Friday, February 12, 2010

Will You Follow? Pt. 1

As I was cleaning the dining room with my sisters, we were listening to the CD No Compromise by Carried Away. I was singing along with the last song, Right Where You Are, and when it came to the chorus and I was singing the words, ‘And I wanna do Your will. God, I wanna be right where You are, be right where You are,’ that is when it hit me.

I will explain later all about what hit me -the realisation, the understanding, the knowledge- but for now I will share the allegory, the story that came to me.

Will You Follow?
Part One

As per my usual arrangement, I knelt on both knees to speak to Him again, head to the floor, and said the words—told Him I desired to be right where He was and that I wanted to do His will. My words sincere, my heart of an according desire to the claims I made, I laid my life before Him with an honest wish to be used. I knew His will was perfect and good, and I wanted to do it.

With a deep breath, I made to stand from my bow and return to my regular routine, my words spoken, my plea laid before Him. When a hand against my arm surprised me, I was drawn to my feet, eyes lifted to see Him standing before me. For a moment, I was frozen in place as He drew me into His embrace, and I, struck still, simply took it in. This was unexpected, but no less wonderful.

His aura of light surrounded me then; it flowed around me; I was reminded that He is always with me, every second of every day—and this not only when I am praying, but in the moments I never think about. Then He pulled back, His open gaze piercing straight through me, from core to soul, marrow to spirit. The instruction was clear: ‘Follow Me.’

‘Wherever You take me, Lord,’ I answered, ‘I want to do Your will, no matter what it is.’

He turned away then and I knew intuitively to follow in His wake, and follow Him I did. Down many paths, bridges, and streets, we went—many a place I recognised. We saw the middle-class man struggling to make ends meet; the poor suffering midst their needs; the rich in their schemes and plans; saw the church buildings with many a fine décor and well-kept structures; the business men; the pastors; the musicians; the young and the old.

We passed all by, and still He led me on; cracked pavement and rundown buildings we saw, and still we walked—past the graffiti, the trashy streets, the homeless, the broken, the hungry; walking deeper into the dirtiest of my society, where an oppressive atmosphere stilled my breath, we went, He without pause and I with inward, but as yet not controlling, hesitation . My skin felt as if it were crawling with the filth -like it was staining me- as we walked the littered and shoddy streets, and foreboding curled inside me as we past wall after wall stained with the scrawl of depravity and the writing of a blatant disregard—and this (disregard) a most common and usual type of our world’s lack of honour for the higher.

A creepy sense tingled on my spine, as always happened when I had to travel through these areas. The feeling of danger in the air, the oppressiveness, the whisper and promise of evil fluttering and leeching through the atmosphere and tickling my ears—these tingled in my perception, tickling my consciousness and bombarding the plain of my mind’s eye. Perhaps such appearances feel that way because I have been brainwashed and programmed to associate evil and danger with simply the outward appearance of a neighbourhood. Lock all locks, close all openings, and hurry through—huddle down and keep a low profile—try to be as unnoticed as possible to avoid the dangers of this area of my society. It all left me with a sense of horror, of foreboding; perhaps fear is the best word for it.

In deeper we walked, my eyes darting to and fro as I followed He who seemed not to notice the atmosphere we traversed farther into. I kept glancing all over, at all the dangers around us, yet He walked by unperturbed, as if He did not see and did not pay any mind or care to it, until at last all faded away into opaque black and my steps faltered and slowed while He strode ever onward without missing a beat or step.

Something inside of me balked as I watched Him go, as His confident stride took Him in among the darkness. Directly and without any meandering, into the dark swirling midst He walked, shining brightly in stark contrast to the black around Him. Indeed, unhindered, the pure white of His light was not dimmed as He walked brazenly into the midst of that sea, and I knew then where He had led me.

He had taken me to the thieves, the thugs, the murderers and rapists. Did He not know the danger He had brought me to? He could not be harmed, but did He not know it was not safe here for me?

He walked deeper in and yet I could not bear to follow any further. My feet had become leaden, my heart was a lump in my throat, fear making me tremble. He did not stop, did not turn back; He walked only forward to mingle with those that had no love for Him, those that held no qualms about dealing harm to someone like me. Some noticed me, which chilled my bones and stilled my heart. I remained at my distance, unmoving.

I would go no further, and yet on He walked.

Something inside of me reared back, bile rose in my throat, a heavy fog clouding my mind, and I knew I could not go this way He wanted me to. This could not be right. I felt fear like a giant seal my fate—the only way for me was back the way I had come. I could not take another step in this direction; it was not safe for me to walk in among those whom He moved easily right through.

As He began to disappear amongst that black, swirling sea of evil and darkness, the hesitance that stilled me broke and I found movement. My leaden feet turned quickly and fled up the street, speedy and light, as I returned back the way we had come. My skin was crawling, my heart was hammering, trembles shook my spirit as I rushed past all I had noticed before—the trashy streets, the graffiti, the broken needles, the cigarettes and dirty paraphernalia that one would expect in this place, the blackest of our society. Past dark alleys, I ran, where I knew the drug-dealers turned business, the whores and the streetwalkers, and every other danger that I knew lurked here.

Why had He led me here? Did He not care about me?

I could not come here; it was surely harmful for me.

I ran, not stopping for a moment, all I passed a blur, fear spurring my feet on; I dodged people; I shied away from any I passed; I swallowed the fear that was closing off my throat, and I kept up the pace, praying I made it out of here safe and sound, alive and unharmed. I was alone; I was horrified; and I was scared witless. All I knew was that I needed to be anywhere but this place.

I barely noticed as I left some of the filth behind, as the world around me began to become a little cleaner. I passed the humble, sprawling structures of broken church buildings, where I doubted any ever met anymore or that any cared much about; I ran on with fear driving me until I came to a place I was familiar with, and knew that I could rest.

I did not stop when I left behind the dark alleyways, the graffiti-stricken walls, and ominous structures that filled me with foreboding. I ran until at last all trace of it had faded behind me and I found a well-kept, clean church structure, and I sought solace inside its walls. I rushed into the sanctuary, to find a dark corner to hide in from any and everyone.

It was not until I collapsed in a place that made me feel safe and secure that I allowed myself to acknowledge the shame I felt for running. My throat closed off, and my eyes pricked as I pondered what I had done. I warred within myself, between the betrayal I felt was dealt to me, that He had led me to such a place without so much as consulting me, and the betrayal I myself had indeed committed. My gaze roamed the sanctuary from my safe perch, hidden away where no one could find me and see me like this.

‘Wherever You take me, Lord. I want to do Your will, no matter what it is.’

My words rang in my mind as my eyes fell upon the altar; the declaration repeating again and again until I wanted to plug my ears to silence the voice of my conscience. The injustice I felt had faded away in the face of my words, and remorse burned hotly in me until I wanted to curl up and die, so ashamed was I.

The guilt was overbearing, the shame great, and I buried my face and gave into the tears, a broken vessel with nowhere left to run, hiding away in a dark corner of purely-selfish protection.

And I was ashamed.

I had told Him I would go wherever He led, I would do His will no matter what it was, and at the first sign of trouble, I ran.

I ran and hid.

To Be Continued...

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