“I’m asking God to give you a gift from the wealth of his glory. I pray that he would give you inner strength and power through his Spirit. Then Christ will live in you through faith. I also pray that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation. This way, with all of God’s people you will be able to understand how wide, long, high, and deep his love is. You will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God.”Ephesians 3.16-19 (GW)
A three-foot wooden enclosure surrounded the standard-size bed of the rusty light blue pickup truck. A gigantic bull was at the end of the tailgate, standing on the wooden ramp attached to the other end of the rope I held. Yet, the middle-aged missionary, Dave, assured me the bull would fit if we positioned him correctly in the back of the truck. Following a brief tutorial—on tightening the rope as the bull moved into the pickup truck, Dave cautioned about keeping my fingers out of the rope and from between the wooden pole and the rope as it tightened. If something spooked the bull, the final instruction was to let go of the rope. Trying to hold on to this animal could result in severe injury or death.
I pulled the rope and watched my fingers. The bull reluctantly climbed the wooden ramp, and with each step came the quick pull of the rope. I realized this animal, if spooked, could destroy this pickup truck. My unspoken assessment? The fragility of the rope and the frailty of the person holding it versus the bull’s size, strength, and power.
My next question was, once he was in the pickup, how to keep the bull calm while transporting it in the back of a pickup across Belizean grasslands and remain alive? Simple, according to Dave. Keep the rope taut and the bull’s nose as close to the corner post as possible. No slack. So he can only see the pole and feel the tension. He would remain in this position despite his power and ability to destroy the pen and impale or trample me. Why? Because he believed he couldn’t escape.
However, Dave was confident that wouldn’t happen. On the other hand, I lacked such confidence as we both climbed into the truck.
Do you feel stuck? Is your nose so close to your problems in life that the only thing you can see is the problem? Do you feel the tension of life, work, family, finances, and friends? Name the issue. As the bull hemmed in the back of the pickup truck, do you believe you cannot change and are tied to a corner post?
The reality—perhaps we cannot instantaneously change our circumstances or events. However, we can change our perception. Look up. Let the Spirit of God strengthen our inner being. Easy? No, not on our own. But what is our alternative? To continue to believe we are tied to a corner post, unable to move or choose to look to the Son who has set us free. Look to the Spirit, the pledge of our inheritance. (Eph. 1.14) To God who can part the sea (Ex. 14), make the sun turn back (Is. 38.8), and call down fire and consume a water-filled pit and alter (1Ki. 18.32). Look to the Spirit who raised Christ (Ro. 8.11). That same Spirit dwells in us.
And, as the Apostle Paul prayed, “that the eyes of [our] your heart would be enlightened so that [we] you would know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (Eph. 1.18-19, Emphasis added).
When the world or circumstances have your nose pressed into the corner posts of life, look up. Read the first two chapters of the Book of Ephesians. Then turn the pages and review Romans Chapter 8. And you can say with confidence, “Incomparable, God, I will never be separated from your great love.” And recognize, unlike the bull in the back of the pickup truck, you know the source of power—His Spirit.
No rope or pen holds you. Look to Him; regardless of what you cannot see, you know that whom the Son has set free is free indeed. (Jn. 8.36).
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