I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
(John 10:9-10 The Message)
See the freedom Jesus has provided?
To enter and exit
as He watches over you and me.
He is the gate from death unto life.
Cemeteries are for the dead.
Come and live the incredible life
that surpasses the grave.
This gate reminds me of the night Jennifer Dukes Lee bravely stood before us to share her dream journey, to bolster our courage in order to remove the obstacles of sin and fear from our path.
She said, "Gates are made to pass through." As I look back over my notes, I can't remember if the invitation to write our sins on the rock came before or after the gate illustration, but now it doesn't seem to matter. I just remember the hard struggle I had to identify my sin or at least the one I was willing to write on the rock. And as I struggled, I realized I had to write the word that was keeping me from passing through the gate or I would never get to those green, lush pastures that Jesus promised.
I didn't want to write my word because it didn't seem as important as other sins (comparison points out my sin). I thought my sin was more difficult to overcome. Fear and self-doubt seemed easier to release in light of God's love. (I'm not saying that it is, it just felt that way to me in the moment.)
My struggle to even write the word on the rock indicated my sin. I was afraid I might get the wrong word or that I might make the wrong choice. Most of my life I have been afraid of getting it wrong. And in that moment, clear as the glass pebble, we would receieve Sunday morning, I knew I had to write PRIDE on my rock.
Both fear of failure and fear of success are rooted in pride, in the belief that I control my accomplishments and in the doubt that if I don't get it right, I somehow don't measure up to God's standards. Pride in my life has often worn two faces: self-sufficiency and self-pity. Two sides of the same sin.
Placing the rock in the basket was a simple, physical act that released a rush of joy into my soul. And to see Jennifer's daughters throw them into the bottom of the lake is a visual reminder of how God has triumphed over and over again in all of our struggles, and that we are not alone.
But I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that He is ABLE
to keep that which I've committed
unto Him against that day.
(I Know Whom I Have Believed David Whittle, 1883)