It was the tears that got to me. The quivering chin. The passion in the voice of a fierce love that never gives up mixed with the fear and frustration of wondering if it would make a difference.
Sunday morning meetings at the ACTS House are usually “all about us,” meaning that the main purpose is to allow the Unbridled guests a chance to share what we are currently facing, feeling, or dealing with that may need group processing. But occasionally, we’re given a chance to hear some of what is going on for the people committed to helping us, and the impact of our choices and behaviors on them.
It was painful to see and hear. It’s sobering to realize the impact our choices have on the very people who choose to pour out their lives for us, as they realize that it’s not a given that we will choose to be loved or helped, and that they must accept that the work they’ve committed their lives to is only as effective as our commitment to partner with them, with God, and with the process of healing and transformation. They can’t choose for us what they know is best. It’s up to us to choose… and for them to choose to trust God with the outcome of what they offer us.
With God all things are possible, but no one can make our choices for us. No one can make us cooperate with the plans and process that bring the healing, wholeness, and abundant life that is possible in Christ. Not even God Himself, Who said to the Israelites, after He had liberated them from slavery in Egypt, but before they had entered the land He promised them: “See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil…. Therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19)
With the same longing we saw and heard on Sunday morning from one who carries God’s heart for others… with the same fierce love and passion that never fails and never gives up… with the same commitment to always believe the best in us and for us, the God of the universe sets life before us, and in His perfect love that casts out fear, clings unswervingly to the hope that we will choose the good and the life that He offers us.
So… if reading this happens to stir some recognition that your choices are keeping you from the life you really long for, I hope you’ll consider this prayer penned by a wounded and wayward daughter when she realized that there was no life for her apart from the One who was pursuing her with a love she couldn’t resist. Only His Love proved sweet enough to win her heart, and strong enough to keep her where she really wanted to be all along.
You have set my heart on this pilgrimage, Lord, and I ask for an experience of Your Love that will keep me on the path with You, never again straying from the One I love. It is the path of Life. You are my only source of true life, altogether lovely and pleasing, and I will choose you. Help me day by day, minute by minute, to stay the course, to walk in your ways, and dwell in your presence forever. O Lord, help me in my weakness and sinfulness to hold firm to this that I declare in your presence this day. I choose Life!