For most of my life I have been the kind of person who found it hard to ask anybody for anything. Asking for help was like declaring defeat. So I spent a good portion of my adult life consumed with making it on my own. The joke on me was that I had just enough success to actually believe that what I achieved was done so, mostly by my own devices. I’ve since learned that personal or professional success with said perspective can be dangerous and in some cases, spiritually lethal. In a world where you think you’re the reason you got it going on, you give God no credit. As a matter of fact, giving God any praises when you believe it’s all about you actually goes contrary to the spotlight you think you’ve created for and by yourself.
In this instance God becomes an intruder sharing in the spoils of your supposed victories. After all wasn’t it your guile and wily ways that got you where you are today? Your life becomes a game of get over, keep away and I’ve got mine, now you get yours. People don’t say this publicly, but, if you know anyone who operates this way, you also know that over time they begin to look and sound quite foolish. Do you know anyone who has fallen from their own self made perch? I believe God gives us all a chance. Free will allows us to choose right from wrong, good or bad, Him or the devil. In the long run it’s up to us, but I have to believe the Lord lets each of us know, wherever we wind up, the right choice was always Him. We are now and will forever be His "love" children, whether we admit it or not.
Have you ever noticed that the older you get the smarter your parents become? I swear by the time you reach middle age, your folks are downright brilliant. If the truth be told, they don’t change. You do. Like our parents, God is waiting, sometimes patiently, for a change in us. Any advance towards him is met with open arms and spiritual kisses. Let me continue my analogy. It is very often hard to admit that Mom and Dad were right all along. Begrudgingly, or maybe never, you finally realized the only thing that kept you from listening to someone who loved you deeply, kept you from hearing someone who tried to save you from yourself, kept you from heeding the advice of someone who only had your best interest at heart, was your single minded determination to stay stuck on stupid. At this point of revelation, when it’s our parents, you don’t have to say much. All you have to do is show up. Mama knows. Big Momma knows. Aunt Mary knows and they all agree whether to tell Daddy or not. The important thing is you’re home and you’re okay. If you’re lucky, you haven’t wrecked your life permanently. And even if you have they still love you and that fact goes a long way towards your ultimate survival. You draw strength from it.
When it’s the Lord, something special also happens. You let go. You let God. Arrogance gives way to humility. Ego is transformed into submission and pride disappears altogether. Just show up on Daddy’s doorstep and not only is all forgiven, He throws a party in your honor. I believe that’s why so many people cry when they come home to the Lord. The recognition is there that before the "I’m sorry" exits your mouth, forgiveness is understood. The reality that He saved you before you asked just increases the emotional outburst of knowing you’re back home. It’s easier to accept this from family, because we take them for granted most of our lives anyway. It’s more difficult to accept this from God because we don’t really accept or understand the risk of taking Him for granted until it’s almost too late.
Like I said, take this from someone who knows. I thank God all the time for showing me the way home in the midst of my madness and my chaos. I pray the same for you.
May God bless and keep you always, James