Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Locked Up Tight?

In many cars, there is a flat portion between the back seat and the rear window where people place books, pillows, or the occasional bobble-headed dog. What some may not realize, though, is this area is usually directly over the back of the trunk. Why is this important to today's post? Read on.

I was driving down Bourguiba, one of the major roads in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, West Africa. In front of my mini-van was a small car with two people in the front. There was nothing unusual about the vehicle, nothing that would make it stand out in the crush of other cars, buses, taxis, and rapides (a multi-colored van used for public transport) on the road. Then suddenly the interior of the car seemed to explode. Out of the remains of that flat area behind the back seat a sheep struggled to stand up. Once he got to his feet he seemed perfectly calm, but you can imagine the frenzy from the front seat. Fortunately, aside from some initial weaving back and forth, the driver managed to keep his car on the road. Meanwhile, his companion was reaching back trying to force the newly freed sheep back into the trunk. You can probably imagine how unsuccessful that was.

Many of us drive through life with things hidden inside us that want to bust free. We desperately try to blend in and not call attention to ourselves, but the suppressed feelings of shame, guilt, resentment, hurt, or whatever other damage we carry with us from past events we've managed to lock away threaten to burst out and expose us. As we travel farther down the road the poundings on the lid become more insistent, and it takes more and more of our energy just to keep the trunk closed. What a relief it would be if the trunk could somehow be emptied, the beast inside released. But our fear of it keeps it trapped, at least for one more day, inside.

Car trunks were not made to carry sheep, and neither are we designed to hold all of those past griefs inside of us. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (NIV). How is this possible? When we pour out all of the pain in our hearts to God he not only takes it from us he replaces it with his comfort and peace. He is the original burden-bearer, and his shoulders are broad enough to carry any load we have, no matter how heavy or painful.

Why continue to live with the beast inside when release is only a prayer away?

(Photo by David Friel from flickr.com under the attribution license.)



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