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Sunday, April 17, 2005

John 10:9-10

Jesus said,
I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for--will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

What dreams may come, swept into my life by circumstances and people I know nothing of. The tapestry of my life, like yours, becomes beautiful often only after the living, when I look back and see all the threads of Holy Spirit come together in their own gorgeous skein of joy.

Can I follow Jesus into the future, remembering gratefully his presence in the past? Thieves wrestle with me every day. I know temptation intimately, and sometimes I embrace it. My sin is obvious to me. Jesus, the Gate, calls me over and over to shed my shame and confess that sin, let him hold me in my sorrow. Any other path leads me away from him and further into the ashpot of my own sorry self.

The thieves in my life try to steal my dreams, kill my desires and destroy my ability to love. They intend to replace my instinct to give and share with a grasping, selfish spirit that sees others as adversaries, rather than my own brothers and sisters. They whisper what they really do believe, that I am more important than anyone else in my corner of the universe. And they teach me, over the years, to take before I can be given to.

Jesus' alternative stuns me with new hope - his "real and eternal life, more and better" than I ever dreamed. This is the "normal Christian life," as Watchman Nee called it. It isn't something reserved for heaven, nor is it kept for a privileged few with the right combination of hormones and looks and intelligence. This life is for everyman, known by Jesus, held by him, protected and nurtured and loved by him.

It only requires waiting.

When I stop holding on to what I've got, taking for myself, expecting something for nothing, and seeing only my own point of view ... waiting isn't so impossible. And the "more and better" life with Jesus here on earth seems not so very far away.

Jesus, rekindle in me the instinct for giving, and loving, and laughing, and waiting for you, and settling for nothing nothing else.

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