(AUTHOR’S NOTE: I am thankful for the individuals who take the time to read my daily devotionals. I pray that others find them helpful, or at least thought-provoking in some way.
But this morning I was looking at the header at the top of the page and I saw where I had originally subtitled this blog as “Following the path to freedom” and I was reminded that there was an original purpose for occupying this space other than simply sharing what God had helped me to write while I was incarcerated.
I had hoped to share a little of the journey of discovery that is available to all who seek the Truth.
I had hoped to help others find their way from the darkness into the Light.
I had hoped to help others follow their own path to the freedom that lies in accepting Jesus Christ as our savior and allowing Him to set us free from our sin.
For those reasons, I have decided to re-post some of those early writings.
If you have never read them, I hope you take the time and I pray you find them helpful. If you have read them before, perhaps you’ll take the time to read them again and discover something new in them.)
“The Crumbs on the Path”
“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.” Isaiah 42:16 ESV
J. Paul Getty once said, “If you look after the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.” This means that we take care of the big things by paying attention to the little things – the details.
And who is more detail-oriented than the One who created everything?
If our eyes are open to the victory won for us on the cross by Christ, we constantly marvel at the world that our great God created.
The majesty of mountains takes our breath away,
we are mesmerized by the power and splendor of the oceans He created,
our bodies shake at the roaring of powerful waterfalls,
and He reveals the universe to us in indescribably beautiful ways.
But this is not where the awesome power and sovereignty of God is best displayed, for He orchestrates His symphony of creation down to the smallest detail, and it is in the little things where we can best appreciate His work.
From the delicate perfection of a butterfly,
to the perfectly balanced life surrounding a coral reef,
to the incredible array of creatures roaming the surface of the earth,
God looks after ‘the pennies’.
Sometimes, after we are finally compelled to wave our ‘white flag’ (see: “Raising The White Flag”), we begin to expect spectacular miracles to take place in our lives. Many of us fail to recognize that our very lives are miracles. Once we acknowledge this simple fact, we are then better able to understand how the miracle which is our life contains a litany of details which could only be managed by someone of indescribable power.
And it is in those details where we find His trail of ‘spiritual breadcrumbs’.
It is by identifying, and following, these spiritual breadcrumbs that we are able to stay on the path to freedom. We must open our eyes to the existence of these ‘crumbs’ in order for us to fully appreciate the awesome power of God.
The Bible tells us, repeatedly, how detail-oriented God is: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10: 29-30 ESV)
My own eyes were finally opened to the trail of ‘crumbs’ in my life while in federal prison. I began to notice things around me, as if I were seeing for the very first time. In a sense, I was, for my new relationship with – and reliance upon – God caused the eyes of my heart to open and allowed the eyes in my head to see things differently.
I began to see God’s hand in everything around me. I recognized individuals as being placed in my path by God, for His purpose. The manner in which my prison life unfolded was such that I was able to feed my growing need for knowledge of God’s Word. The cell I was placed in and the person I wound up with as a roommate – ‘cellie’ in prison jargon – was an individual who helped me along the path. (Author’s note: Read about him in “Letters To Heaven: In Memory Of Peter Becker”)
Even walking in the recreation yard, my eyes were opened to the presence of God and the victory won on the cross by Jesus. I saw old wooden power poles that appeared to me as a reminder of His sacrifice and I shared that vision with others. One friend of mine, Richard Roy, enlisted the aid of another inmate named Will Mattingly to use his artistic talent to draw a depiction of what I saw:
Following are excerpts from that article:
“With the newly opened eyes of my heart, the fences became transparent and the transformers and power lines disappeared. What I DID see was Jesus Christ hanging from the center cross looking down at me. What I DID see was a man taking the burden of my sins, and the sins of every other person in the world, and replacing that burden with freedom.
With the eyes of my heart, I could see what had been missing in my life. I could see forgiveness for what I had done wrong and I could see what I needed to do to correct those things. I could see the pain that I caused others, and I could see the pain that others caused me, and I could see the pain in the eyes of Jesus as He implored me to give all of that pain to HIM.
I could see the look of suffering on His face as He relieved me of my burden, but at the same time, I could feel His joy at the knowledge that His suffering was not in vain.
Now, with the eyes of my heart wide open, I could see the future and the hope that had been promised to ME. I could see that I was now truly free to do the RIGHT thing, for the RIGHT reason, and in the RIGHT way. I was now free to rid my heart of the darkness that had filled it so completely for so many years and replace it with the light that comes with the unshakeable faith I now had that no matter where I might walk from that day forward, I would never be alone, I did not need to be afraid, and I would never be without purpose.
I began to realize that I was no longer in prison at all. In fact, from that moment forward, I was more free than I had ever been in my life.”
“God has opened wide the eyes of my heart, and He can open YOURS as well. With our eyes wide open we can see many things we could not see before: We can see hope; we can see peace, happiness, joy, love, and forgiveness; we can see the goodness that lives and breathes all around us. And with our eyes wide open we can also see the hunger, the pain, the suffering, and the desperation of other people. But these are not bad things to see, because once our eyes are open, we can also see our place in God’s plan to HELP those who are afflicted. Seeing our place will allow us to take the action necessary to improve the condition of our brothers and sisters who are all God’s children.
And THIS, my friends, is freedom.”
Things happen in our lives everyday that many people attribute to ‘coincidence’, ‘chance’, ‘good luck’, or ‘bad luck’. More than likely, all of those things are attributable to God, and what is necessary for us to steadfastly follow the path to freedom without straying off of it is to constantly look at everything around us, because the people we meet, the situations we encounter, and the things we see all contain the details that are God’s spiritual breadcrumbs for us to follow.
Today is a good day to start looking after your ‘pennies’.