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You Choose…

Kathy Dingus




What image comes to mind when you hear the phrase "You live in an ivory tower?" I know what my mind conjures up…fairy tales, castles, dragons, and devastatingly handsome knights on white chargers rescuing damsels in distress while hardly breaking a sweat. "Rapunzel," "Snow White," "Cinderella," "The Princess and the Pea," and "The Frog Prince" are just a few of those favored fairy tales I could name.

I remember as a child, loving to read and would often read those make-believe stories before I went to sleep at night. An ivory tower is safe, kind of like your bed at night, when you snuggle down inside your comforter and slowly drift off to sleep.

My question to you is…do you live in an ivory tower, whether it’s an imagined one or a real one? Many of us, myself included, live in ivory towers of our making.

Just as the wicked witch imprisoned "Rapunzel" to keep her safe from contact with other humans, we shut ourselves away from the world. We keep our distance from all the chaos, misery and nastiness this world has to offer. It might just "rub off" on us and ruin our Christian demeanor.

Many of us make our own prisons from our fears of danger, sin, our past, financial problems, health problems, and even our fears of having a real and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) I John 4:18 states that "there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear." Even the much loved prayer of King David, Psalm 23 reads, "Yea, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me."

We've been taught since we were children that we needed to stay away from danger…shun all the bad influences that can entrap us while we are defenseless.

Our parents, I'm sure, lived through many nightmares and sleepless nights while we grew from an infant into adulthood. Our parents still worry about us, even though many of us have actually attained that elusive mysterious place called "adulthood." I understand more about that parental trait called "worry" since I now have three children, two of whom are teenagers.

They are faced with all kinds of temptations, dragons and beasts in that gargantuan "Enchanted Forest" we now find ourselves. Unfortunately, many of us have to dip our toes into that same forest before we come to our senses. Thank Jesus for His mercy!

What type of fairy tale do we live in our everyday life? Do we unselfishly slave for others such as Cinderella? Do we have a wicked stepmother or a miserable home life like Snow White?

Do we constantly gaze into a magic mirror, wishing for our lives to suddenly be perfect? Do we sleep on the proverbial pea, constantly tossing and turning, struggling to find our place in this world?

We are not of this world any longer are we? Jesus called us away from all of the chains that bind us here, including the chain of fear.

I think it's time to knock down our ivory towers and take a look at the example our Lord and Savior left us to follow. Did He remain in the carpenter's shop, safe from harm?

He could have chosen to do just that very thing. Did He stay close to His mother, Mary, who thought she could shield him from harm, just as we mothers today want to shield our teens from all the "evils" of the world?

He could have called down the legions of angels in heaven who were waiting, breathless as they watched Him willingly give His all for us…but He didn't. He would have kept His hands and feet on that cross, even if there were no nails to hold Him there. He held Himself there with Love.

We should thank Him everyday for that Love, and not let one drop of that precious Love go to "waste." We should be burning with a desire to help all of those who do not know Him to realize the great sacrifice that was freely given for them, and how so very much He loves them.

It may come as shock to many of us, if we truly reflect on our life, that we have indeed shut ourselves away from the very commission that Christ gave us.

"To love God with all of our heart and mind and soul…and to love our neighbor as our self.."

We like to skip over that last part because it's really so very hard to do, and impossible for us to accomplish without the love of Jesus.

I like to often reflect upon the words of one of my favorite hymns…perhaps it's yours as well.

Instruments of Peace

Lord, make us instruments of your peace

Where there is hatred let your love increase

Lord, make us instruments of Your peace

Walls of pride and prejudice shall cease

When we are Your instruments of peace.

Where there is hatred, we will sow His love

Where there is injury, we will never judge

Where there is striving, we will speak His peace

To the people crying for release

We will be your instruments of peace.

Where there is blindness, we will pray for sight

Where there is darkness, we will shine His light

Where there is sadness, we will bear their grief

To the millions crying for release

We will be your instruments of peace.

Based on a prayer by St. Francis Assisi

I think these words speak far better than I, what Jesus expects us to accomplish in the few years He gives us on this earth. Actually, when I think about the years I have to spend on this earth, and how many I devote just to Jesus, well…sadly I think I fall very short.

My life is just too busy living and struggling through the complexities of "life" when I should be reflecting "LIFE."

To be instruments of peace, we must take action and plunge headlong into where there is no peace to be found.

Where there are walls of pride and prejudice, we should be the first ones to extend our hand of friendship in reconciliation. Take that sledge hammer and knock those walls down, in the name of Jesus.

In order to sow His love, we need to boldly enter those areas of the world we were once told to stay away from. We need to brazenly conquer hatred, and judgmentalism.

Blindness comes in many forms, spiritual blindness, physical blindness, refusing to see the true Word of God when it's placed in front of us. Do we listen to His will, recognizing it for what it is, especially when He knocks at our heart?

He wants us to share the joy and hope of knowing Him with all those that do not.

Darkness abounds in this world; our families, children, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ face darkness every day, having many tough choices to make. Many of our foreign brothers and sisters face persecution on a daily basis in third world countries.

Do we say a prayer for them? Do we even give them a second thought? They are just a small part of the millions crying for release?

Will you come down from your ivory tower and be an instrument of peace? You many need your hip boots, a raincoat, and a heart big enough to fill the state of Texas, but you are a child of the King, and He needs You.

He needs you to be an instrument of peace, his hands, his feet and his mouth.

Sure "Rapunzel", "Cinderella" and "Snow White" are fairy tales, and in the end they win the hand of a Handsome Prince. Guess what?

Our life is very real and not just some words on a page written by one of the Grimm brothers.

We have those fairy tales beat hands down and in the end, we also win the hand of the Fairest King of them all, JESUS!

Isn't that worth putting forth a little effort by climbing down from your ivory tower? Sure it's scary…and it's a rough and rocky path, strewn with many hazards.

Helping others who are not as fortunate as you sometimes is a "thankless task." (at least to our human reasoning). I realized that their material possessions, or lack of them, doesn't really matter, but for them to go without the Hope, the Joy, and the Love of Jesus, would be more than many of them can bear.

I'm putting on my hip boots as I write.

How about you?

Care to join me?