I had kind of an emotional break at the end of our church service today. I have always enjoyed that old 18th century hymn, Amazing Grace, by John Newton. A few years back, Chris Tomlin added what might be considered a chorus to the old standard. The result is in the video in the post prior to this one. This hybrid version is called Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone). The words of this added chorus appear here:
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace
Words expressed as simple truth just tear me up. If the right music is added, I just cry like a baby. That's what happened to me today. My arms went up in the air (first time ever) and my tears flowed like a water faucet. My face was drenched. I could not stop it. I was weeping with happiness, joy and gratuity to my Lord and my God. The song itself is just so full of truth and this added chorus is so much the last nine months of my life.
My chains are gone and I AM FREE. That creates a rush of emotion in me that few people can appreciate I think. Since I have spent most of my life trying to extinguish my emotions, especially the softer ones like love, for fear of falling into sin, I have a lot of overdue crying and laughing to get out of the way. I tell you what, it's just a wonder living in my head my head these days.
I have always been a bundle of contradiction. Letting out my secrets has sort of helped me put everything else out there for everyone to see. Ya, I know that some of you did not want to see it, hear it or read about it. I know that you wish I would keep my appetites and my struggles to myself, but I want you to know what it is like to be me. I want you to feel with me as I express it all and know what I have endured alone in my chains for decades. I still have to deal with it. The difference is that I talk about it out loud now and I am looking to you for your love, whoever you may be, to help me heal. Most all of you have responded to me in some Christ-like way and I am so grateful for your mercy, grace and kindness. I need to move forward now, but I'm scared. I do not know what to do with this new found freedom. I am accustomed to living in a spiritual box designed to prevent sin. It never really worked that way, but it was insulation from reality. Now that I'm out of the box and trying to integrate with the Body, I am dealing with many distractions including increased desire for sin.
Freedom is a double edged sword. Very sharp.
So it seems like I have been sitting here staring in amazement at what has happened to me. One day I am shackled down securely and the next day I am standing there looking down at those shackles on the ground no longer attached to my soul. A free man would move on, but I am not sure I have done so. Do I really miss the security of my chains so much?
I should go somewhere....where do freemen go? Disney World? I don't think so.
Someone asked me about my dreams. Ya know what? I don't have any. God needs to give me some...I hope He will. Most of my dreams died when I was 13. It was a long mournful funeral. I nearly died with them. So where do I go? What do I do? I'm gonna be 59 years old here soon. There's not much time left. Does it even matter at this point? Maybe getting me here to this place and time was the point. God wanted to set me free so that I would enjoy heaven more. I can accept that, but I don't feel like I'm quite done here yet either. I suppose I could be wrong about that. It remains to be seen.
I need to find a new life and a way to serve. I enjoy teaching at church, but that is not really a ministry. I suppose there are people that get something out of it all, but really, modern Sunday school, especially for adults, has more to do with fellowship than education or edification. That's unfortunate, but that's what it's come to. It's more important to get your half caff latte at the church coffee shop. And really, who is to say that there is not value in standing around and discussing life with our Christian brethren. Friends are important. I'm just not used to having them...until now.
So now what Lord? I'm free. Let's go somewhere. You will have to show me, drag me, make me go probably, but I need to do something besides the same old, same old. What will it be? Lord, you tell me. I'm not very good with surprises so please be gentle if possible. Maybe I'm not even ready, so let's work on that then. Whatever. Just remember, You were the One that set me free. Thanks Lord. I love You.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.