|1st Pastorate After Seminary|
As I sit alone in my home with my fireplace blazing (thanks to Netflix and “Fireplace for Your Home with Music”) today has become a day of somber reflection. Perhaps it’s because another year is ending leaving me longing and yearning for the “redemption of my body” (Romans 8:23) and once again another new year is rushing in with its hint of hope and fulfillment. This will be my sixty third experience on this journey of new years.
Yesterday I made another pilgrimage to an area representing part of my past. As I traveled through some of those rural areas I was reminded of many wonderful people whom I have loved and who have loved me, and my mind was flooded with many memories of life experiences during those years, both good and bad.
However, the most pervasive realization and emotion that I experienced was one that I’m having a difficult time expressing. Perhaps the following words, each having their own weight, coming together, express a more complete explanation: horror, sadness, emptiness, repugnance, repulsion, revulsion, hurt, heaviness, regret, misunderstanding, helplessness, ignorance and wonder. It was not a positive or affirming emotion!
The geographical area I’m referring to is actually west Tennessee, years before my secrets became public. The emotions were not based on my secrets being exposed but on the knowledge that I was living in the midst of secrets that controlled my life and that caused me to walk in legalism with a spirit of judgment and condemnation. During that season of my life I was miserable on the inside and I was out of control and there was no help being offered . . . I was living a life of secrets and oppressing darkness and no one knew . . . but GOD.
While Campus at Union University
All I can say is I never ever want to go back to where I once was. I’m not speaking about a geographical location. I’m speaking about a state of being or existence.
I continue to thank GOD for His grace in orchestrating a church intervention (years later) in 1995 that initiated a new perspective on life as it is to be lived in this foreign land until that day.
And so I say along with Paul: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8)