Making Our Escape through the Valley of Tears
The Holy Spirit is a nudge. She is tugging at our souls and gesticulating wildly to the bonfire of love that burns implacably for us in the most sacred heart of the Son of God. The bonfire is the beacon that burns steadfastly to illuminate the location of our home. It is the candle in the window. Many run from the Holy Spirit as they run from a homeless person accosting them for a handout in the street. However, the nudging of the Holy Spirit has tickled the curiosity of a subset of the children of Adam and Eve. The curious are following the tug back to its source. Emerging from their curiosity are questions. 'How do we get there from here?' 'Who has the map and knows the way?' Holy places serve as landmarks that define the escape route from godlessness to paradise. At the holy places, the curious explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God. Close encounters with the living God take place at the holy places. During a close encounter with the living God, a connection is made between earth and heaven. Through the connection, God enters the world and the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness. No one walks away from a close encounter with the living God unchanged. No one walks away from a close encounter with the living God empty handed. During close encounters with the living God, sinners are transformed into saints. Do you feel the tug? Are you curious? Do you want to participate in the new Exodus? Do you want to head to the promised land? For more than two thousand years, the Church has helped the curious follow the tug of the Holy Spirit. Surely a Chruch with more than two thousand years of experience knows a thing or two about the escape route from godlessness to paradise? The Church has the map and knows the way. The Church is the tour guide who takes expeditions of the curious to the holy places to introduce them to God and to introduce God to them.
Marooned in the Valley of Tears
God is the union of power and love for us - perfect and absolute. God's power built paradise for us. God's love for us makes paradise sweet. When God built paradise, he respected the freedom of our wills. He did not build a wall around paradise to immure us therein. He did not turn paradise into a prison, Adam and Eve into prisoners and himself into their warden. We were not made to be birds locked in a cage. A cage is still a cage no matter how gilded. When God made us, his purpose was not to make pets for himself. God wanted more than pets. God shared his dignity with us by bestowing sovereignty upon us. He made us masters of our own domain. He made us kings and queens of our own kingdoms.
We blunder when we exercise our sovereignty without good intelligence. The right exercise of sovereignty requires good 'intel'. Bad 'intel' leads to bad decisions. Good 'intel' leads to good decisions. Sovereignty is dependent on having a good handle on the truth.
The 'intel' God gave Adam and Eve was good (Genesis 3:3). The serpent provided Adam and Eve with the bad 'intel'. The bad "intel' embellished the valley of tears with a sugarcoating of illusion (Genesis 3:5). The serpent promised us deification. We would become gods without God in the valley of tears. Based on the bad 'intel', Adam and Eve, like foolish children, exercised their free wills, ran away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into the valley of tears. As a result of the bogus information - the fake news, Adam and Eve left the comforts of paradise and entered the valley of tears. The valley of tears is hostile territory. As we pass through the valley of tears, crosses of suffering nail themselves to us with ferocity including the most horrible of crosses, death. Life is hard. Passing through the valley of tears is not for sissies. Our predicament in the valley of tears is dire.
Are you aware of your dire predicament in the valley of tears? Are you trying to escape from it? Do you have the map and know the way through the valley of tears back to your home with God and his holy family in paradise? Are you a settler who has put down roots in the valley of tears or are you a pilgrim passing through it? How do you plan to handle the crosses of suffering that nail themselves to you as you pass through the valley of tears? What do you plan to do when the most horrible of crosses, death, confronts you? Are you aware that you cannot rescue yourself? Are you aware that you need help? Are you aware that someone is trying to rescue you from your dire predicament in the valley of tears? Are you cooperating with your rescuer?