Thursday, February 24, 2011

The parable of the walk on the beach

You all know the famous story of when the guy gets to heaven and he looks back over his life and sees a beach with two sets of footprints in the sand, him and God. Then, at the very worst and hardest parts of his life, there is only one set of footprints. The guy is bewildered, because it seems God abandoned him at those times. God responds that no, the single footsteps were God’s and he was carrying the man through those hard times.

That sounds all well and good when you are young. Very comforting. But here’s the deal. Now that I am an adult, and have this perspective that we become free and inherit heaven when we become actualized and realize we are Gods ourselves, I actually prefer to think of those single footsteps as mine alone. It gives me greater comfort to know that I alone brought me through the tough times. That I was made of tough stuff, that I was resilient and relied on myself to survive. That when all is lost, when I am lost, when God seems to have left me, I have me. Me alone. And that is so much more empowering than thinking God was carrying me. Sure, as Christians believe, God may have given me the gifts and confidence to know how to walk on my own two feet and sustain and survive when all seems lost, but at that hour, God lets Go and trusts and believes in me.

It’s not a one way street. It’s not all about me believing in and trusting and having faith in God. The reverse is true too. We are so strong when we know God trusts and believes in us. Think about how it feels when your parents finally let you stay home alone or take the car by yourself or go off to college or move away, half a world away from them. Knowing they trust you enough to let you go is a huge confidence builder. At that time, they confer adulthood on us, they anoint us as our own kings. God anoints us and then steps away. Into the shadows. What is that line from the bible when God says “Where you are going I cannot come..” The Bible prophesies our graduation from “God”. God has told us exactly what is going to happen. We will graduate from what we have always thought about God. Our conception of him as crafted by religion falls away. We assume his mantle, we take the reins. And we are standing firm and tall and proud and powerful and actualized. And God is proud. He rests....for once, he rests.

God has given me the strength and skills and love to carry myself. If he is a worthy God, truly our Father, he does not want us to perpetually depend on him for everything. He does not want to carry us on his back all the time. He would want to nurture and strengthen and teach and feed us so that we can eventually take care of ourselves. “Teaching us to fish.” It’s what any parent wants. The best parents inspire us to be the best we can be on our own. Yall, we are ready. We can take care of ourselves and each other.

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God, to have these guys in a room together again....