Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Going to the Promised Land

I have always loved the exodus story despite its contradictions. Why did God have to harden Pharaohs heart and make it so hard to let the Hebrews go? And why did God have to make it so gruesome at the end, with killing all the Egyptian first borns while smearing the blood of dead lambs on the Jewish door posts to protect them? And why did the Jew wander for 40 years around the desert? Oh, right because like all men, Moses couldn’t stop and ask for directions. Passover is a time of new creation, a time of remembering the struggle of our past and being delivered into a new land. How many of us here long to be renewed, to a new you, a new creation and a new land of love and opportunity?  

I remember with heartache my own failures, when I lost my marriage, my first business, and I believe for a time, my sanity. My best friend was a bartender. I was not at all worthy of being around.  Then a friend of mine, a truck driver invited me to travel with him on his 18 wheeler for a few days. As we headed across the open road I could feel the weight of my misery growing lighter. He was a Christian, in the best sense of the word, a recovering alcoholic, and a man who wore his sorrow on his face. He told me as the miles fell under our wheels of such desperate times as driving his rig blind drunken down the Rockies  hoping he would die. Until the day he almost did. His brakes gave out and the runaway ramp was miles away. As the adrenaline pumped into his body he prayed. God, spare me this and I will give my life over to love. Somehow he managed to get to the runaway ramp but he was doing over 80 miles an hour with 60,000 pounds at his back. He hit the ramp fishtailed in the gravel and stopped inches before the end. That runaway ramp proved to be his promised land. He was good to his promise, got sober, fell in love, married, had four kids and went looking for sorry cases like me to help them create a new life.  He would tell me often that the exodus story was his favorite, a reluctant prophet Moses once a prince of Egypt who led his people out of bondage. Who doesn’t need to be led from bondage he asked me. With his help I began to free myself from the misery, sell the business, move back east, meet Francis, fall in love have a bunch of kids and follow my call to ministry.

What makes us creative enough to find the promised land? It starts with a willingness to be open to the possibility. 

With Grace and Grit, John