How do you get to this road? Seriously! I’ve never been there, but instead seem to mostly end up on roads like: Anxiety Avenue or Worry Way. Where is the Easy Street about which famous songs are written?
Honestly, one of the most carefree times of my life was when I was seeing a different street sign while driving back and forth to work in the Detroit area of Michigan. On my way to work, there was Edmonton Avenue (or Drive or Road – can’t remember right now which it was). Through a series of circumstances, I was feeling drawn to Edmonton. And then when I started noticing that I drove by Edmonton Avenue daily, I felt the coincidence was too much and it really was one of the factors that caused me eventually to move here.
As I prepared to come here to Edmonton, it became a very carefree time for me. I was developing a strong bond with Jesus and exploring all the facets and implications of becoming a follower of Jesus. I began writing of my encounters with him, dancing with him, sharing with others about him. It seemed I had only one real job at the time: share Jesus with everyone. Nothing much else mattered all that much. Some difficult things happened, but I prayed and counted on him.
It is hard, though, to stay in that carefree place – at least for me. If it is easier for you, great, I am impressed. But for me, as I get older and health, financial, and other burdens kick in, it is not as easy to be carefree. I’m not sure “carefree” is a good word for where I want to reside anyways. And I’m not sure I would characterize Jesus as being carefree. He did not approach the cross blithely asking God to take him. Instead, he asked, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
I think a better goal than carefree for me is “sold out”. That is more a picture of regardless of how I feel, let me do what you would have me do. Let me do the right thing – God’s right thing – no matter what.
Today, I am in the Book of Isaiah. There are so many profound things one could speak of in the Book of Isaiah, but today, Isaiah 26:9-10 left some impressions on my heart.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.
Though grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and regard not the majesty of the LORD.
The first two lines spoke to me as I find myself in a state of longing and yearning for Christ. For his being, for his guidance, for his hand in my life, for a touch of his love in my heart. I was going to stop at that. After all, those first two lines are easy for me to relate to and easy to feel. There is no accountability, responsibility, judgment, wickedness, call to righteousness or anything like that in those two lines. Just an out and out longing. And we all long for something.
But my seminary education has certainly taught me that I really can’t just evaluate a couple of lines of scripture without looking at the adjacent scriptures. In this case, I can’t really ignore the scriptures immediately following. That is, the scriptures that seem to warn me of taking grace for granted. That seem to suggest that there are many who would say grace is a sign of favour or an endorsement, instead of an opportunity to repent and do the right thing. That the God I long for is indeed a God of justice.
Ah, reading the prophets…far from a trip down Easy Street or Carefree Drive.