Come, Follow Me.

In the movie The Secret Garden, the young boy Colin thinks he's an invalid. He can't bear the strong light of day, the clean open air. He believes those things will infect his lungs and snatch his life. He believes he's destined to be everlastingly bedridden or, in the few struggling moments he spends out of bed, bound lifelong to a wheelchair. He believes that because he's been told that. He lives a long time this way, kept in that state by a conspiracy of adults.

Kept in a borderland by a god who's too safe.

But then his orphaned cousin, Mary, comes along and sees through the conspiracy. In what looks like sheer defiance, utter brazenness, hard malice, she tears the shutters and blinds off Colin's windows. Bright sunlight pours in through the scrim of dust. Colin shrieks. She throws the windows open, and cool, fresh air swirls through the room. Colin howls. She shoos Colin out of bed. Colin yells. She forces him, sullen and whining, into the outdoors. She scolds and coaxes him from his wheelchair. He stands, filled with self-lament, tottering.

But he's standing. Yes, he's standing. He takes one lurching step, then another. Soon Colin walks. Then runs. Then skips. Then dances.

Mary seems to callous at first. But she is the one who cares most deeply for him. She cares enough to woo Colin to the secret garden; she loves him enough to bring him into wholeness. She knew all along that his bones were sturdy, his lungs deep, his muscles supple and strong. She knew all along he was made for life to the full.

That's a picture of the life Christ calls us into. Christ finds us in our hovel of self-pity, our imagined invalidism, our dreary room on borderland. He seems at first so gruff, stripping off the shutters, throwing open the windows, rousing us from bed, pushing us out to the garden, commanding that we walk. Come, follow Me.

But all along it's a gift. He does this, not because we must. It's because we can. The musty shadows of the sick room, the pale withered limbs-that's just the devil's conspiracy, the lie we've been told. It takes a God who's not safe, but who's good, to tell us otherwise.

Come, follow Me.

Why would you go back to the sickroom?

Your God Is Too Safe - Mark Buchanan


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