Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Walk (07/20/06)
TITLE: Walking on Air
By Beth Muehlhausen
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A dark trench shrouded with misconceptions and lies held Erica’s heart captive for days - weeks - years - decades. Eventually she forgot what freedom meant, and hunkered down in the darkness as a victim of runaway fear. Infrequent escape attempts failed: boldness and rebellion ended in defeat. Pacifism seemed the only answer, and yet offered only counterfeit peace.
Erica learned to “walk on eggshells” early in life. By tip-toeing around others, making sure to avoid conflict, she also squelched her own will. “Growing up” seemed to require her to respond to the perceived desires of others and ignore her own heart. Her soul lay inert, shrouded by a dreadful prognosis: continual degeneration of mind, will, and emotions.
“Walking on eggshells” meant many things. She pretended things were fine when they weren’t. She overcompensated for others’ anger or depression. She lied to herself.
As the years passed, the trenches sunk deeper and the darkness, disillusionment and confusion overwhelmed her. Erica’s one major goal became simple: exist. Stay alive until something changed. She had no idea how to affect the isolation and pain defining each day.
Meanwhile, other people seemed to “walk on air” with a certain assurance and sense of security. They knew, deep down, God was in control - and they trusted Him to lead their steps through life. Erica was unable to understand this kind of confident connection, let alone claim it for herself. Her response to these people was mistrust, anger and hurt.
Each day she dragged along – cowering and limping through the trench as if hiding from ongoing attack. Her soul atrophied until her heart failed. Hope, and its cousins faith and love, could not co-exist with despair.
Erica believed God existed in some vague sense, and yet there was little evidence of His indwelling power in her life. She did not understand the concept of submitting or yielding to God – let alone trusting Him. She was an online friend, one I’d never met face-to-face. How could I tell her Jesus was the link, the One who could lift her up and out of the trench? What did it mean to share my walk of faith with one who saw only darkness, who walked around in a dark trench on eggshells?
The answer seemed loosely defined since we were “long distance” friends. However, I wanted to become God’s ambassador by representing the Truth as it guided me in my own daily life. . This meant sharing what it meant to “walk on air” with optimism and confidence when times were hard, and then testifying to my own heart full of assurance. I could be “real” and then rest in His ability to direct Erica’s future steps.
How exciting! Perhaps I could enter the dark trench and infuse it with a ray of Light. Perhaps God would use me to extend a reassuring hand. Perhaps she would trust me; perhaps she would even stand against the darkness and rise above it with His help!?!
* * * * * *
A jolt shook Erica’s body as she sat on the couch holding her laptop. It was a strange feeling, as if an inner battery suddenly came to life to recharge her heart. Could it be….hope? The prospect of losing control seemed frightening. And yet life had become so meaningless – what did she have to lose? “Where are you, God? If you are real, if there is such a thing as Absolute Truth, then show me?!”
An inner weightiness suddenly lifted, and Erica found herself sensing a new “light spot” within her chest. She typed frantically as I waited on the other end of cyberspace in a chat room. The words faltered across the screen. “I’m…ready…to give control of everything…over to Jesus…!”
I prayed for her strength, and witnessed her acceptance of Christ as her prayer of relinquishment crawled across my computer screen.
Simultaneously, I trusted the Lord to fulfill His promise…a pledge to empower her to walk the rest of her life on air rather than eggshells.
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
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