I had a beautiful moment of peace this afternoon. I was lying on my bed, having a rest before driving to church, and was thinking about the peace of God, about the easy yoke, about resting in him, laying burdens down at his feet. My eyes closed, I felt this sense of white light and wholeness, of just contentedness, even in the midst of the turmoil and darkness of the world.
I should have known that I’d be blindsided by a gremlin attack. It often happens when I’m feeling most content in God.
The sermon at church was very good. It was the end of our series on the sermon on the mount, and Dave spoke on Matthew 7:13-29. He talked about the wide and narrow gates, but reframed them as like being on a bush walk, and the difference between walking along the fire trail (wide, unencumbered, easy) and taking a bush trail (not always able to see where you’re going, often rocky or impeded and overgrown, hard work). In the case of the wide and narrow gates, the wide one (following the world) leads to destruction and the narrow one (following Jesus) leads to life, but not many take the narrow path. If you take the narrow path, it will be difficult, but the reward at the end is worth it. It’s up to each of us to decide which path to take.
Now, in my life I’ve stumbled onto the wide road more than a few times. But in God’s grace, he’s always led me back to the narrow path. Most of the time I see the value. And then sometimes I just get hit by a massive gremlin attack. Here is what the gremlin hisses in my ear:
It’s SO unfair! Look at what that person is doing! Look at how that person is living! How is it fair that they are they getting all their wishes fulfilled and doing whatever they want? They don’t even care! They don’t care about God! They don’t care about anything and it’s working out fine! It’s SO unfair! Who cares about all this wide and narrow gate crap? Don’t you remember when you didn’t care about God? Wasn’t it easier then?
When it happened tonight, I was driving home and I burst into tears. Hot, angry, heart-pounding tears. It quite took me by surprise. By the time I got home I was calm again…well almost. I came in and ranted to mum for a few minutes and then was calm.
And the thing is, it wasn’t easier when I was ignoring God. Life was not better. Sure, I was able to do what I wanted, and I did. But life was still hard, only there was nothing at the end of it. That’s what I realised all those years ago, lying on the bathroom floor, face covered in tears, feeling like I was at a dead end. I actually was at a dead end. There is no life without Jesus.
So I am happier pushing through this twisting trail, knowing that at the end is sweet rest, blissful fulfilment and absolute joy. Sometimes I need to be reminded. Today I am grateful that the seed of God’s word took root in my heart, that I have Christian community to remind me that I am loved and to encourage me to persevere, that I have a godly mother who never stopped praying for me, and that Jesus paid it all.