You never know that you’re walking through sludge until the road clears in front of you. Legs and feet that could barely traverse the sucking mire suddenly find themselves unencumbered, with nothing holding back bold, purposeful strides. You look back and see the length and breadth and width of that sludge, and you wonder how in the world you managed to blind yourself to your true surroundings.
Likewise, salvation doesn’t involve simply cleansing away of sins or a loosening of chains. It’s the shedding of the old and embracing the new—much like a butterfly must feel after the confines of a chrysalis. But before he escapes that cocoon…
There came a time and place when I realized that one more sin would be the end of me. I had retained an intellectual knowledge of Jesus, but I no longer had the heart knowledge.
At one time I did.
However, I had left my first love, and all that was left was a prison that continued to shrink around me. And of all the things the contained me, fear was the worst of them all.
That’s what sin and fear felt like to me—being smothered by the consequences of poor choices. Spider webs of deceit had wrapped themselves around me, had infiltrated every nook and cranny of my life. I could not move one way or the other without some past decision sinking it’s talons in me, dragging me further and further into bondage.
The hiss-spit-slither of fear relentlessly snaked itself around me, tightening its squeeze every time I exhaled.
Trust? Gone. Faith? Shaky, at best. Hope? Like the saying goes, it was only a little town in Arkansas. As I scrambled to right the Lincoln Logs of my life as they tumbled around me, fear left me quivering and gasping for breath.
There was only one thing that would free me—and that was Truth. Yet I shrank back from Truth as if it was a rabid dog. Illogical, to say the least. But when you’re covered in sludge, and walking in sludge, and a living testimony to sludge, Truth has a hard time seeping into your consciousness.
But when it does…?
How do I explain the wonder of sunlight filtering through the trees, of canopied paths with cool breezes gently ruffling the hair on my head? How do I express the vibrancy of colors long muted— the robust reds, the cool blues, the rich greens or the bright yellows? How do I explain how perception changes, in an instant, and with that change life will never be the same?
How do I portray the very real sensation of massive tendons of sin withering and dying and, as they crumble before me, free me to slosh even faster through the murk to solid land ahead? How can I make you see that first shaky inhalation of freedom, unfettered, the air crisp, energizing each individual cell? And as I let out that first whoosh of air, how do I describe the absence of even one twitch of constraint, not one tightening embrace of sin reaching out to choke the life out of me?
It was overpowering…overwhelming. My heart could barely stay in my chest, it was beating so hard. And as my feet hit that dry dirt on a fortified path, I could not help but stop, raise up trembling hands of praise…
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