My mind raced as I started my slow climb to the summit. I methodically ran scenarios and each played out with an unsatisfactory conclusion. From a human standpoint, it was an impossible situation. There was no happy ending.
The chasm created from years of disappointment and turmoil left me bitter, and when I was completely honest with myself, filled with hate. How could I love someone who was so unlovable? I wanted to be like Jesus - to have His heart of love - but I had no idea HOW to do that. The baggage of hurt, wounded pride, despair, and pain weighed heavily as I trudged up the mountain.
As I prayed, the songs transitioned on my iPod. A worship band sang, "Amazing love. How can it be? That you my God would die for me? Amazing love. I know it's true. And it's my joy to honor You. In all I do, I honor You."
I've sung that song a thousands times, but the words pierced my soul. God was whispering the solution to my problem in the melodic voices floating through my iPod earbud. "Love. MY love is amazing. Transforming. I died for YOU. Love your enemy."
I started arguing with God. But you don't know the depth of the pain. The intentionality. The consistency. The pattern. It's impossible. I can NOT love in this situation.
And God whispered, "But I do understand. Do you know the depth of the pain your sin causes Me? Your intentionality to choose wrong? Your consistency in making poor choices? Your repeated pattern of sin. Repentance. Sin. Repentance. Sin. Repentance. And I love you still."
The vocalists sang, "You are my King," over and over. God whispered, "Will you let me be King of this? Lay it down. Let me set you free."
I fought God. Running harder. Faster. Fighting tears. The burden was too old. Too heavy. Too much a part of who I am. I wasn't even sure I could find the locks amid the tangled web of chains binding me.
The song slowed to a quiet chorus. Hundreds of college-age students sang, "If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed." Over and over, increasing in volume and passion as they let the truth set their hearts free to worship.
I labored up my mountain, each step in cadence with the struggle in my heart. "If the Son has set you free. You are free indeed. You are free indeed. You are free indeed." Somewhere along Corral Creek Road, I saw my chains. Binding my feet. My hands. My heart. Why was I choosing to be a prisoner to pain?
I whispered, "Set me free. Oh Jesus, set me free." Each step got lighter. I felt the locks open and one by one, the chains fell off. I left the chains of hurt, pain, bitterness and hatred in the woods next to Happy Trails Ranch, and ran the rest of the way, FREE.