“A picture is worth a thousand words“, they say, and sometimes a picture is painted in your thoughts that you just have to share –even if it takes a thousand words …or 1,158 to be exact !
In my mind, I pictured a rushing river. As the river made its way downstream, a cross was planted at a bend in the river. The cross rose up high on the banks of the river for all to see. To the right of the cross, the river continued to flow uninterrupted. To the left of the cross, it was as if the water had parted and carved out a tide pool that went counter-clockwise around and around.
I imagined people in individual boats or inner-tubes starting at the beginning of the river and all rushing down — enjoying the ride. As each individual person came to the cross, a decision had to be made — to keep riding the wild and wonderful ride to the right and continue on down the river or to take a left turn which would end up going around and around as if riding a kiddie ride at an amusement park .
Everyone “bumped into the cross”. Decisions had to be made. Choose the way of the cross or keep going in circles to the left — floating around without purpose as if being caught up in a whirlpool.
Those who chose the whirlpool on the left stopped at many “docks” …built houses, gathered many things, reached for more and more to satisfy them while they kept going around in circles. After all, the cycle was boring if things didn’t fill up their time and space. They kept floating around and around but ironically , one thing was always certain …each time they floated around the circle, they would eventually bump into the cross again. It happened every cycle. The cross was always there and offering an intentional bump in the river …an opportunity to get off the cycle of floating without purpose over and over in a stagnant pool.
Many would bump into the cross over and over and still chose the familiar …the floating aimlessly around in circles trying to get that chance to get that next piece of property or career or success or social status or independence. It was like a competition …a video game with new levels to try …over and over again –but nothing ever seemed to satisfy and each level reached only brought the reality that it wasn’t enough.
But those who bumped into the cross and chose to take the ride to the right — well …that ride was wild and amazing and full of wonder, as well as scary – with its turns and twists. Those on that ride seemed to throw their hands up in the air as if riding a roller coaster — being scared but thrilled out of their minds ! The other interesting thing about those who chose the right side …Someone got in the boat with them — riding right along — navigating them through the unknown turns and rapids .
The truth came rushing in … Jesus died on the cross so that we might LIVE …and live life to the fullest – with purpose and freedom ! God raised Jesus from the dead — overcoming death and all that aimless wandering — giving victory and freedom to all who choose the way of the cross.
Jesus holds up the cross — inviting everyone to choose Him — giving the opportunity over and over again for all to “bump into Him” and receive the ticket to freedom. As we rush down the river of life, He gives every single person that chance to bump into the cross and receive His love and forgiveness and more importantly, His presence.
As we say “Yes” to Jesus , the most amazing thing happens …He gets in the boat with us assuring us of His full acceptance …giving us confidence as we ride the rapids of life. He doesn’t sit idly though — He is the voice in the seat behind us saying, “this is the way” . ”Go that way” …and remember, “I am with you always” …“Do not be afraid”. On this ride “you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
For some of you, today is another “bumping into the cross” day. Something stopped you in your regular “flow” of the day enough to make you think and wonder if you really want to keep going around in circles …creating a need for a bigger, bulkier boat to carry everything you’ve accumulated that never seems to fully satisfy the thirst within your heart and soul.
Today’s a good day! Good Friday ! You’ve bumped into the cross again!
Jesus is inviting you to come — take His way — letting Him into your “life’s boat” and riding the journey with you — taking you to places you never dreamed possible. It’s an adventure …but one you’ll never regret.
As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says,
“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”
Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 – NLT)
For others, you’ve bumped into the cross and asked Jesus to jump right in and take control of your life’s boat and guide you through the rapids but you may feel like He fell asleep or isn’t noticing that big rock or waterfall up ahead. Take heart, my friend !!! He’s not sleeping — He’s dreaming! He’s dreaming of the way out He’s already planned for you or how He’s going to take you through to the calmer waters. So throw your hands up in the air with abandon and enjoy the ride ! Jesus reminds us of things like this…
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. ( Matthew 8:23-26 – NIV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10, NIV)
Some of you may have bumped into the cross, accepted the way of the cross that Jesus offers but are hanging on for dear life …afraid to let go and let Jesus carry you down the river. Let Go! Let the wind of the Holy Spirit carry you to new places of joy and freedom and adventure !
Don’t miss the ride of your life!