The Other Side

I have an active imagination (sometimes too active and it gets me in trouble). I look at my life, the changes Jesus has brought about in it, the fact that I actually have a life, a new life, life in a new and fresh way, and I feel sometimes that I have crossed over into a new dimension. There is support for this line of thought in scripture, so I don’t question my imagination much.

This line in my imagination does not divide believers and unbelievers, because there are believers on both sides. No, this is the line of true relationship with the Creator. That is a new dimension. What was before seems flat and two-dimensional now. It seems flavorless and fragrance-free. It is low fat, low calorie, and low taste. It is empty posing as full. For believers on that side of the line, it is a candle lit but hidden. It is holding the ticket for the ride but remaining in the line. It is standing at the entrance but never going in. It is the Spirit of God pushed in a corner, locked in a closet, the Breath of God held.

I can look back across that line and see so many that I know and love, believers and unbelievers alike. All I want in the world is for them to come over, to cross into this new dimension. There is life here. There is freedom here. There is love and acceptance and truth here. There is Jesus here, and He is all.

Whatever your question is, Jesus is the answer. That sounds so simple, so simplistic, and I know that the average person rejects that, whether they realize it or not. Even believers, followers of Christ, reject that idea. Even as I say that, I know that I still reject it on some levels. But I also know it is true, and I know that He will continue to answer my questions, continue to be the answer and will wait patiently for me to believe it, leading me from faith to faith, from glory to glory.

I think about those I love who haven’t yet stepped into this new dimension. I think about what is holding them back, what is keeping them from crossing that line. For some it is rejection in the form of inattention. They know Jesus is there, but He’s off to the side and there are much more important things right in front of them. There’s that bill that’s due, there’s the hurt and rejection felt as a result of a conflict, there’s the decision to make about that job, that house, that move to another town or state. There’s all this stuff that needs their attention right now. Maybe later on they’ll focus on Jesus. Once all these pesky details are handled, they’ll turn to Him.

For some, it’s believing they are not worthy, they will never be good enough to call on Him. They see their past, their mistakes, their failures and they define themselves by those mistakes and failures. They mourn in their hearts because they do not believe they are allowed to cross that line. They doubt and they wonder and they don’t realize they have closed their ears to the answer.

For others it seems that what is on their side of the line is just so much more intriguing, so much more exciting, so much more comfortably familiar than the other side. They choose to stay where they are because they don’t want to give up what they have, even if they know they are miserable. They are filling themselves on imaginary food and cannot believe that a real banquet is awaiting them.

For yet others it is their own pride that keeps them in place. It is the need to do it themselves, to build their own bridge and reach the other side without assistance from anyone. They believe the other side is there, but they don’t believe they need help to reach it. The problem with that is the harder they try, the further away the line is.

Each of those who haven’t crossed the line probably has someone in their life who has crossed it. They can see that person experiencing freedom and relationship and real and love and joy, and they want it but they don’t know how to get it. Or they see it and they scorn it out of their own misery. Or they dismiss it as not necessary, not vital. Until you experience it, however, you will never know just how necessary and vital it is.

What does it take to cross the line? What do you have to do, where do you sign up, what’s the membership fee, the requirements, the criteria?

What do you have to do? Turn to Jesus.

Where do you sign up? Wherever you are; He will meet you there.

What’s the membership fee? It’s already been paid.

What are the requirements, the criteria? Just one, turn to Jesus. Jesus is the answer. He is. Whether you believe it or not.

I see you on the other side of that line. I see you standing there saying there’s no way He wants me. I’m not good enough. Let me clean up some first, at least brush the worst of the dirt off me. I want to tell you, and I hope you can hear me, that you just need to stop. Stop working, stop trying to clean up, stop listening to the lie that you aren’t good enough. Stop looking at all your mistakes and failures, your willful sins and your unintentional missteps. Stop pointing to that one decision that you feel cannot be forgiven. You’re wearing yourself out and you’re missing what He has for you. Here is the truth: That one decision is not more powerful than the love of Jesus. That mistake, that failure, that sin is not bigger than He is. If you don’t believe me, look at His word. Look at Moses, at Abraham, at David, at Peter, at Paul. Every single one of them made mistakes, sinned, made big bad decisions that should have exempted them from the love of Jesus. But it didn’t.

I see you on the other side of that line. I see you working so hard, diligently following the rules, laying brick after brick in the path you are building towards the line. I see your dogged determination, your absolute belief that you can do it yourself. That you can reach Him if you work for it, earn it. I see how tired you are, how discouraged, how rigid you are becoming in your pursuit. I want to tell you, and I hope you can hear me, that you just need to stop. You’ll never get there on your own. You can never be worthy. You could work until you died and you would never be good enough. You’ll never reach it. Here is the truth: it is only through Jesus that you will get there. If you don’t believe me, look at His word. Look at Nicodemus who followed the rules all his life and was told that he must be born again. Look at Paul again, who also followed the rules, who picked the rules apart and broke them down to their smallest steps in his effort to please the Almighty. It was only after his encounter with the Risen Savior that he found what he was looking for.

I see you on the other side of that line. I see you pursuing your dreams, dealing with your dilemmas, making your decisions. All of it rests on you. The rise or fall of your life depends on you. You see it as the normal course of life, nothing more or less than anyone else faces. But in your heart of hearts you’re scared, you’re lonely, and you’re tired. You’re so busy but so empty. I want to tell you, and I hope you can hear me, that you just need to stop. Stop looking at all the stuff in front of you. Here is the truth: if you turn around, you will see Him holding His hand out to you, offering you rest, companionship, healing, health, joy. If you don’t believe me, look at His word. Look at what Jesus offers to you, the yoke of companionship that places the burden for all the dreams, dilemmas, and decisions on Him, that takes the pressure off of you, that allows you to rest in Him.

I see you on the other side of that line. I see you holding so tightly to your pleasure, your freedom to do what you want. I see you holding on to a treasure that turns to dust in your hands. I see you searching for the next treasure when the first loses its shine. I see you trying to fill the hole inside with everything you can find. I want to tell you, and I hope you can hear me, that you just need to stop. Stop holding on to dust. Stop searching for new, better, different, more. Here is the truth: Nothing will fit in that hole but the One who made it. No treasure, no pleasure, no freedom, no right will ever satisfy the longing that is in you. If you don’t believe me, look at His word. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes reveals that God placed eternity in the hearts of man. You have a yawning, gaping hole in you that can only be met in Jesus, the Eternal One.

Jesus takes what is, what we have made of ourselves, what we have filled ourselves with, and makes everything new. He restores, redeems, reclaims, recovers, revives. He makes us alive in Him. He turns mourning to dancing, gives beauty for ashes, cultivates graves into gardens. He is the answer.

I know He can do for you what He has done for me. I know there is freedom, there is healing, there is life in Him. I know that there is nothing worth holding on to instead of Him. I know that there is no sinner He can’t save, no sin He can’t forgive.

What was before, what is on the other side of that line gets dimmer and dimmer, and I am thankful. What is ahead is not entirely clear; I can see shapes and shadows, but no sharp images; but that fact is not bothersome because what is here, what is present, is beautiful and clear and sharp and lovely, because it is Jesus.

Do you know what I find to be the most wonderful thing about being on this side of that imaginary line? I’m just at the beginning. Eternity stretches before me and I know that each step forward I take brings me closer to Jesus, deeper in, further on, and there’s more and more and more to experience, to know, to reach. There will never be an end to the joy that comes from following Him. Come join me on the other side.

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