Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Pros and Cons (08/14/14)
TITLE: My Choice
By Katrina Angle
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The arbor, graced with pink, vining Morning Glories and bathed in the dusky morning light, is the picture of tranquility. Beneath its arch, nestled in among the leaves, is a table. It stands, patiently waiting for me to sit and begin my communion with my Creator. But I also am standing—behind my closed patio door—with warring desires fighting for dominance within me. I long to bare my needy, wretched soul to the only One who has known me before I was even born. I yearn for his comfort and understanding; my heart calls out for the guidance that only He can give. However, a part of me is holding back. Part of me is holding on to an unconfessed sin. For years, I have stuffed this dark secret into a corner of my heart trying to forget about it, denying its existence. But on this brand new morning, I feel the urge to take out my festering piece of baggage and rid myself of its burden. The blinders have been taken off my eyes, and I now can see that the rebelliousness of my actions in the past have shaped my future, creating a tangled mass of problems that I can never resolve.
"You don’t deserve forgiveness," something whispers inside my head. "Look how you’ve messed up your life. God is through with you." My heart twists inside, and defeated, I turn away. My pride bars me from facing the consequences of my sin and clearing myself of shame. Longingly, I look over my shoulder at the table that is still beckoning, still inviting, me to lay it all down.
"Choose my blessing, life." The words are not whispered in my head. They come to me as if on wings, landing in my heart like a homing pigeon. I hesitate, weighing the pros and cons of obeying that voice. I know that if I obey, the roots of sin must be ripped out of my heart, which will cause me pain. On the other hand, if I do not obey, I will still have the shackles of debilitating misery that has for years kept me chained to a wall of guilt. I know that if I obey, I must in humility face my Father and admit that I am helpless without him. I know that if I do not obey, my pride will protect, but keep me lonely.
My sinful stench and my need to fill the hole in my heart with nothing but God propels me forward. I slide open the patio door and step into the fresh, dewy morning. The birds are filling the air with notes of praise as I make my way to my makeshift altar. Tears of repentance overtake me before I can reach the table and I fall to my knees in the wet grass. My dark secret which was known to Him all along is finally out in the open, and shame and pride slink away, afraid to be seen in the Light.
I kneel there in the dew for what seems like an eternity, feeling weightless and empty. Then, slowly, as the sun peaks over the horizon and touches the clouds with a rosy glow, the peace that I have coveted for so long quietly slips in and fills me with joy and relief and a renewed love for my Savior.
As I rise from my knees, I am wet, but I don’t care. I feel as if I have been baptized, and I head to the house with a spring in my step to grab my Bible. The phrase,'choose life,' is ringing in my head and I run back out to my table under the arbor and look up Deuteronomy. There I find that God lays out blessings and curses for the children of Israel to choose between just as He has allowed me to decide between life and death today.
Finally I come to the verse for which I have been searching: “…choose life that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the Lord your God and to obey Him… for He is your life” (Deut. 30:19b-20a NLT). It is then that I realize that sin had blinded me to the fact that there are no ‘pros’ to choosing death and there are no ‘cons’ to choosing life. My one step of obedience has already delivered a huge blessing of forgiveness and peace. I smile and the Morning Glories seem to smile back.
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