All the rhetoric and gunfire may be loud right now, but the whole globe echoes this crescendoing refrain today on Ash Wednesday:
“The human situation has always been that we are dust and God is our breath. This is relief.”
“The war creates no absolutely new situation,” is what CS Lewis said at the beginning of WW II, “it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. …”
We have never not lived on the precipice – dust returning to dust. The human situation has always been that we are dust and God is our breath. This is relief.
We are dust and it’s not all on us.
Dust returns to dust, and the divine ways of God always go on.
A young man who played for a ball team hardly an hour from our farm right here, he flew to stand in a line this week to serve in a war on the other side of the world, for a country different than his passport.
When his mother called to ask him if he was 100% sure, he knew, and he just said it out loud: “You know that you might die.”
“to keep our soul from destructive ways, we lay down distracting ways — and take up The Way.”
If people are willing to die for countries not their own, who is willing to pick up a cross and come die with Christ who claims them as His very own?
“Whenever Christ calls us, his call leads to death,” said WWII martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is where the inner war wages.
And the enemy of our souls plots our destruction through distraction.
Distraction from God’s Word, God’s voice, God’s ways. And to keep our soul from destructive ways, we lay down distracting ways — and take up The Way.
Christ calls us who are but dust to take the dusty narrow road with Him to Calvary, to lay down our lives and pick up a cross, because this is the only Way to resurrection.
“when we lay down our life and ways, we have a King who makes a sure Way to a better and forever life.”
When we know we are but dust, when we feel our hearts have been crushed — is exactly when we are to entrust all into the hands of the only One who is the Way, who can lead our feet down the narrow Way through.
If a young man enlisting dares to say: “My love of freedom is miles ahead of my fear,” how many dare to live in the brave Way that proves love for King Jesus is miles ahead of all fears?
True allegiance to King Jesus truly slays all fears. He willingly died for us – how can we not willingly lay down our lives to live for Him?
When you know you are but dust, you aren’t afraid of being returned to the dust, because your home is forever beyond the skies with the One who is your truest life.
Those of us who are dust have a certain Hope that cannot fade or blow away. And when we want His Word most, we find ourselves wanting for nothing. And when we lay down our life and ways, we have a King who makes a sure Way to a better and forever life.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
we are citizens in the Universe of King Jesus,
where the hand of God sculpts bits of soil into souls,
where the breath of God kisses dust to life,
where we do more than believe in Jesus, we breathe in Jesus,
we live in Jesus,
we vow allegiance to Jesus,
we die in Jesus,
and we rise forever in Jesus.
It is right and good to be but dust –
there is always dust on the Way of Jesus.
Could I invite you…
Could you and I walk together, through this season toward the Cross and Easter? Can we journey through the high waves of our Red Seas and through the long lonely stretches of our wildernesses?
Can we come upon a powerful experience, step into radically new resurrection life, an actual new way of life?
Spring is coming. Easter is coming. Hope and newness of life always arises!
This journey I’m personally inviting you into, “On the Way”, 40-plus days of Audio devotionals, is ultimately about keeping company with Jesus, The Way Himself, so our hearts are not only truly prepared to enter into all Easter means, but so we walk out of Resurrection Sunday morning, truly made new.
What an honor it would be to travel with you.