the new land that beckons us
She's not ready to leave him.
The abuse has happened sporadically for at least six months now.
She is almost ready to leave—when he does something really "extreme"—but then she stays.
She will call me frantic, but by the time we meet face to face, she's drawn back to him.
She knows she wants to go, but an invisible string holds her to him.
He (her boyfriend) talks a good talk. He knows lots of Bible verses -- he will spat them off to you after you've been sitting with him for only a few minutes. He has lots of knowledge about God.
She tells him it's not just about knowledge about God or the Bible.
She knows that the knowledge is worthless unless it transforms a life. At a snail's pace, her life is being transformed.
Just as slowly, my life is being transformed, too.
If her boyfriend holds her with a string, God is drawing her through cords of love.
God is persistent with her. He is always calling her -- she has such a deep sense of his love for her that her eyes begin to dance when she speaks of him. And deep down, she wants to run with abandon to him, but she can't quite leave the human man in front of her yet. Even though they sleep on the concrete. Even though he abuses her.
When she and I talked last week, she told me, "Other [non-homeless] people say I have to leave him now, so I don't go back to talk to them anymore. You let me be where I am, and I know you will be there to help me when I am ready."
She and I are no different. Neither are you. You see, if a human being isn't ready to do something, we simply don't do it. Then, if people start telling us what we "should" or "must" do, we normally move away from that person—if not physically then certainly emotionally. We associate the person telling us what we "must" do with pressure to be at a certain place, a place where we do not yet reside.
How do we get to a new place? Very, very slowly. We put our toe in the new land, and then we run back to the old, comfortable, "safe" land. Next time, we may put our whole leg in the new land; eventually, our whole body stands there, but we still run back to the old land.
Grace comes to us not once we stay in the new land, but rather in the process. If God wanted to snap his fingers and change us immediately, don't you know he could?
He chooses the way of process.
He is not so interested in our staying in the new land so much as he is in hanging out with us as we go back and forth, no matter how long it takes.