I grunted as I pulled myself further up the cliff. I reached up for my next handhold, but the rock loosened and I lost my grip. I felt my other hand sweating and slipping away, and I started to panic.
I intentionally slowed my breathing and my body. With forced calm, I reached to my side and grabbed a different rock, one very close to my loose hand. I secured myself, and exhaled with relief.
I took a few more breaths to center myself, then continued the climb. Five minutes later, I reached the top of the cliff. With hands on knees, I caught my breath.
A proud smile slowly crept over my face as I realized what I had done. I almost jumped for joy, but it seemed inappropriate given the solemnity of the place I had arrived.
I raised my head up and gazed upon the goal of my climb. Golgotha. Three crosses hung not more than 300 yards away.
I saw my Jesus, bloody and broken and nearly dying. I ran to the cross, bowed down and started crying:
Jesus, I know I promised to live a holy life. I messed up again. I let my anger get the best of me. I have used profane words, a lot. I have spent far too much time watching TV, and far too little time reading your Word and praying. Can you forgive me?
I looked to Jesus, but He remained silent. Tears streamed down my face, as I took His silence for judgment. As I started to despair, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Peace overwhelmed my senses.Then my companion spoke and I knew it was my heavenly Father speaking to me:
Son, it is you who are the harshest judge here. Turn around and lift up your head. See the broad path to the cross. There was no need for you to endanger your life by climbing the mountain to reach the cross and seek forgiveness. The path is wide, the slope is simple, and you need not travel alone. Forgiveness is yours.
When I awoke from this dream today, I became aware of how easily I dismiss the gift of grace. I often give lip service to the unmerited favor of God, but only until I mess up.
Then I believe it is my job to work my way back to Jesus, through my own sweat, putting my own life at risk, in order to throw my exhausted self at the foot of the cross and beg for another chance.
In these moments, I forget the final triumph Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection. His sacrifice was not only for my past sins, but for my future sins.
Lord, thanks for using your unending creativity to draw me back to this simple truth—forgiveness is never earned, period.
Wow! That is very profound. Thanks for sharing it, Chris.
Glad to encourage you. I woke up this morning full of peace and with a fresh understanding of the way Jesus works in our lives.
What a beautiful picture, Chris. Thank you.
Chris, your emotion filled piece here made me cry. How many of us will benefit from you sharing today. We all need this message so much
Yes! We can get to the point we plead for forgiveness for our sin and he says, I already forgave that. The woman who was forgiven much loved much. We need to remember how much we were forgiven. Loved your piece, Chris and the reminder it was of how big our God really is.
So glad you enjoyed it
Ummm….love that connection there Anne—how big our God really is!
So encouraged it blessed you. Sometimes, when God plants something in your heart, it’s just too good to keep for yourself, right?
It takes time and maturity to realize we can do nothing of ourselves. It’s so easy to get ahead of God and attempt everything in our own power and of our own spirit, rather than to sit back and let the Holy Spirit do the leading. Life goes much more smoothly, once we learn how to obey.
I don’t even have words at all.
Is this a good thing?
Even beyond obeying, it is a matter of understanding roles. I continually want to be the initiator in my relationship with God. But this is not the role He calls me to. I am called to follow. Often, I forget this
I see the two as the same. Know our position and obey from that point.
Absolutely it is a good thing. I have had a powerful spiritual dream of Jesus too, and for me it is almost beyond explanation, but you were able to share it and make it real. It’s awesome, really.
Our Father always provides, that’s the wonderful wonderful thing Chris. I was grappling with trying to forgive someone all evening as I did my usual walk around the park. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” But I could not forgive. Then I came here and read this. I’ve already been forgiven. Our God turns all our manmade truths upside down. It should be “Forgive those who trespass against us as we’ve been forgiven.” Alleleuia!
When I woke up, I felt like I was given this for the purpose not only of being uplifted myself but to share with others. I rarely remember my dreams, so this is the exception for sure.
I am so glad we met through TribeWriters. You continue to push me beyond my own thoughts and challenge me. This is beautiful, and so true: “Forgive those who trespass against us as we’ve been forgiven.”
Very beautifully written! I can so relate!
Beautiful, Chris! What a picture of grace. It seems that self-flagellation takes many forms, right? No longer do we use a whip of cords, but rather we chastise, berate, judge, etc, ourselves, and as you so nimbly write try to earn God’s favor, and forgiveness.
We’re all the Prodigal Son’s brother in this regard: the blessings were always there, but we fail to take hold of them.
Chad, you nailed it right on the head here. Self-flagellation is often internal and guilt-focused today, rather than how it was in previous years with physical outbursts of disappointment. And yet, His love is never failing, and He always loves and forgives
Chris, that was a dream? Wow! I wish I could have another dream of Jesus. This post is beautiful.
Yes, it was a wonderful and encouraging dream
Oh man, that is so awesome! What a blessing. This made me cry.
Recently I was extremely low on money and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this!! – 0vkW