You Can’t Get There From Here
Hello, Jesus Glitter Family!
My family has been gracious in allowing me time off from writing to enjoy some time with family and friends who have come to visit. A few weeks ago my daughter, Alicia, was my guest blogger with her post https://www.jesusglitter.com/2017/07/26/why-the-bible-is-the-best-book-ever-written/ and I encourage you if you haven’t read that post to make sure you do. I can promise that you will be blessed by her heart for God and His Word. However, I was shocked when my “Hubs” volunteered to write the post for this week. I have always told him he has a great way with words and today I get to share them with you! This summer has been different for Hubs because of having a second hip operation in June resulting in a complication of what is called a “foot drop.” He has been working hard all summer going to physical therapy, doing countless exercises at home and maneuvering around with a walker. This post was a result of those circumstances and God speaking to his heart in a way only God does. Life is full of trials, but it is in those trials we often find such valuable lessons we wouldn’t have otherwise learned or experienced. Hubs has always been a very independent man and deemed self-sufficent. However, through this process, he has had to learn to ask for help and also learn to receive help. It is good to be independent, but not when it ends up costing you in your relationship with God. Enjoy this raw, honest and heartfelt message, and I pray you will be blessed!
I grew up in the 1960’s. It was the heyday of the Marlboro Man, and I was the child of an ex-Marine (Master Sergeant). I became fairly self-sufficient and independent at an early age, partly out of necessity and partly because I was raised to be. I could chart my own course and solve my own problems. When I failed, I could pick myself up and carry on. I was a firm believer in the old saying “God helps those who help themselves,” which, despite popular opinion, does NOT appear anywhere in the Bible. It was all good, or so I thought.
Fast forward. I’m 58 years old. This means if I live as long as my parents did, I’m close to two-thirds of the way through my journey on this earth. My reaction to that fact is sheer amazement. I’m amazed God has allowed me to survive this long, considering the number of bad decisions I have made and the number of stupid things I’ve done. I haven’t kept an accurate scorecard on how many of my downfalls and failures were due to my sins of pride, selfishness, and independence from God, but there have been many. In the process of getting here, I have met a lot of people who are a lot like me, and I have a question for all of us – How’s that independent, self-sufficient thing been working for you?
The longer I live, and the more I experience, the more my own answer to that question becomes “Not so well.” Self-sufficient, independent thinking and living may bring us great success in many ways, but it can also bring loneliness and isolation, not only from all those people we think we can do without but from the God who created us and who we ultimately can’t do without. It can also bring us to the dangerous place where we become our own moral authority, reliving the experience of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. That’s not surprising since we have inherited their nature. The apostle Paul describes the result of this declaration of independence in Romans 5:12:
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned -“
Paul goes on to contrast the death that fell on mankind due to Adam’s disobedience, with the grace that brought life back to mankind through the obedience of Christ. And it is this grace we will miss if we think our sinful nature is a problem we can solve on our own. The truth is, every single one of us is irretrievably broken apart from a miracle of God. No matter how much we try, we can’t fix this one.
“You can’t get there from here” is a saying you may have heard when trying to find directions to a remote, rural destination. It’s then typically followed by a set of directions to some place other than the place you are trying to reach. The implication is you will never make it to where you’re going unless you start out at a well-known landmark. The landmark Paul sends us to in Romans 5 is the cross of Christ, the place we have to start if we want to get to a place of forgiveness from sin, peace with God, and eternal life. Christ’s death and resurrection bridged the gap we are unable to get across on our own. In Romans 5:6, Paul writes:
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
Rather than just helping those who help themselves, God loves us enough to go beyond and help those who are unable to help themselves. Even us independent, self-sufficient types. We can try, but we can’t do enough good deeds or follow enough rules to solve the sin problem. We’re in good company, though. All those rules and more rules the Israelites tried unsuccessfully to keep for close to 1500 years between Moses and Jesus? Paul points out those rules were there to demonstrate the need for something more than rules.
“The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 5:21-22
The grace of God is often defined with two words – “Unmerited favor.” It’s not something that can be bought, earned, grown, manufactured, dug out of the ground, conjured out of thin air or assembled from spare parts in the junk drawer. Grace is how God chose to solve the problem of sin and death and is the means by which He offers us salvation in Christ if we are willing to accept what He has done for us on the Cross. But in order to do that, we have to be willing to give up our independence. It is better to live dependently on God than independently by ourselves. This is how we get there from here!
Shining His Light!