Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.John 14:27
I remember back when the LORD was calling me to belief and surrender. I had decided to go for a late morning bicycle ride along the beach. As my journey began the LORD spoke to my spirit and told me to pay attention as this was not going to be just a simple, unmemorable trip but rather a picture of how my walk with Him from henceforth would play out for the rest of my earthly life until I meet Him face to face in Glory!
As I began to peddle across the packed easily navigable sand of Daytona Beach Shores I had to pay close attention to the obstacles in my way- beach chairs, buckets, blankets, and such- while simultaneously zig zagging my way through the large crowd of people that had started to gather there along the shoreline. This maze of people and things seemed to stretch on forever and at times the sand I had to navigate on would become soft requiring me to exert more force and energy as I pushed forward. At one point I had to stop and rest so that I could gather the strength to begin again.
As I got back on my bicycle and began to go I looked ahead in the distance and saw that there was an open expanse of beach just ahead. My eyes focused intently in front of me, almost looking past the few remaining obstacles and people directly in front of me to “the prize” that was waiting for me on the other side. Eventually I reached that first goal and a sense of happy relief passed over me as I seemed to almost glide across the firm sand forward on my way. I would ride by small groups of people at such generously spaced out intervals that it led to easy navigation.
As the wind blew through my hair and relaxation settled in my soul I felt that this time in my ride would be the longest and most fruitful of my lives journey with God. I had just joined Him in the battle for my soul; fighting through confusion by weaving through the crowd; sifting through lies and half truths which were represented by the obstacles placed along my path; testing the spirits as I rode past each person on my journey home.
Riding along this winding narrow path I had finally made it to the “green pastures” reserved for those who have surrendered to the LORD in believing faith. This is the place where one truly comes to rest upon the rock of their salvation. There’s no more confusion or questioning of the truth just a settled beautiful life- one that has been renewed and brought to life in Christ. Sure, things will come up- obstacles and situations and crises and people who do not have our best interests at heart but the difference now would be great! Now I would know quickly if someone was not of God or something was not right! From henceforth my armor of God would be donned and my eyes focused on the ONE who fights my battles for me rather than on myself.
As I rode along this open expense I breathed many sighs of relief and praised God for His continual help and presence! I did become sad and sorrowful as I began to realize that my life was going to be filled with less and less people who would be close to me. The more I walked with God the fewer the people that walked with me. God let me know that this would happen and that it is to be expected and normal for His children. He calls them to Himself; He calls them to be separate; He calls them to be in the world but not of the world. He calls them to shine their lights for all men to see and, unfortunately, most men do not come to the light because their deeds are evil (John 1).
As I pondered on this revelation God gave me that morning, with a mix of joy and sadness in my heart- joy over my salvation and sadness over the perceived loneliness I knew was waiting for me in the future- God lifted my head and focused my eyes into the distance! As I rode closer I began to see what looked like a small crowd of people gathered on the shore. I increased my speed as much as I could, propelling myself towards my new found goal. As I went I noticed that the beach had all but been deserted around me. I was gliding to my destination- just me and my LORD. My sorrow lifted and my fear of future loneliness subsided as I realized that no matter how alone in my journey I might be physically I would never be alone spiritually for He was promising me there that He would never leave me nor foresaken me and that He is and always will be enough!
A smile came across my face and, most importantly, across my heart as I closed in on my final destination. As I arrived I noticed that this crowd seemed to be like me- that we had the same spirit. I noticed this crowd was of a good size but it was not chaotic or overwhelming. This crowd was refreshing and bright! This was heaven- this was His people and, thus, my people- this was home!