Roads of Rhododendron

“You’re safe now.” As my emerald voile curtains waved in the morning breeze, He whispered this quiet assurance. There was a vague unrest in my spirit as I had communed with Him that morning, and when He spoke those words it became clear. My heart was still running. Not from Him, but running nonetheless. For a moment stretching along more years than I can now recall, I’ve been running for one reason or another. Always, there was a sense of something to be fixed, and I was either the one to fix it or was the broken one. I didn’t realize how true it was until I shared this revelation of safety to a sister, and her exhale was audible even over the phone. At last, I am safe. Trials will come again, but I have reached a point of security unique from any I had known. Before, the peace was that of “He will carry me through any trial, even if I can’t see how.” Now, it is the peace of “He has carried me through every trial I thought would conquer me, and there was joy in the midst.” He has, quite literally, carried me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and led me to the stream on the other side. Had I not been through the Valley, I wouldn’t have known the Mountains that lay just beyond it. The whirlwind of change that so wrecked my sense of peace has started to take order now.

“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19 –

I know as I write this, however, that some of you reading it are still in that Valley. Please know, that’s okay, too. That’s where His love met me most deeply.

“The course of my life is in Your power; deliver me from the power of my enemies and from my persecutors.” – Psalm 31:15 –

“Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, ‘This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears. Look, I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the Lord’s temple.” – 2 Kings 20:5 –

“Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.” – Isaiah 58:8 –

Now that I’m safe, I can’t coast, no matter how tempting. I must press on towards deeper righteousness in this freedom and joy. It’s that of remembering in the light what you learned in the dark; now that comfort has set in, I can’t neglect the One who rescued me. Now is the time when I choose Him, because without Him this is all worthless.

“Therefore, dear friends, since we have such promises, let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity of the flesh and spirit, completing our sanctification in the fear of God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1 –

“A road will be there and a way; it will be called the Holy Way. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for the one who walks the path. Even the fool will not go astray. There will be no lion there, and no vicious beast will go up on it; they will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk on it, and the redeemed of the Lord will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.”
– Isaiah 35:8-10 – 

“The Lord values those who fear Him, who put their hope in His faithful love. ” – Psalm 147:11 –

When His whisper reached my ears, it was like a dam breaking. Years of pushing against what felt like wall were erased in that one moment. I am safe now. There is nothing I need to fix, and in His own time, He will restore me to the perfection He intended for me. No more running, no more striving. Seasons of struggling to breathe will come again, because the battle on this earth will never fully stop. But for now, I have a season of celebration and rest. When the time comes to fight again, a foundation of peace and former victories will be under my feet. But for this season, it is time to rejoice.

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