Epistles Project- Mikaela
“Imagine that you, like Paul, were imprisoned for your faith. What would you want your last words to the church to be? If you can leave the church with one thing to encourage them to follow the Lord, what would that be? Write a short 1 page epistle (letter) to the church.”
Hey Antioch! It’s me— Mik. I’m writing you from prison, but it’s actually not that bad here. Three square meals a day, and I’ve always been a sucker for a nice jumpsuit. The only thing is I’m getting executed. Tell my house plants I love them, and distribute my belongings among you—except for my Russian nesting doll. I’m taking that baby to the grave.
As i’ve been reflecting on my life these past couple days, my prayer for the church is that we would radically humble ourselves and seek wholeness. I’m not talking about gossiping with a friend over our trivial tiffs, or sulking around in burlap clothes (unless it’s a fashion thing, then I’m gung-ho). I’m talking about believing, truly believing, that there is SO MUCH room in every area in our lives to be transformed. How do we respond to our mother’s correction? How do we respond to an enemy’s biting words? Are we full of peace? Are we rooted in self control? And what about those further removed—how do we respond to beggars in Old Town? How do we respond to people rioting for equality? Are we eager to listen? Do we desire to see wholeness in a hungry heart? If we are honest, there are times our hearts are far from from overflowing with gentleness, exuberant love, and helpful joy. We need to seek wholeness so these things naturally flow from us.
But hear my warning, don’t go it alone.
Self-righteousness, burnout, hopelessness, and frustration are right around the corner for those who take on the yoke of restoration alone. We are all like the bleeding woman— going from one specialist to another, only to find the problem still remains. So is it for those who seek healing apart from the healer. Trust me— I’ve tried! The Lord revealed a picture to me of a dog digging holes in a backyard and the entire plot was destroyed from these meaningless holes. That is what my self-reliant journey felt like. In another picture I was a tree and with a shovel I was severing my roots and salting the ground around it. That’s what my mind felt like in my self-reliant sanctification process.
But GOD is our vinedresser. Not us. He prunes everything that does not produce fruit so it may produce more fruit. In my second picture, he contrasted the tree symbol by showing himself in a tunnel underground. He was delicately picking the root hairs— the part of the tree that although is tiny, is actually responsible for providing almost all of the water and nutrients to the tree. This is symbolic of our beliefs: what we believe about ourselves, God, and others. It also represents abiding in God’s word. As we try to find life and fulfillment from the world around us, we will be left panting and withered. However, when we choose to take in God’s presence and word, we will be refreshed and made into whole, unshakable oaks of righteousness.
I traded this crayon and paper for my ration of cigarettes, and sadly, I’m running out of space and “ink”. As I leave you, I would like to sum up my encouragement to in you in this prayer:
“Father, thank you that you are faithful to finish your work in us. Would you give us the hunger and expectancy to go from glory to glory; and, the patience to endure the long journey that it sometimes requires. Finally Lord, will YOU make us aware of the areas in our lives that lack fruit. Show us our actions, and our motives behind our actions that reveal our true nature. In doing so, we grant you permission and beg for you to renew these areas with your word and changing presence.”
Come visit in Heaven!