Looking for light in lines of gray
Gazing through eyes tinted with jade
Star-crossed, fire-lit, falling skies
Endless dreams of sleepless nights
When did we blur invisible lines?
Blinded by life through crimson eyes
It’s been a week since my feet last fell on African soil. I still recall the feelings like I’m living in the memories to which I so desperately cling. My life goes on, but every year a part of me stays in Africa, creating a hole in myself that I cannot explain to others and have difficulty fathoming in my own mind. I’ll never be the man I was before I left. But that’s okay, because he wouldn’t recognize me now anyway.
I’m in a transition period now. A stranger in my homeland. A wanderer in my house. My head is in the clouds because I can see the world from there and feel closer to God than I ever did before. I would love to try and make you understand, but only by being there, seeing what I’ve seen, living where I’ve lived, and loving as I have loved could you ever fully relate to this novelist.
Hello again! It’s been a while since I’ve actually sat behind these keys on my computer, coffee in hand, typing out a post. It’s good to be back! Yes, Africa was amazing. It always is, but I get it: you’ve been living life while I’ve been off in the Dream World. So, here’s me being real with you. I know life can be brutal sometimes. We all have our struggles, but just like no one can understand the way I feel right now, nobody can understand how you feel. Sympathy hurts because it makes you feel weak. People try to help but they don’t understand, not really. You’ve been out there in the trenches, working a day job, putting up with neighbors and coworkers, bosses and customers, family and friends even. You’re being hammered by the world and all of it’s worries and frustration and you can’t take it anymore. So don’t.
I want to tell you I can fix it. I want to tell you there is a 1, 2, 3, snap your fingers, click your shoes and you’ll wake up from this nightmare called life. But I can’t. There’s only one way out of this and it’s not what you’d expect. Try Jesus. I can’t guarantee He will fix your problems, but I can guarantee that He will fix you so that you can deal with your problems. God’s promise to us is not that He will take away the pain, calm the storm, or fix our life with a word of His mouth; He could do all of that, but what would it accomplish? We would just get back into the same problems and the same storms and then where would we be?
Grace is not a get out of jail free card for us to use whenever life gets tough. God’s promise isn’t that He will take away the storm, but that He will be with us in the midst of the storm and give us the peace and the strength to make it through. The Bible is full of promises of comfort and of peace for those who believe and trust in Jesus. That’s all it takes: just trust Him.
I know you’re broken and hurting. How do I know? Because so am I. I’ve made mistakes. More than that, I’ve deliberately gone against God and His laws. Sin is sin and not a one of us is better than the rest. “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. I don’t want to preach at you, so let me just preach to myself for a moment.
I’m a sinner. I’ve gone against God. I’ve lied, I’ve stolen, I’ve lusted, I’ve committed adultery and murder in my heart, I’ve dishonored the sabbath, disrespected my parents, coveted, put things in my life before God, I’ve made idols of material things; I am no less a sinner and no better a man than the worst person you can think of. Yet in God’s eyes every man is the same. I’ve got problems, believe me I do. I understand that I’m weak, I can’t do things on my own. In my own strength I would fall and fail. Without God, I would likely have committed suicide by now because the world in which we live is dark and discouraging.
I can’t fix your problems, but I can tell you who fixed mine. He saved me from myself and my sin and He gave me the promise that He would not leave more or forsake me even in the Valley of the Shadow of death. God loves you, He can help you. Just trust Him.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist