Ro. 14:8b – “…whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
During the early weeks of August - prime vacation time - activity on the lake skyrockets with a common theme: freedom! Boats zoom here and there, pulling shrieking tubers or graceful athletes on skis or wake boards. In more remote and quiet corners and coves, fishermen relax in a state of timelessness with poles and bobbers as their companions.
All of my family members are avid water sports enthusiasts. During every season of the year, the lake represents freedom to us – not just because it is a place of escape however, but because we’re “lakies.” We belong.
I contend that every human heart – even that of the most independent person – cries out for this kind of belonging. We want to “fit” and engage with others in more than a superficial or distant way. As relational creatures, we too often seem to drag through the everydayness of life because we lack deep inter-connection. To cope with this dilemma, we worship weekends and our limited vacation time, hoping to find snatches of contentment.
But true freedom is not about breaks or vacations; it is a lifestyle. Real freedom is acquired through belonging…to God. We were created for intimacy with God through a relationship with His Son, Jesus. Jesus is our ticket to freedom from our own self-absorption.
Freedom is a bi-product of intimacy. I developed an intimate relationship with the lake as a small child, and that sense of belonging has continued to free me over the years. By spending time with Jesus and cultivating intimacy with Him, I’ve also made an ongoing, lasting discovery: hope that transcends my expectations.
Jesus is not a coping mechanism or a resource where we can flee to find respite from the rigors of life. He is not a “vacation package” for those who are weak or incapable of being self-contained. Rather, He is the God of our origins, and in Him we realize our full potential. Wholeness – the kind we find in relationship with Jesus - does not disappoint us like quick fixes that act like temporary band-aids.
Life is unpredictable and full of challenges – and even pain and heartache. Life also blesses us with the opportunity to know God and experience real freedom at the heart level – something the lake continues to teach me through its faithful presence and soulful interaction. The lake has always pointed me back to God. Perhaps that is not so strange, since He created both of us.
I look at the lake and see my reflection: fun and craziness on the outside, but connection and belonging on the inside at the heart level, where life really happens. What God-given “connection point” is already part of your life? Where do you feel the most peace and contentment? What can this teach you about freedom – and the Master of your heart? Where do you belong?