The Promised Land
The following short story was my rule-compliant entry in Christian Flash Weekly Event #20, after the earlier ‘Waiting’, and it was judged to be the winning submission (!) – so thank you to Christian Flash Weekly’s host, Charles W. Short, and thank you in particular to this week’s judge, Whitney L. Schwartz. Please click through to see judge’s comments on all of the submissions, and this week’s challenge.
‘He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.’
– Ecclesiastes 3:11
I remember the first time I heard Dr King’s ‘Mountain Top’ speech. I was no longer a child, but not quite a young man. I was naive, and impressionable. I didn’t know, and I didn’t want to know who God was. Yet still I was moved: moved by Dr King’s passion; by the plight of the African-American community; moved by the civil rights movement’s untiring ambition for change and a better future for the little black boys and girls and little white boys and girls of these United States. I was stirred, and I was inspired. Dr King spoke to my rebellious nature. I was shocked and sickened (we all were) at the dreadful news which broke the next day.
Not so many years later, God found me, and thankfully I no longer had the will to run for a hiding place. As I submitted to Him, I began a new chapter of a new adventure, a new season in a new, more meaningful life which it would take me a lifetime to even begin to understand. That’s the beauty of God’s mystery: each time I think I understand, He takes me to a new time and a beautiful new place; a new revelation of Him.
It took some time, but eventually I realised that Dr King hadn’t just been speaking to my rebellious side, or maybe that my rebellious nature wasn’t as simple as all that. We are all rebels at heart – we all rebel against authority; we have all rebelled against God: that is our sinful nature. The part of me that wanted to climb to the mountain top that day wasn’t the anarchist rebel, but that best part of me: the part which cries out at injustice, which cares that there is a difference between right and wrong. That’s all well and good, but without love, without the love for my God, and for my fellow man, those cries against injustice were just hollow. It was God who gave my righteous anger meaning.
I used to want to live a long life, but then I began to understand what I really craved was to live a significant life. Longevity has its place, but it is relative – some taken young have lived more significant lives than others who reach beyond three score and ten. Significance comes from who we are in Jesus, not what we do: when we are in Jesus, when His Spirit lives inside us – wow, the world better watch out for how significant we can be!
I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to learn as it has done, yet I’m grateful that I’m still learning. Sometimes I wish I had someone to look up to earlier in my life to help me understand the truth which I took the long route to reach. But then I wonder if my journey would have been devalued in some way if I had found that short-cut. Maybe some lessons really are best learned the hard way, because then they stay with us.
But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will; and His will is that I tell you this story, that I give you this steer – towards the most beautiful person you will ever know.
He has allowed me to go up the mountain top Dr King spoke of, and in my dreams I looked over and saw that Promised Land. I saw and I believed: we, His people, have a Promised Land. I know that I have a place amongst His people, and I want you to be there too. You’ll have lessons to learn of your own, as I had, but you need to know the difference God has made in my life – never, ever take his grace for granted.
I want you to know that I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I have nothing left to fear, certainly not death. I have lived that craved life of significance because Jesus lives in my heart. As the man said, “Mine eyes have seen the coming of the glory of the Lord”, and now I am ready to go to Him.
Shed only tears of joy, child, when I am gone – I am going home to be with my Lord and Saviour, and I pray you’ll see me again, either when He returns, or when your time comes to be called to Him.
I am always, always,
your loving Papa