My sanctification is much the same: weeks of glory punctuated by days of gory humanness. There are enough every-others to post at every mile of this pilgrimage to the New Earth. Many of those miles are plodded, and the days of humanness feel magnified in my mind, like a camera zooming in for a close-up of the bruises and blood.
I need the Spirit to lift me up on Mount Zion for a bird’s-eye view of the road I have walked, the miles like rows in a tapestry of pain and put-back-togetherness: the rocky outskirts are the frayed edges where my seams were ripped out, the long plains the close stitching of those who walk with me, and the winding river the thread of the Spirit that holds me together.
From great heights, I see a trail of flowers we have planted along the road: yellow poppies from the seeds of affection; lilies of the valley from seeds of innocence; the blue morning glory of learning his voice; flowering cacti of the stripping; farther along, bushes of red roses, and young trees budding with first fruit. When I look over my shoulder, my road winds through a garden.
For every highway robber that attacks, there is the other rescue. This rescue. The one that bears down on eagle’s wings to sweep me into a flight of grace, carry me back to our garden.
The Liar had lured me from the road to follow the earth’s cracks and fissures. I forgot who I was, away from the flowers that the Father and I planted, away from the rest of his garden. The Liar went with me as I searched for my identity, told me I had to work to find it, so I tried tunneling through the barriers in my path. He presented me with a lump of coal, saying it would bring me satisfaction, and in the confusion and darkness, I thought it was a diamond and pocketed it. It started a fire in my heart. For days I can’t measure, I busied myself with work, hoping it would bring me more treasure. It never did, and I began to wear out.
I still had my flower seeds. I spread them out and remembered the garden we walked, tried to figure out when I let go of his hand. When the Liar saw them, he offered to help me plant a new garden, one of life and knowledge we could claim as our own. I realized, then, that he was also a thief. I took my seeds and I fled, but I couldn’t find the way home.
I wandered in the desert. I worked to find the road back. I was afraid to stop, afraid he wouldn’t come for me, afraid he would be disappointed in me.
But my frailty wouldn’t allow me to work forever. My exhaustion brought me to my knees, where I huddled in the night and cried for Jesus to rescue me.
For every wandering of mankind, there is the other covenant. For every night of waiting, there is the other dawn.
In the light of the sun, I saw the silhouette of his wings. He blanketed me with them, lifted me from my desperation and carried me back to his rest.
Rescue is a scented place. I cling to his hand and retrace my steps through the deeply-rooted trees, breathing in the morning glories of I love you. Before we continue along the road, I take a seed and poke it into the earth, where lilac sprouts and spreads.
For every green thing we plant, there is the other purple flower of his faithfulness.