Jason C. Stanley

ponderings of a dad walking humbly & seeking justice

Tag: dirty

Path of Grace

Read Psalm 121.

Lent Ponderings - jasoncstanley.comMy family used to have a collie named Penny. She was a rescue. A friend Dad’s found her in a ditch and we adopted her. I loved that dog. She was sweet and kind. She was loving and nurturing. Penny, like so many other dogs, always knew when I needed her.

Behind our hour in rural Hanover County, was a path that lead to the creek and would wind around to my grandparents’ property. Penny would accompany me on my treks though the woods. Penny would walk next me, but most of the time she would run ahead of me. Once a few times ahead of me, she would turn around to make sure I was still following the path, as if she is saying, “It’s okay. The path is clear.” Penny truly was “man’s best friend,” for me.

God is like that. It may seem like a cliche to say that life is a journey, but it is. And God walks with us on that journey. In fact, God will walk ahead of us at times, turn to make sure that we are still on the path. The journey is getting from where we stand on the path to where God is beckoning us to be. As if God is telling us that, “it’s okay. The path is clear.”

The journey that God is beckoning us on could be various things. It could be starting a new job, or starting a new ministry. It could be seeing your child for who he or she really is. It could be meeting God again for the first time. It could be anything. Whatever the journey is, Psalm 121:8 offers us hope on that journey:

The Lord will protect you on your journeys—
whether going or coming—
from now until forever from now.

The image of God, like a lovable dog, running ahead of us on our path and looking back to make sure we are following, is a beautiful image of sanctification. God does not leave us where we are on the path, instead God calls us – beckons us – to a closer relationship with God.

Sanctification is grace for the journey. Let’s face it, while life is a journey, life is messy. We are going to get dirty, and that’s okay. The point of the journey is to restore the image of God within us. And at the center of that restoration – at the center of this journey – is grace.

And what an amazing gift that is!

I pray during this season of Lent that you stay on the path you are walking and know that God is with you.

Dirty

I wrote the following upon reflecting on Psalm 51.

I had done everything I could think of to do. It was a warm, sunny day. My six-year-old self left no parts of the rural countryside undiscovered.

proclaim_6965cnI had trampled through the small creek trying to catch frogs. I had successfully jumped over my grandfather’s fence. The fence was there to keep the goats in the lot, and to keep the grandchildren out of the lot. I carefully tip-toed around inside the old shed that served as a shelter for Old Billy. I ran through the lot, dodging the piles of little, round pellets the goats had left. I attempted to climb up long, stringy moss hanging from the trees.

I skipped through the strawberry patch, picking a few for myself. I got as close as I could to the beehive, without disturbing their work. I climbed high up into the old pine tree next to my grandparents’ home. I ran towards the edge of the cliff, jumping high into the air to avoid falling to the creek below.

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