father, there is inseparable belonging.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” ponders the writer of Romans, “Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This Father never leaves those of us who enter into relationship with Him as His children. He is both willing and able to take us through the remainder of our trek here in this life and bring us to our final destination. There will be challenges. He never promises the path will be easy. But He is always there leading, guiding, giving vision, purpose, rest, and especially a sense of inseparable belonging.
The only other option is stubborn refusal to accept Him. It means remaining lost on the pathless mountainside of this life. It means never really, inseparably belonging to one Who offers inextinguishable love. The choice is ours.
Abba Father, thank you for your never-failing love and compassion for me. You found me when I was lost and you will never leave me. I am blessed by the inseparable belonging You have gifted me with as a child of Yours. Jesus, as I take Your nail-scarred hand, lead me on the path that leads to our eternal home.
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