Field Notes From A Prayer Warrior

There ain’t no grave can hold my body down

When I hear that trumpet sound

I’m gonna rise right out of the ground

–“Ain’t No Grave” by Johnny Cash

“Don’t worry about the numbers. Just preach.”

–from a sermon by Pastor W.

Jesus replied, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’…”

–Matthew 22:37-39

It was looking pretty bleak for the Shelbo, down there in the grave. No one had arrived to sling any dirt on her. Yet. But a faint voice in her head confirmed they were coming. And right soon.

She frantically scanned her mind, searching for answers. How did she get here?

A litany of vignettes, like a Facebook page…conversations, responses, comments, photos, moments, even video…depicting a life spent hurtling through the world, trying to find love, fulfillment, purpose…heck, a little peace and quiet?! And, always present, a hole demanding to be filled, and she was pitching into it whatever she could find…money, clothes, parties, a good job, vacations, friends, to-do lists, and sometimes…a brief prayer…just enough to avoid catastrophe. The hole remained, an emptiness looming ever larger, threatening to swallow her up.

And now it had.

A grave of her own making.

“So…if I got myself in here…maybe I can get myself out?”

“Yes. You can,” said a voice in her, that sounded like her, but was stronger and gentler, brimming with comfort…and…PEACE.

“Okay, so…what do I need to do?”

“Confess.”

“Right. No problem. I confess. I’ve messed up BIG time. I knew You. I knew who You were and what You had done for me and I just went ahead and looked to the world and not You.”

“You didn’t know Me. You knew of Me.”

“Yeah, that’s fair, Lord. I guess I kind of treated You like a cardboard cut-out, like a…really nice ‘concept.’ But, um, wow, I didn’t let You in my heart, did I?”

“Bingo, Shelbo.”

Deep breath.

“Lord, I am in a dark place. I confess that my sins are what led me here, and I am so sorry for those choices. I know how they hurt me, others, and You. You died for me, even when I was living my worst life. Because of You…and with You, I can rise out of this tomb. I ask You to forgive me, Lord. Forgive me. Today I am opening my heart to You. Please come in and be the Forever Roommate of my heart. I don’t want to flail around anymore without You. I submit my life to You and I know I need to renew this commitment DAILY.

Thank You, Jesus, for loving me, for sticking with me, through all my hapless wandering.

I. Am. Yours.”

BOOM!!!!

The grave disappeared.

Without a trace.

Like it had NEVER EXISTED.

She was standing again…on solid, HOLY ground.

And into that emptiness in her He poured the brightest, sweetest, richest love she had ever known. She sat there in tearful awe as it bubbled up and gushed into every parched corner of her being…

She thought briefly of the Wizard of Oz…”that power was there the whole time…”

Until it got to a point of overload…”Lord, I’m so grateful, but I’m just a little human being here, I don’t know how much more I can handle…”

He chuckled, “Boy, that’s a problem. I guess you’re gonna have to go out and share it with others.”

“Um, okay…uh, who? how? wh…”

He put up a Hand. “Don’t worry about the details. Just love.”

Later, she wrote in her journal…

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I guess I’m on my way.”

No, she realized.

Not “my way.”

His way.

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