Hurry Up and Wait…
There is viral video titled “Sheep gets stuck in trench” that reminds me a lot of the human experience. In the video, someone finds a sheep that is completely pinned in a ditch on the side of the road. Somehow, someone finally pulls the sheep out. The sheep is granted freedom! What once was trapped in darkness has now tasted the freedom of salvation! Then what happens… The sheep enjoys exactly 5 seconds of freedom before it circles back in confusion and belly flops right back into the ditch.
One of the main statements from Pastor Rich’s message was this: ““The Good Shepherd is leading us into ABUNDANT LIFE, not away from it.” Through the resurrection of Jesus, He is providing us a way that leads to a life of abundance according to the will of God. In Christ Jesus, we have been freed from the enslavement of sin and death. “Our chains are gone.” With this truth in our minds, with this new life filling our hearts, the question becomes: Now what? Why do we still get stuck?
Well, if we are honest, we sometimes do the same thing as the sheep; we dive right back into the ditch. I don’t mean that we intentionally throw ourselves into a life of suffering. But we are often disoriented by the reality of having a life of freedom in a world that is still a slave to sin. This reality often causes us to get anxious or impatient and end up right back into a pit of despair. We don’t know what to do next, so we fall back. I am not saying that we lose our new life in Christ, but if we aren’t being led by the right shepherd, we will not know how to find our way back to pasture.
Eugene Peterson speaks on this in his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
“The basic conviction of a Christian is that God intends good for us and that He will get His way in us. He does not treat us according to our deserts. But according to His plan. He is not a police officer on patrol… He is a Potter working the clay of our lives, forming and reforming until, finally, He has shaped a redeemed life, a vessel fit in the Kingdom…
Freedom is on everyone’s lips… But not many feel or act free. Evidence? We live in a nation of complainers and a society of addicts… The Christian is a person who recognizes our real problem is not in achieving freedom but in learning service under a better master. The Christian realizes that every relationship that excludes God becomes oppressive. Recognizing and realizing that, we urgently want to live under the mastery of God.”
We are all good at the hurrying part. We all tend to go as fast as we can for as long as we can. But if we use that strategy with God’s grace and mercy, we will miss out on the peace and protection that comes when we wait on the guidance of our Shepherd. To do that we need to patiently learn how to let go of our desire to control the “when, where, and how” of living in His Kingdom.
In The Message translation, Eugene Peterson translates Romans 6 into a beautiful way of describing this path out of slavery to sin and into the grace-filled fold of God. I encourage everyone to read it entirely, but verse 5 best describes our freedom from the slavery of sin. “Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country.”
So, as we feel the sense of urgency to enjoy our new life that Christ has given us, let’s remember the importance of waiting on our Master, trusting that He is a loving Shepherd, and continuing the path toward continued resurrection and freedom.
Take time to read and reflect on Romans 6 in The Message translation. How does it encourage you?