Without faith in God that assures me He is at work for my best and that of those I love, many times I would have given up persevering in pursuing goodness. As the years pass, I have come to understand that life does not flow as I had perceived it would.
Love and responsibility, do I see them as chains of bondage? Freedom, beckoning beyond the horizon, for a moment…gone beyond the hills of responsibility and duty. How do I do what I desire willingly if I see it as a prison sentence? Yet love whispers of mercy gently and promises endurance; love promises to cover a multiple of sins. Can I grasp that promise? Can I claim it as my own? Am I able to humbly embrace this life, so unlike that which I had planned, knowing God is good and His plan will surpass mine a hundred fold?
We all make decisions and speak words, many times without much thought, that affect the lives of others. As a pebble tossed in a pond sends out ripples, our actions and words, our life pebbles, can touch another with kind and encouraging or life changing and soul scarring ripples.
In this my final few decades of life, as the last chapters of my life story are being written, it feels as if I am standing on the opposite shore of all other lives that have touched mine, and rocks are being thrown. It appears as if I am losing my shoreline to the erosion of the choices, misunderstandings, and unkind judgments of others.
I could stem the damage being done, but at what cost to an innocent? I refuse to throw the huge boulders needed to stem the raging waves that are eating away at what should be my peaceful sandy shores. For no justice would be served in the innocent young life caught in the crossfire. Therefore, I will step back and allow the waves to surge against my shore of coveted peace. I will accept the rocks strewn and piled as an alter of sacrifice.
One day I hope these rocks will enhance the foundation of my faith and trust, and that I will realize a shore of peaceful sand held a misconception of importance. Unfortunately, hoping this does not remove, or even diminish, the pain that holds me captive behind the growing wall of rocks amassing my life’s shoreline. Nevertheless, I believe one day I will put on the harness of a rock climber and with the aid of my faithful belayer Christ, I will scale the imposing wall of rock and all will be chaos free. Then, as I stand atop what was meant to bury me and defeat my spirit beneath its crushing weight, I will see the entire vast array of what my life in Christ was purposed to be.
Until then I will endeavor to toss into life pebbles of kindness, love, and understanding. Pebbles that cause encouraging and gentle ripples in the waters that caress the lives of others, instead of choosing selfishly those that cause demolition and destruction. My biggest fear is that I would inadvertently cause another life to withdraw from riding on the sparkling waters of life because my pebbles’ ripples caused too much pain. I pray I will never force another to retreat from rippling the hopeful and promising waters of their life by my unkind choices lacking humility.
I am certain I have often been unaware of how the ripples from my life pebbles have interacted with those of another life. The pebble left my hand, hit the water, and sent out shock waves. Eventually the ripples subsided leaving what looked like calm waters, but water moves beneath the apparent surface stillness. My self-righteous shaming moral judgments and selfishness, done thoughtlessly or with intent, may have shattered a hurting soul. For that, I beg God’s mercy.
My hope and prayer from this day forward is one of intention. I pray the ripples that rise and fall from the pebbles I toss are ones that tug lovingly at the heart. I pray that as God orchestrates my life and the lives of those around me, the swell from my pebbles will continue to touch those of others for years to come in a kind and tender way. I pray God in His graciousness would send others into all our lives to toss pebbles that gently rock and comfort us and assure us of His unconditional love, especially when we are struggling. Most of all, I pray that the pebbles I toss in my life create ripples of the same humble beauty and love as those of Jesus’ life.