I heard this story on K-LOVE radio. A woman had the devastating experience during Christmas of having her husband announce to her and the rest of the family that he was planning on divorcing her. Nice guy! A week later she had done little more than lie in bed and cry. Her four-year-old finally decided to act. He opened her bedroom door and said, “All right, mom, that’s enough! It’s time for music and pancakes!”
She was so surprised that she stumbled to the kitchen, turned the radio on, and there was a song waiting for her with just the message she needed to hear. She baked the pancakes, added plenty of syrup, and she and her four-year-old ate pancakes and danced to the music from the radio. She made the difficult decision to move from existing to resuming living.
During these holiday seasons, many people are depressed by reminders of their past losses. Lost family members. Lost relationships. Lost friends. Lost jobs. Lost pets. Lost property. Lost self-respect. Lost opportunities. So many losses. Few people have managed to avoid loss. Some of these losses may be recent, while others may have occurred years ago and are still acting to prevent one from living a vibrant life.
Whatever season you find yourself in, whether the holidays or winter or a particular time of life, it is time to move beyond the losses. Refuse to just exist, going through the necessary daily chores, but finding little joy in life. Make the difficult choice to seize life and make the best life possible for yourself. Stop waiting for the concert to come to you; go to it. Cook a fancy meal just for yourself and use your best china. Go to the salon and get your hair or nails done. Wear your best clothes. Plan activities that help you look forward to the future. Make new friends. Buy yourself the gift you’ve wanted. Actually spend time looking at nature and listening to it—a bird, an animal, a sunset, water running over rocks. Pop the question. Take time for “music and pancake” moments. These little acts will become treasures that fill your mind with good memories rather than sad thoughts.
Above all, remember the two anchors to a steadfast life. Anchor one is knowing beyond question that God loves you unconditionally and is your friend. Anchor two is daily committing to loving God and being his friend. With these two anchors firmly grounded, you will no longer exist, but you will truly live. Today, choose life.
As a teenager I found a used paperback copy of the book “The Great Escape” at a Goodwill store, and I bought it for thirty cents. It began a lifelong fascination with this and other escape stories, particularly the escapes and escape attempts from Colditz Castle during World War II. It is incredible the extremes that some men went through trying to regain their freedom. Jumping from moving trains, digging tunnels, cutting through barbwire fences, fabricating elaborate disguises, hand-printing fake identify documents to make them look like typewriter print; risking death, sometimes dying, all because they resented the loss of their freedom and weren’t content to wait for the end of the war. To them, freedom was worth dying for.
As a teenager I didn’t realize that the greatest escape of all time was the escape from the enslavement of sin that Jesus won for us on the cross. He risked all to give us freedom. To him, freedom was worth dying for. At the cross, God essentially kicked sin to the curb, saying we were forgiven and sin was buried in the depths of the ocean, and there was no longer any barrier between man and God. God went all in on man.
How unfortunate that so many people spend their lives searching the ditches and gutters to recover that sin and reinstall it as a barrier between them and God. Some people think God will save them in spite of their clinging to sin, but this can’t be. If God were to save people against their will, he would be overturning the very principle of freedom he died to establish. On God’s part, man is completely free to choose salvation; he needs only to accept God’s invitation, no strings attached. But freedom also necessitates that man be free to reject salvation and accept the consequences of that rejection. Those who refuse to give up sin will ultimately reject God.
Today, choose freedom. The tunnel has been dug and the exit opened. The barbed wire has been cut. The dogs have been tamed. The guards have been overcome. God has prepared a place for you to live in heaven. He has set a place for you to eat at his table. Why remain a captive to sin any longer? Be one of those who believe that freedom is worth dying for, die to self, and go all in on God.