God’s message to me in my spirit moments ago. Fast and certain and with resolute clarity while I was washing my face. I kept repeating it for fear that I would forget it before finding my pen. It happens sometimes. God impresses his thoughts upon my heart, and I cannot help but give them ample room to grow. To breathe their depth as I take the time to unpack them before God and his Word.
Tonight I unpack them alongside the prophet Jeremiah’s pen as he scripted God’s heart to a people who had lost their way. To God’s dearly beloved, who were instructed to stand at the crossroads and to examine the path before them. Behind them. To the left and to the right of them, and then to ask God for his directional good—those ancient paths that secured safe passage to his place of rest.
It would have been easy for them to find their way home if they had been willing to stand at the crossroads. But they weren’t, they didn’t, and consequently, they found themselves on the road toward a restless exile and a formidable captivity. Nothing good and certainly no rest came for those who were adamant to keep walking without pausing at the crossroads.
God’s crossroads, not theirs.
We all come to a crossroads at least once in our lives. Some of us, multiple times. Whether we mean it or not, we are quick to mouth its refrain.
(I’m standing at a crossroads, and I don’t know what to do. Where to turn. What path to take. What wisdom to choose.)
I understand. I’ve said as much even this day. But there is a danger in our paying lip service to our crossroads. As God’s children, dearly loved and carefully protected, when we come to a crossroads in our journey, he asks more of us than simply an approach to the process. He means for us to fully engage with its truth.
To come to the center of the matter. Where beam meets beam. Where horizontal hammers into vertical. Where wood and nails collide. Where faith and flesh intersect to bleed the witness of a sacred juncture.
When we do that … when we stand smack dab in the middle of Christ’s crossroads … it is easy to discern the good and ancient path that will secure us safe passage to God’s rest. When we center our lives at the heart of his willing sacrifice, no matter the direction we turn—whether before or behind, to the left or to the right—we are bathed in the lavish cover of a Father’s love.
We are reminded of just how far he traveled on our behalf so that we, like the ancients of old, could find our way home.
The problem? Many of us never make it that far. We choose the perimeter of the cross because, quite frankly, the center bleeds too red. Too messy and too fully. We deem our standing at the cross with Jesus as enough; but God calls each one of us to something greater.
He asks for us to stand in the crossroads with him.
Then, and only then, will we be able to measure the worth of God’s intended rest and peace for our lives. It’s a peace I want for always. My heart’s desire is to walk the path of the ancients and to rest in God’s good as I go.
Thus, this night I write the conviction of my heart. I am prepared to live its depth so that conviction doesn’t re-visit my lip service with the poke and prod of a Father’s hurt.
Tonight I am willing to walk to Calvary because I feel deeply in need of doing so. In many ways, I seem to be standing at a crossroads. There are decisions to be made. Big ones. Ones that not only involve my future, but ones that also include the future of those whom I love the most.
Rather than stand at the perimeter of the cross, I’m going in. To its center in order to stand where Christ has stood and to receive the cleansing truth of my salvation. I believe that my vision will be clearer there. That wisdom will be more readily available, and that the path of the ancients will present itself so that I might walk in it and receive God’s good and needful rest.
Perhaps, like me, you’re sensing the need to walk your heart toward a deeper point of surrender. Your life is at a crossroads, and the only thing you’re certain of is your uncertainty about what lies ahead. Would you join me on the road as we walk the beams of our Savior’s bloody surrender until we come to the heart of the matter? Would you, this day, be willing to live your convictions all the way into the center of his sacrifice? If so, then may the prayer of my heart belong to you as well…
Father, your cross is serious business. Forgive me for thinking that I can stand at a distance and see clearly the path that you would have me to follow. Thank you for the conviction that leads me into the center of your surrender and that baths me in the truth of your love. Baptize my feeble understanding with your wisdom that bleeds pure and true and full of insight so that I can find my way through the chaos that is pressing in ever so tightly and so certain. Bring me to your crossroads in my many matters, and show me the path of the ancients. Keep me, then, to that secure path until I find my way to your heart and to your good and promised rest for my journey. You are my life’s end. Bring me safely to my perfected conclusion. Amen.
Copyright © January 2009 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.
PS: Friends, I ask for your prayers tonight, not just for me but for all who are standing at a crossroads and need the widsom of a standing “in” with Jesus at the helm. If you’re struggling and you need a friend, please feel free to email me your thoughts or leave a request in the comment section. To read an excellent post about conviction, please visit LauraLee for further thought and inspiration. Shalom.