One of the things our small Kansas town is known for is their annual 4th of July celebration. Activities run for 3 days and cater to all age groups. Folks come back “home” just to join in the fun & festivities, our family included. Over the past 8 years, we’ve established some regular “habits” within the Sterling traditions. For us, the events are kicked off by a family/friends fireworks/dessert on the 3rd. Actual 4th of July favorites are the 5k run, the 20 mile bike ride, turtle races, the medallion hunt, one of the grands riding the Harley with Opa in the parade, a family-food-favorite barbecue, and without question, the city fireworks show at the lake. Everyone lays early claim to their preferred spot with blankets. This year’s light-up-the-sky finale was unquestionably the best ever!!!
Because of all the details surrounding my cancer reveal the past 3 months, I found my mind & heart in a completely different place this year. I was not celebrating the independence of our nation. In my soul, I was, & am, celebrating my DEPENDENCE on Jesus Christ. All of us have had life-changing moments and/or circumstances. Some lessons make deeper furrows in our souls than others. Sometimes we see things from a new perspective for a little while. Other times, God so grabs your heart that you know you’ll never SEE things the same, & you’ll never BE the same, again. Peripheral things quickly fade. What once mattered doesn’t. Temporary goals are shelved. Little things take on a new significance. Your soul feels sifted. You see other’s suffering with renewed compassion.
More than once I have shaken my head & wondered how folks get through traumatic “stuff” without the security & stability only a personal relationship with Christ gives. When I say only, I mean ONLY! Some of you know exactly what I mean. If you don’t know, I pray you soon will. Facing possible death is in-your-face with God. You can emotionally run but in all honesty, you can’t hide…unless you lie to yourself, stuff it/walk away from the factual truth, & deny your Creator. He IS, whether you acknowledge Him or not. Everyone will find that out when their physical life comes to an end. Life is short, no matter how long you live. In the scope of humanity, I’m 2/3 the way through. I’m in the Fall season. I don’t have anything to lose…except time. So I better make the most of it, doing what God leads me to do. We will all likely die with unfinished lists. So I’m endeavoring to pick & choose wisely.
During all the fluff & flurry of the week, unseen by human eyes, my soul was both content & resolved, knowing that underneath my life are His everlasting arms. In Christ, God is my secure dwelling place. (Deut 33:27) This is true for eternity but thankfully, it is also true for my days on this earth. I see Him in the wonder & giggles of a child. I see Him in the wind & the rain. I see Him in miraculous provision. I see Him when I am afraid. I see Him in the relentless conviction & passion of my honey, as he never gives up on his calling. And I hear Him in the early morning quiet. I am ministered to by the Truth of His Word. Day by day, He is teaching me that “…in Him we live & move & exist…” (Acts 18:28)
It seems to me that our focus on EXTERNAL independence has often impeded/blocked our INTERNAL dependence. The former focuses on skills, achievements, riches & power resulting in prideful arrogance. The latter can only be experienced through humility, brokenness & repentance…daily. It short, it is dying to selfishness & yielding to the indwelling life of Christ. This is real living, not just for a season - but for eternity. So I joyfully, & thankfully, celebrate my liberating DEPENDENCE. He is the only One who makes true freedom of the soul my reality. As I watched the night skies explode with color & heard the crowds cheer, I could not help but see a glimpse of God’s glory.