“I can’t go to Hawaii. I have responsibilities…a home, a dog, a 6-month dental cleaning.”
A friend called asking if I would be interested in housesitting on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Only a few days prior, plans for a week-long visit with this friend in Hawaii fell through. Of course I felt disappointment. Now a new, even more inviting offer to fly to a tropical paradise for a lengthy stay, complete with housing and an automobile, lay before me like a Christmas bonus. But my initial response was to give thought to a house, a hound and oral hygiene? That alone reveals a desperate level of my need for a get-away.
I eventually came to my senses. I rented out my house, dropped my dog off at his grandparents’ farm and rescheduled with my dentist. Self-employment allows for “have laptop, will travel”. A recent break-up with a man I imagined my soulmate left me relationally unencumbered and longing for a fresh start. Nothing left for me to do but board a plane.
My window seat afforded intermittent entertainment “in the Cloud” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!), until we reached the ocean. Infinite miles of foreboding blue-black Pacific waters lulled me into boredom. A seatback screen in front of me listed movies for my viewing pleasure but nothing tickled my fancy. Until I noticed an e-flight map with a dime-size cartoonish airplane inching across the Pacific. My digital display indicated miles remaining, miles traveled, speed, flight time in hours and minutes, and our ETA. In fascination, I watched for hours as the plane crept slowly between past and future. As this new adventure loomed before me, excitement welled up inside.
The Bible talks about new life in Christ…”The old is passed, the new has come”, (II Corinthians 5:17). When we receive Christ by faith and in repentance of sin, He gifts us the opportunity to check our baggage at the Cross. We lay down our past failures, indiscretions and folly in exchange for new life in Jesus.
But often we succumb to the temptation to pick up our trunk of transgressions and lug it around once again. Excess baggage develops into a ball and chain of self-condemnation for our old ways. A faint, familiar voice taunts, “Who was I kidding thinking I could start over? I’m a mess. I’m always going to be a mess.” Still, our hearts ache to travel light. We ask, “Could Jesus really take my sin, my past and all the ugliness, and separate it as far as the East is from the West?” The resounding answer, of course, is ABSOLUTELY!
If you don’t yet know this freedom in Christ, you can. Pray a simple prayer asking God for forgiveness of all things past, acknowledging Christ’s death on the Cross as payment in full for your sin. In that moment of inviting Him into your heart, your journey into life with a capital “L” begins. If you HAVE received Jesus, according to the Bible you’re a new creature. No more looking back over your shoulder, no more ruminating over your past. The future lies before you as your own Christmas bonus made possible by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As our Boeing 767 landing gear locked into place and raced toward an asphalt strip bordering Pacific waters, Isaiah 43:19 came to mind:
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.“
What New Thing does God want to initiate in your life?
Renounce your trunk of transgressions, place your faith in the one who knows the way, the One who declared He IS the Way. Trust Him to show you where your faith journey will take flight.