As a ten year old reading Pilgrim’s Progress, I found Christian’s many stops on his journey relatively uninteresting, not grasping Bunyan’s wisdom or insight into the many things that can distract a Christian in his or her walk of faith. Now, fourteen years later, I get it. I can look back and see where I have been bogged down in the muck, distracted by the glitter of the world, and even assaulted by the enemy. Its amazing how experience changes one’s perspective!
This past week was spring break week at school, and my plans included Florida, the beach, sunshine, and warm weather. Then I found out that it was supposed to be rainy and relatively cold in Florida and my plans changed. I worked a couple of days at the bike shop, then ventured to Cincinnati to volunteer with Children’s Conferences International at the Ohio homeschool convention before going to Columbus for the OVB National Qualifier Volleyball tournament on Saturday.
It was not warm. It was not sunny. It was not the beach. But God’s plans are greater than my plans. Every time. I was reminded of this as I met with good friends, Donnie and Tonya Rosie, from Miracle Mountain Ranch (and Drew!), and made new friends in fellow Liberty University alumni and other children’s conference volunteers. As I ran and jumped and danced with a bunch of crazy kids, then relaxed at dinner with old friends, God used the weekend to show me how much the world has been distracting me lately. Like Christian amidst the lights and colors and attractions of Vanity Fair, my eyes have drifted from the cross, my tongue has slipped back into old habits, and my relationships have suffered. I walk into school, into the bike shop, and onto the volleyball courts with the goal of influencing people, but inevitably, I am also influenced by the people I’m around. I’m good at playing the part of the “rebel child,” and its even fun getting the reactions of friends and family, but sometimes I find that I’m not just pretending. I have been given so much grace–the Lord blessed me with Christian parents who raised me with a wealth of knowledge in the Scriptures, He gave me the opportunity to attend Miracle Mountain Ranch and see young adults living their relationships with Christ, then allowed me to study at a Christian university without going into debt, and now is preparing me to teach at an international Christian school in Tanzania. What more could I ask for?
So I’m grateful that I spent spring break in cold, windy, cloudy Indiana and Ohio. I’m grateful for the amazing people God has brought into my life. And I’m grateful that God is still willing to use me, despite my shortcomings, failures, and tendencies to forget His grace and goodness. And I hope to never go back, as John Bunyan proclaimed, “I have given Him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to Him; how, then, can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a traitor?”
“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;
The difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”
― John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress