Scent of Beauty
By Susan McGowen
Christ, And The Cross
There once was a man trapped in a burning building and he sat in the midst of the fire contemplating whether he should succumb to death or seek a path to life. The man had three friends that took turns visiting him in the midst of the flames. The first friend attempted to give him reasons to live; if not for himself, then for the people who loved him. The second, worn out by listening to the man’s regrets and countless misfortunes, walked away dismayed. The last friend, at his wits end, decided to engage him in a conversation about God. The man sternly declared there was no God and that he was an atheist. The story impacted me because of the last words this friend said to the man. After an arduous conversation, the friend shouted at him in order to save his life and said, “Stop being logical and become desperate!” Surrounded by fire, with death’s door literally open, he still sided with human reasoning. I completely understand the man that wouldn’t yield. Even when there was no hope in my life, I still held on to self-will.
I always went back to fully relying on Susan, F.R.O.S. This acronym explains the reason of my historical mishaps. My experiences have revealed to me that my sincere, admirable intentions, are never the best course of actions when “I” execute them. My plans always looked good on paper but not in practice, even in church. I was frivolous with my soul, preoccupied with external resources to aid the ever-expanding self. I spent time trying to become a Puritan; to look “as if” I had Christ within me. I was a fixture on Sundays. I sat in the same row and same seat. I practiced religion, tradition and works, but never in Christ. Pastor Hughes once preached about sin, the “old version of yourself”, as an “old man” being strapped on the backs of believers. The “old man” fed the allures of my flesh. I proclaimed a belief in God, but had an unrestored soul trying to join with a new spirit. I began to exhibit spiritual fatigue, unable to catch the breath of life because of the blockage that sin housed in my soul. The overuse of my members that served my sin, my “nature”, eventually broke my spirit. Either I would keep yielding to my will and become exhausted from sin or yield to the will of God. Total acceptance of His will was required and knowledge without intimacy was no longer an option for me. My friends in the faith would say, “Susan, F.R.O.G.: fully rely on God.”