I caught the end of the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King today and noticed something that I had overlooked the past hundred times I had watched the movie. After Frodo finishes his quest to destroy the One Ring, he makes a comment to his fellow hobbits that journeyed with him to the ends of the earth and back. He simply states “We can never go back.”
Throughout our journey, we see and experience many things. For a while, I constantly looked back and wondered why things couldn’t be how they once were. We can’t go back to how things were before we encountered God.
When I journeyed to Uganda the first time, part of me wanted to return home like nothing had ever happened. I didn’t expect a four-week trip to change me, but I didn’t know what I would experience either. I saw the effects of Malaria, felt them first hand. I watched as life passed away before my eyes and saw life restored to a dying man.
I returned home unable to explain what I had experienced. I could not describe the emotions that tore at me as I tried to move on with my life. Trying to describe it is a challenge because there is just no way of putting it into words.
A year later, my journey took me back to Africa as I joined Mercy Ships M/V Africa Mercy in Togo, West Africa. I remembered how I felt after returning the first time. I knew that I could never just return. After spending three months aboard ship, I knew that life would never be the same.
I returned home knowing that I had changed. I no longer saw things the way I once had.
I could no longer think like I used to. I could no longer just go through the motions. My eyes were opened to things that I had seen.
I can’t be the same person I was four years ago. I have changed. I can’t explain it. I no longer see things the same. I no longer think the same. Hear the same. Feel the same.
I see things now and I react differently.
The same thing happened through my experiences in AmeriCorps. In St. Louis and Joplin.
People that haven’t seen me in years ask how I’ve changed. I can’t really tell them how, it just is. I’m not the person I once was, and I can never be that person ever again.
When we encounter God, the same thing happens. When we develop and grow in our faith, we can never turn back. We experience God and become a new creation. Our old selves die and we are reborn in our faith.
Yet, I find that many of us are trying to run back to who we were. We can no longer accept who we were. It will never satisfy us any more. Only God will satisfy us now.
Just some thoughts…
God Bless and PEACE